Robaina's plantation

Friday, 30 September 2016

Restaurant & Wine Bar (Gran Teatro de La Habana) Havana

                   My readers know that I go everywhere that time allows me when I'm in Havana and this spot is an example of what I run across. I've been waiting a long time to take a tour of the Gran Teatro de La Habana and when the opportunity finally presented itself, after the current renovation, I made sure to see as much of it that I could which included the restaurant that was in the basement. I was pleasantly surprised when I went downstairs to check it out. The enormous space had been done up quite nicely, you would never know you were in Cuba. Although I didn't have anything to eat, I did check out the menu. The selection of items available weren't anything special but I remember there being a couple of choices I would have made. They advertise themselves as being a wine bar and that's where I took a seat, at the bar. Although this is a nonsmoking restaurant (as the trend seems to be), it is permitted to smoke cigars only while seated in this area. The long bar is located to the side of the restaurant separated by a wall and has smoke extractors to suck out all the offensive fumes. For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the bar area, I'll have to go back and maybe have something to eat next time. For now, I've made you aware of it's existence, I wasn't able to find anything at all about this place on the internet, it's like it's not there.

Gran Teatro de La Habana "Alicia Alonso"
458 Paseo del Prado e/ San Jose y San Rafael
tel. 53 (7) 862 9473

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Walk Among the Mansions (Cubanacan) Havana

                     In the western part of Havana, deep into the Miramar district, there's an area known as Cubanacan. Here, the tree-lined avenues that crisscross over gently rolling hills are dotted with stately mansions. Prior to the revolution these houses were owned by local and foreign millionaires. Today they're owned by the government and known as protocol houses. They're used as residences or embassies for foreign diplomats and their families as well as for special foreign guests and homes for some of the Cuban higher-ups. While walking along these roads you get a good idea of the opulence that existed at that time. There's lots of space between houses and they're usually away from the road with a driveway leading to the front entrance. Some that have important guests residing within are gated and some you can't even stop in front of, let alone take a picture of. It's safe to say that there are many more houses like the ones in the pictures below. I couldn't capture images of some of the properties due to either immense vegetation or wall (or both). For those of you who are Cigar Enthusiasts, this is where the 'El Laguito' cigar factory can be found.

El Laguito cigar factory

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

El Puerco Asado (Guanabacoa) Havana Roast Pork Delivery

                     I discovered this place this past summer while in Cuba. We were having a gathering of people at the house and didn't want to tire anyone by having them spend the entire day in the kitchen. Someone suggested a spot across the street from the Ranchón El Pellizco in Guanabacoa (25 minutes from our house in Playa) where we would be lunching that day. The spot we checked out was the "El Puerco Asado" (the roast pork) where they specialize in Roast Pork and most importantly....they deliver. They do everything on site: raise, kill and cook the animals on the property and in the open for you to see when you make your order. We opted for the leg which they said would feed 20-25 people (it could feed more). It comes with Congri (black beans & rice), Vianda (yucca), Ensalada de Estacioin (seasonal salad which was: avocado, cabbage & cucumber) & a bottle of Mojo (Cuban Garlic Sauce), they sent us a free basket of  Chicharrones (fried pork skin...yummy). All this food delivered and on time for only 70cuc which in my opinion is a pretty good price. By the time I bought the raw meat which could barely fit in my oven, bought all the other ingredients and employed someone to cook it for me, it would cost me almost half as much....but that doesn't take into consideration the time spent. I know some of you seasoned travelers to Cuba will say that for a few dollars more they can get a whole pig....but I didn't need or want a whole pig and this was well worth it and more than sufficient for our needs. As I said, it came on time and was still hot, wrapped in plastic and/or palm tree leaf.
                    The only problem I see, which really isn't a problem, is you have to go there to order it at least the first time to create a relationship. It wasn't a problem in my case because I love the restaurant Ranchón El Pellizco which is practically next door and went there for a cheap lunch right afterwards. They wanted no money upfront, which pleasantly surprised me, and everything went off without a hitch.

+53 7 681 0231
+53 5 292 2170
km 19 de la Via Monumental
next to Ranchón El Pellizco


Roasting the Pork with wood that gives it it's smoky flavour

The Delivery


Roast Pork

Black Beans & Rice