Robaina's plantation

Thursday 30 May 2013

Sloppy Joe's Bar (Havana) has reopened

                   This famous bar was originally opened by an immigrant Spaniard barman, Jose Garcia, who plied his trade in several counties including Cuba before opening Sloppy Joe's and making it the must visit place in Havana between the 1930's-1950's. The bar was named as such because of the messy state it was always in and as Jose was known as Joe....they named it Sloppy Joe's. At the time, the sandwich with it's namesake that was being served at the time was stuffed with Ropa Vieja. The sandwich they were famous for was the 1" thick Ham & Cheese on Rye Bread. It had expert bartenders, 11 at one time, who were well known for making the best cocktails. It boasted the longest mahogany drinks cabinet in Cuba. Ernest Hemingway was a regular there and many celebrities visited the place as it was 'where to be seen' at the time. Some of the most famous who visited: John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Rock Hudson, Babe Ruth & Frank Sinatra. Errol Flynn even had a cocktail named after him there for all the times he visited. The "Los Angeles Times" once called it "One of the most famous bars in the world". It attracted many US tourists, especially during prohibition. During the day it was a family restaurant that put out some decent food but at night it filled up with American Tourists. It was a hangout and not that exclusive at all but it had taken on a life of it's own until the Revolution ended all that. The bar's clientele was made up of 90% Americans and all that business stopped after the revolution, by 1965 it shut down and was abandoned.
                  The job of restoring this site was a huge undertaking. For starters, the main floor had collapsed due too the deteriorated beams below and the original bar, that still existed, had broken in three places. They did an amazing job but I'm sure it's lost a lot of it's charm. I was able to go inside just before they opened, great for picture taking but I wasn't able to try anything. It's a really sharp looking bar with what looks like an amazing drink selection. I managed to get pictures of the drink list and menu as well. The drinks are a little pricey but the food isn't so bad, I saw a couple of things I want to try. I bet it will be (or already is) a major Tourist Spot. I will make sure to grab a bite to eat next time I'm in Havana. For now, I hope you enjoy the pics.

Trivia...The Bar can be seen in the movie "Our Man In Havana" starring Alec Guinness

PS.....No Smoking

Located behind the same block as the Plaza Hotel

Zulueta no.252
corner of Zulueta y Animas
tel. (537) 866 7157

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Partagas Serie C no.3 Edicion Limitada 2012 (cigar review) Revisited 9 months later

                     I stuck these cigars in the back of my humidor hoping to forget about them for a while. They were pretty good when I tried them but very young, they needed some time to rest. It's been 9 months since I had my last one, it's time to try another. They come in unnumbered boxes of 10. This Grand Corona is 5.5" (140mm) x 48 gauge. The tobacco used in this cigar was aged 2 years.
                     This cigar was an absolutely beautiful specimen with it's maduro-like, smooth, oily wrapper. The cap was a little bumpy but otherwise a flawless cigar. The prelight draw gave me spice and nuts.
                      Once lit....big earth and wood with a hint of sweetness, butterscotch. The burn was off right from the start. A lot smoother than I remembered it with the flavours having settled down through the months but it's still a strong cigar, definitely a Partagas. Passing the first inch and I've had to continually touch it up with my torch. The edge has come off a bit but it's still a solid medium-strong bodied cigar. Passing the second inch, the burn is still off and the ash has fallen on it's own. Getting some mustiness off this cigar now and I picked up a swig of floral but it vanished.
                      At about the halfway mark the cigar goes out. I pick up some bitterness on the relight but that goes away. Once again I pick up a hint of floral that makes way for flavours of tea and leather.
                      Goes out again on the last third but is still strong and smooth. It goes out again at the last quarter, the edge has definitely come off this cigar, I wasn't able to smoke it this far down 9 months ago. It picks up strength through the last quarter but is still smokeable. I smoked it until I couldn't hold it comfortably any longer.
                     This cigar has definitely improved over time and it still has a ways to. It's hard to say how long it will be before it peaks but I predict it will change dramatically and continue to do so for a couple of years at least. I won't be touching another one of these for a while. If you can find them, buy some. In my opinion, of the current EL releases, this is one of the better ones.

Thursday 23 May 2013

René Aselo Valdés Torres (Artist) San Luis, Pinar del Río

               I didn't get the chance to meet this artist but a good friend of mine past along pictures of some of his artwork and a history of his achievements. Except for a few lines, I'm going to post it in it's original form.

The Artist's Personal Information:
  • Name: René Aselo Valdés Torres (born 1946 in San Luis, Pinar del Río).
  • Address: Calle Moncada # 17-A, e/ Juana Romero y Maceo, San Luis, Pinar del Río.
  • Telephone- 797409.
  • Work- Jubilado (Dirección Municipal de Cultura, Sana Luis).

    1. Publicaciones literarias:
    - A solas con Casandra (Poesía), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz, Pinar del Río, 1995.
    - Bajo el aire y el sol de Buenavista (Noveleta Infantil), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz, Colección Brujita, Pinar del Río, 1998.
    - Canta la tarde (Poesía para niños), Editorial Capiro, 1996.
    - Los hijos del vendedor de tinajas (Novela para niños), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz, Colección Brujita, Pinar del Río, 2000.
    - Árboles de silencio (Poesía), Editorial Cauce, 2002, Pinar del Río, 2002.
    - La garza roja (Cuento Infantil), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz 2001, Colección Chicuelo, Pinar del Río.
    - Pájaros de sombra (Poesía), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz 2003, Colección Laurel, Pinar del Río.
    - Donde hiere la luz (Décimas), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz 2003, Colección El Rizo, Pinar del Río.
    - Los venados azules (Novela para niños), Editorial Hermanos Loynaz 2005, Colección Brujita, Pinar del Río.
    - Margarita Cun Cun (Noveleta para niños), Editorial Cauce 2005, Colección Fililí, Pinar del Río.
    - Inés, mi gato y yo (Cuento para niños), Editorial Gente Nueva 2006, La Habana.
    - Un, dos, tres, te cuento (Antología, en unión de Nelson Simón), Editorial Cauce 2006, Colección Fililí, Pinar del Río.
    - Aventar la ceniza (Poesía), Editorial El Abra, Isla de la Juventud, 2007.
    - Una tía tengo yo, bastante loca (Novela para niños y jóvenes), Editorial Cauce 2008, Colección Fililí, Pinar del Río.

    2. Artículos y cuentos publicados:
    Cuenta con publicaciones en las revistas Cauce, De Lira, Vitral, La Gaceta de Cuba y Letra del Escriba. Las mismas han consistido en cuentos, crónicas, reseñas y entrevistas.

    3. Premios obtenidos:
    Ha obtenido innumerables premios y menciones en concursos como David, Edad de Oro, Ismaelillo, Cauce, Abril, Hermanos Loynaz, Julio Correa, Fundación de la Ciudad, Paco Mir, entre otros como Plural (México), La Felguera (España).

    4. Otros aspectos a destacar:
    - Finalista, en dos ocasiones del Concurso Internacional de Cuento La Felguera, España.
    - Mención de Poesía, Concurso Plural, México.
    - Recibió el Premio La Rosa Blanca, de la Sección de Escritores de Literatura Infantil de la UNEAC, 2006.
    - Le fue otorgado el Premio Romance de la Niña Mala, por la obra de la vida, Sancti Spíritus, 2009.
    - Realiza frecuentemente presentaciones de libros y revistas, presentaciones públicas y recitales de poesía. Ha impartido conferencias y ha sido jurado de concursos literarios y temas socioculturales.
    - Sobre su obra se han escrito reseñas y críticas literarias en publicaciones provinciales y nacionales.
    - Vicepresidente de la Sociedad Cultural José Martí, en Pinar del Río.
    - Secretario de la Filial Provincial de la Fundación “Nicolás Guillén” en Pinar del Río.
    - Fundador y miembro del Consejo Editorial de la Revista Cauce y Chinchila.
    Instituciones a las que pertenece:
    • UNEAC.
    • Sociedad Cultural José Martí.
    • Filial Provincial de la Fundación “Nicolás Guillén”.

      Below are pictures of some of his Artwork: