Robaina's plantation

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

H.Upmann Royal Robusto LCDH Exclusivo 2011 (Cigar Review) Box Date May 2012

                 I bought this box in Cuba last year at the Club Havana LCDH. There were several boxes but this one was the only one with a 2012 box date. Someone had told me that anything from 2012 was smoking well and so I couldn't resist...I'm glad I picked it up. My reference site says these were released in 2011 and that only 5000 dress boxes of 10 cigars were made. This is a Robusto weighing in at 52 x 135 (5.3").
                  This bumpy cigar with a bumpy cap was hard to the touch but veinless. I got little to nothing on the pre-light draw but the draw was perfect. It started out mild with notes of wood and hints of nuts and earth. By the time I got to the first inch the burn was a little off. This is definitely a mild cigar and after the first inch I touched it up with my torch. Flicked the ash at about the 1/4 mark and the flavour is unchanged. The burn was fine for about another 1/4 but by the time I reached the half it was off again and so I touched it up again....and then again.
                  And so it went...flavour didn't change, burn a bit uneven, draw was bang on. This was a mild, uncomplicated cigar. Many people swear by it and I really enjoyed it. I think it may be a bit too mild for anyone who enjoys a full-bodied cigar but I like many flavour profiles and strengths. For me, this will be a go-to cigar, maybe a morning smoke or something to start a multi cigar night. I'm going to have to search for more of these cigars when I'm back in Cuba a couple of weeks from now.
                  I'm sorry I couldn't say more about this cigar but it really wasn't that complicated. However, I can tell you this....I put it down because I couldn't hold it any longer. If I can smoke a cigar down that far, anyone who knows me will tell you that's an endorsement.

El Emperador (Havana) Restaurant Review

               This restaurant is located on the ground floor of the tallest building in Havana, the Fosca Building. It's not a place where I would normally grab a meal but I hadn't come here with that intent. We wanted to have lunch at 'La Torre' which is on the top floor with a gorgeous view of the city but that restaurant was closed. Someone in our group had to eat immediately and this was the quickest option.
                The main dining room with it's decor and furnishings was like a throwback of a bygone era. I found out that this restaurant actually did exist before the revolution. That wasn't so bad but they hadn't done anything to spruce up the place in all these years, or so it seemed. The place looked rundown, worn, dirty but nothing prepared us for the bathrooms. I had been in better bathrooms at gas Cuba. No toilet seats, no toilet paper, forget paper towels or soap, I didn't even check if the sinks had water. However, worst of all was the stench that permeated the bathroom making it impossible for anyone with a weak stomach to enter. But I hadn't seen the bathrooms until after I finished my meal.
                The waiter was nice enough but we had to ask for serviettes, everything fancy, linen, china, silverware and the waiter wore a suit and tie. The menu was quite extensive with hot and cold appetizers, meat, fish, fowl & pork. As for wine, I chose one I had the night before for only half the price, 12cuc, a Chilean Cabernet. This is a state run restaurant and I really wasn't expecting anything special, I was hoping for marginal bordering on not getting sick. I really wanted to push the envelope, I saw Carpaccio as one of the appetizers, I had to try it. I was surprised, except for the fact that I had to use lime (there are no lemons on this island) and there was no shaved parmigiano (I don't know what the stringy imitation was) or capers (they used onions instead), it was actually pretty good....and I lived to write about it. My main course wasn't as good, even though I went with what I thought was the sure thing. I had the fish filet, plain. It looked unappetizing on the plate and it was plain all right...tasteless and dry too. Someone else in the group thought he went with the sure thing too, the Chicken Supreme. How can you screw up chicken? Well, if the source isn't good quality, it doesn't matter what you do with the chicken, the outcome will always be the same. In this case it was very obvious that it was poor quality local chicken, it was hard and didn't taste right. He was happy with his starter, Ceviche, it was abundant and tasty. My date started with the Cream Cheese Soup and said it was more flour than cheese, she could hardly taste it. However, she did enjoy her Queen Fish Filet that was topped with a nice pile of fairly good sized shrimp and melted cheese (the tasteless kind that was in her soup). The last person had the Shellfish Mushroom Salad which had no mushrooms and the only shellfish it consisted of was shrimp. Might as well of called it Shrimp Salad or they could have at least told us what they din't have. For a main course he had the Filet Fish Almondine which he was okay with.
                  After all was said and done, it was exactly what I expected, the price as well, inexpensive for what we had. Including the bread, water, 2 bottles of wine and the gratuity that was included....91.30cuc. We left our waiter a substantial tip but I doubt I will be returning.

Calle 17 e/ M y N, Edificio Focsa
Vedado. Havana
tel. (53 7) 832-4998

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Robaina Calendar (by Ramon Iglesias Centeno)

                  Ramon and I have been friends for several years now. I met him at my first Partagas Encuentro back in 2005, he was one of the Event's Photographers...and still is, taking pictures of the goings-on throughout the week of the festival. He was also the Robaina Family Photographer for years being called upon to take pictures at important events in the Robaina Family. The pictures below were used for a 2006 Calendar produced by Ramon. A couple of years ago I had asked Ramon if I could use these pictures for one of my Blog Posts. He agreed and here they are....with a couple of extras. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Thank You Ramon