Robaina's plantation

Sunday 27 March 2016

The Rolling Stones in Cuba (Havana) March 25

                  The Rolling Stones in Havana, what a Historic event. It's estimated that 500,000 people came to this concert and I can assure you that this wasn't an exaggeration. I arrived at the venue (Ciudad Deportiva) at 11:30am and found about 50 people crowded around the one of three entrances to the park with many more people milling about the street. By the time the gates opened at 2pm there was a massive crowd behind me and it was the start of a mad dash for the stage. Unfortunately I fell down hard 10-20 meters from the gate and was lucky to not get trampled on by the crowd that followed. However, I wrecked my knee which began to swell thereafter. I kept going, I wasn't going to let anything stop me from seeing my favourite rock band preform in my favourite country, I was witnessing history in the making. The worse part was yet to come....I was meters from the stage but we were packed like sardines. I now had to stand on this bad knee for 6 1/2 hours with no relief. I could only drink what was necessary to not dehydrate because going to the bathroom meant I would lose my spot. The last half hour was the worse but once the band came on I forgot everything. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the entire concert because it would have been a nightmare getting out behind half a million people....1st in last out. I wasn't going to be able to last that long without maybe doing permanent damage to my knee. But, I made it, I saw them and shared this experience with many young 20 something year old Cubans that were around me for this long anticipated historic event. After so many hours we became a quasi family with me being the daddy to all of them. Despite the huge crowd that had the police, military and special police in noticeable numbers surrounding the area, it wasn't necessary, everyone was loud but well behaved. I limped slowly making my way through the packed crowds and realizing the magnitude of the event with every few careful steps I took. By the time I was able to get to the gates I saw how massive the crowd was. I had to limp another 2 kilometers with a smile from ear to ear before I could get to a spot where I could hail a cab for home. Once there the knee had stiffened up to the point of not being able to move it. But here I am, alive and relatively well with an amazing story to tell my friends and family. I hope you enjoy the pictures, I wish I had remembered to bring my selfie stick.

Sunday 20 March 2016

Nero di Seppia (Restaurant Review) Havana

                Here I am back in Cuba again, Havana to be exact. Contrary to an article I read today, the food in Cuba, specifically Havana, is great. Like anywhere else on the planet and especially in a third world country, you're going to find some places, namely the government run restaurants in this case, to usually have some pretty bad stuff...and maybe some of the local food may not be to your liking. I for one love the local food and if you go to one of the many newly opened privately run restaurants the food can be quite good to excellent. I usually don't eat Italian food anywhere else but back home but in the case of Walter's kitchen (Walter being the chef-owner) I make an exception. Walter is Italian, off the boat, and he prepares his food in manner that culinary angels meant in to be cooked. I met Walter when he was the chef at his previous restaurant 'La Carboncita'.
                 For whatever reason he moved on about a year ago and it's taken me this long to visit him at his new digs. Although the prices are marginally higher they are by no means expensive but most importantly the quality is still top notch. I preferred the setup of the other restaurant that had outdoor seating both front and back but otherwise it's pretty similar. The service is pleasant and attentive and like the other place, even on a Sunday afternoon, they were busy...I wonder if Obama will eat here.
                We had no appetizers and for main courses only pizza but they were as good and in some cases better than a pizza back home for less than half the money. I don't know where he gets some of his ingredients but they're bang on. There's not really much more I can say except that this will be my first attempt at posting from Cuba....after trying to load the pictures I realized it won't be easy as I thought so I will post the menu when I return to Canada.

Nero Di Seppia
6th Ave e/1ra y 3ra
Miramar, Havana

Saturday 12 March 2016

Montecristo Habanos Añejados Churchill 2014 (my thoughts)

               I received this cigar as a gift from a friend in Havana. It's said the leaf in this cigar is aged for 5 - 8 years. It was slated to be released in 2014 but was just released last year in early 2015. It's sold in a Dress Box of 25 cigars. The vitola is a Churchill weighing in at 47 x 178 (7.0"). I had smoked one in Havana a few months ago and maybe it was because I was distracted (I don't analyze cigars in Cuba) but I didn't think much of it then but the one I smoked now is remarkably different.                                                                                          This cigar has an almost flawless wrapper with no notable imperfections. Pre-light draw is very faint cedar. Once lit it's all earth and wood with a hint of leather. The burn is uneven and because I was smoking in someone's house I flicked the ash at about the one inch mark. It turned out to be a medium bodied cigar with the flavours changing to nutmeg and earth with a shot of barnyard.
               Past the half it began to pick-up strength and earth becomes the predominant flavour coming through. Nearing the last third it turns musty with shots of pepper and so it remains that way to the end making it a difficult smoke.
               Do I dare say this cigar needs more time. It felt that the flavours were all over the place with stuff coming through that was beyond my limited interpretative skills. It seemed to me as I was smoking it that it has lots of room for change if these cigars rest longer. If you were thinking about buying the Montecristo Añejados and wondering if it was worth the price tag....In my opinion, the unique flavour profile merits the extra money, if you can afford it, buy it.