Robaina's plantation

Tuesday 26 February 2019

WAOO!!! Snack-Bar & Restaurant (Havana) My Visit

                       I walked by this place many times during my last trip to Cuba before I finally decided to check it out. A Cuban friend of mine suggested it, we both smoke cigars and he told me that besides the food being good, they allow smoking. The restaurant takes up a space on the ground floor of a building, up the stairs and to your left, a corner unit. I asked if I may smoke my cigar upon entering and they assured me that I could. The windows were open on this day and I took a window seat. The service was attentive and pleasant, the Caipirina was superb.
                       I had the Beef Carpaccio topped with arucola, shaved parmigiano and truffle oil as my starter and the Pork Ribs with roasted yucca to finish, both of which were splendid. The big surprise was that they actually had drizzled truffle oil over the carpaccio....a refreshing change. It's not cheap but it's not expensive either, if I had the same in Canada it would have cost me at least double.
                       Situated across the street from the Hotel Habana Libre, you can't miss the neon sign. There are a lot of restaurants in this area and this is probably one of the better ones. Besides, being able to smoke inside a restaurant is becoming scarcer in Havana.

PS......they also offer a Breakfast ($4-7) & a Brunch ($8-10) as well as a Prix Fixe Lunch at $12 & Dinner for $20 both include appetizer, main course, dessert, national drink and coffee.

WAOO!!! Snack-Bar & Restaurant
Calle L # 414 e/ 23 y 25,
Vedado, Havana
Phone: +53 7 8305264
Hours of operation
Every day 11:00 - 12:00 hrs

Reynol Perez Pereira is the new house roller at Club Havana LCDH (Havana)

                     As usual I try to visit the Club Havana LCDH when I travel to Cuba and this trip was no exception. However, on this visit I found the staff to be a bit evasive when I asked about their roller Jorge....that was because he was no longer there. It wasn't until my second visit that I realized Jorge was no longer there or in Cuba for that matter. The replacement was quietly working away at the rollers table and I thought this a good opportunity to ask him a few questions and let those who didn't already know, there's a new roller at 'Club Havana'. Keep in mind that this interview took place in November 2018.

1. Reynol Perez Pereira was born May 25, 1973. He is married and has 2 children.

2. He's been working at Club Havana for 3 months (6 months now).

3. Prior to coming here Reynol was working in the Romeo y Julieta factory (not the store) and prior to that he was at the El Laguito factory 2009-2015.

4. He's traveled to several countries working for Habanos: Switzerland, England, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and Cyprus to name a few.

5. His favourite Vitolas to roll are figurado or Torpedo.

6. The amount of cigars he rolls per week depends on demand.....25 to 300.

7. When I asked him if he was nervous coming to Club Havana with it's past history he answered that he was a little bit nervous but also proud to be given the responsibility of bearing the torch of past notoriety.

8. His favourite sport is Baseball and favourite team are the Havana Industriales.

9. The last question I asked him was...Name 3 people, dead or alive, you would like to smoke a cigar with. His answer was: Fidel Castro, Jose Marti & Che Guevara.

As far as I can surmise about his personality without knowing him very well, he's quiet like his predecessor and rolls some great cigars. For those of you who were fans of the Monsdale, it's alive and now being produced by Reynol. As far as how it compares with past examples....taking into consideration that the tobacco being used today is not the same tobacco being used back in the day, in my opinion the Monsdales being rolled today have kept with the tradition of the past. I suggest you visit Reynol and judge for yourself.

Reynol Perez Pereira


Monday 25 February 2019

Hotel Kempinski & Packard Cigar Lounges....which one do you like more (Havana)

                  While on my last trip to Cuba I had the luxury of time, I did a lot walking around and lounging. I was able to visit the two newest hotels in Havana, the Kempinski & Packard, both of which have a Smoking Lounge. Technically Hotel Manzana Kempinski has two, one of which is the Cohiba Atmosphere on the ground floor....that's not the one I make reference to here, I refer to the Hotel's own lounge on the 2nd floor.
                   It's tough to decide which of the lounges is the nicest, they're both beautiful. Some people have criticized the selection of cigars at the Packard lounge but that's unfair as it had just opened and wasn't 100% ready to service the public in that manor....I brought my own cigars anyway. The Packard is modern and small, the Kempinski is traditional and much larger. The Packard has no view while the Kempinski has a tremendous view of Parque Central and it's surroundings. The Packard is probably a better place to hide in since the Kempinski is more centrally located.
                   The decision is yours, I've posted a few pictures below that I hope are clear enough for you to get an idea of how the two look....let me know what you think.

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana,
Calle San Rafael (entre Monserrate y Zulueta),
La Habana Vieja, Havana
+53 786 99100

Hotel Iberostar Grand Packard
Paseo del Prado No. 51 e/ Cárcel y Genios,
La Habana Vieja, Havana
Phone: +53 7 8232100

Hotel Manzana Kempinski

Hotel Packard