The morning Lisa and I went to Cuba was one I will never forget. It was slightly humid but a perfect summer morning regardless. We wore dresses and casually walked through the streets with hungry stomachs.
No, I we did not really go to Cuba. But step foot in Cuba Libre, located in Philadelphia and you will feel like you just set foot in downtown Cuba.
The beautiful trees, cultural decorations and open windows create an ambiance like no other.
We were lucky enough to be invited to enjoy brunch and try the new menu celebrating Cuba Libre’s 10th anniversary which was created by chef Guillermo Perno (James Beard Award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic Region & Best Single Subject Cookbook ) and inspired by his trip to Cuba.
At first we though we might be experiencing brunch with other bloggers. Maybe we would sit at a large table together. Maybe there would be a brunch style breakfast. Instead we were completely spoiled and sat at a table for two and were given the opportunity to order anything on the menu. Anything? Such dangerous words for food bloggers.
So we decided on the brunch without borders, a tapas style brunch where you pay $25 per person and order as much as you like.
We both started with the Café Cuba Libre which was exactly what I was looking for. Sweet, foamy and smooth.
Each table is given an assortment of bread:
Warm banana bread, guava cream cheese hojaldre, crispy churro and orange-ginger muffin.
Accompanied by mango butter and guava marmalade. Note to self, make mango butter.
And then the rounds of food began. I’m not kidding when I say “rounds”
African adobo-rubbed charred tuna, pickled cucumber salad
and avocado salsa. Preserved Meyer lemon-curry oil
Cóctel de Camarones
Cuban style shrimp cocktail. Latino cóctel and avocado salsa
Camarones a la Parrilla
Cuban pesto-marinated grilled shrimp, boniato chip
and arugula salad. Pimentón-lemon vinaigrette
Torta de Cangrejo Benedict
Jumbo lump crabmeat and potato cake, poached egg,
avocado mash. Tomato Hollandaise sauce
Frituras de Bacalao
Salted cod fritters. Homemade lemon mayonnaise
Pulpo con Berenjenas
Truffle and citrus marinated grilled baby octopus,
Haitian eggplant salad
Cesar de Oriente
Crispy spring roll of Cortez chorizo and shrimp.
Shredded hearts of romaine. Roasted garlic-Caesar
dressing and Cotija cheese
Ensalada de Pollo Rancho Luna
Citrus marinated pulled chicken salad, Napa cabbage,
romaine lettuce, sweet grapes tomatoes, red onions,
cucumbers and crispy wontons. Chinita mustard dressing
Chino glazed beef, pork, and pine nut meatballs.
Pickled carrot-cilantro slaw
Frituras de Malanga
A traditional Cuban appetizer of purple taro root,
garlic and culantro fritters. Tamarindo ketchup
Buñuelos de Espinaca
Spinach and Manchego cheese puffs.
Goat cheese-ranch sauce and organic olive oil
At first we considered doing a “dessert” round:
Hazelnut and almond encrusted brioche French toast.
drunken strawberry-honey drizzle
Waffle de Chocolate
Cuban chocolate waffle, chunky banana-sun dried
Which was pretty hard to turn down but our stomachs had all the amazing food they could take.
Our experience went above and beyond what we were expecting. Between the food, the atmosphere, the great service and fun we had…it isn’t if I will be back, it is when! And the brunch deal is just too great to turn down.
Why not take a vacation to Cuba this weekend? I hear there’s a mojito with your name on it.