I’m starting my Cuban post with the eats, surprised:, haha didn’t think so!
After a long morning of travels (well the actual flight was rather fast, 45 mintues from takeoff in Miami to landing in Havana, but the check in process and bus to our hotel took several hours) I was ready to eat whatever was placed in front of me. We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, and quickly went to their cafeteria for lunch. Our tour guide told us we would have a light meal before checking into our hotel room and having a short rest.
I wouldn’t exactly call a Cuban sandwich, with 3 or 4 kinds of pork, a light meal. I took off about half the meat, even so was stuffed after eating a bit more than half.
We were also treated to our first mojito of the trip, at first without alcohol but the waitress quickly came around and gave a rather generous pour of rum.
One of the hotel’s bars-
Dinner that evening was at La Torre which is located on top of the FOCSA building in Havana. As the tallest building in Cuba it provided an amazing view of the city. The building itself was best describe by our tour guide as an open book, I would say she was pretty accurate.
Dinner that evening was surprising salmon! I soon found out that it, like most food eaten in Cuban, was imported.
Appetizer of sauteed shrimp:
Main course-salmon, vegetables, and rice:
While vegetables were often lacking in meals there was always dessert, usually in the form of something chocolate:
Along with Cuban coffee for digestion ;):
I never took breakfast pictures but while in Havana we went to the buffet provided by Hotel Nacional which included a large spread of various kinds of bread, yogurts, fruit, cold cereals, eggs prepared several ways, cheese, meats, and more.
After a morning tour we were treated to a freshly prepared beverage- either a pineapple sugarcane cocktail or coconut water cocktail (both were available without the rum).
Sugarcane being pressed:
Coconuts being cut:
Rum being poured :).
Lunch on our 2nd day was at El Aljibe in Miramar, a residential area of Havana.
The restaurant was officially owned by the government but run by a family that served their original secrete recipe chicken.
While we waited for lunch they served an arrangement of fried and processed chicken and plantain chips:
Along with the chicken I had some amazing rice and beans, I would have to say the best rice and beans of the trip:
For dessert they served guanabana ice cream-which to me tasted like bubble gum:
Treats being sold on a street of Old Havana:
Dinner was at La Imprenta in Old Havana:
For our first drink the restaurant provided a fruit punch with or without rum. I think I was still feeling the rum from the morning so I skipped and enjoyed the juice in its natural state.
For our appetizers we were served a little cabbage salad with canned green beans:
and a squash soup that was pretty decent:
We were given a choice of pork, chicken or fish for the main course. I went with the grilled fish which was served with rice and a sweet potato wedge:
And for dessert there was more ice cream (seriously became the theme of the week-chocolate ice cream).
On day 3 I let my camera rest during the meals. For lunch we enjoyed a meal of fresh cut fruit; a salad of carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, and tomatoes; and a rice and ham dish provided by our host at the Council of Churches.
Dinner was held at one of the restaurants at the Hotel Nacional- La Barraca Restaurant. Dinner was served family style with choice of roasted chicken, stewed beef, rice, and black beans.
On day 3 we headed to Ciego de Avila, a 6 hour drive broken apart with various stops including lunch at Los Tainos Restaurant in Santa Clara.
A buffet style restaurant that wasn’t amazing but I was happy to pile up on vegetables even if they were only so-so.
Dinner was held in Ciego de Avila at Ranchon Restaurante:
We again had the choice of meats, and I again went with the grilled fish which was served with rice and beans, and plantain chips.
I also had one of the best pina coladas with this meal, it was sooo tasty!
For dessert they served some kind of mango puree which they called a marmalade. It was incredibly sweet so I only had a few bites.
I think I will leave it there for now to keep the post from getting too long.