I Like Cuban Food But For

June 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I had a rather mediocre lunch today at Cafe Cubano in Elmwood Park (7426 W. North Ave.).  I do not eat Cuban food that often even though I find I enjoy even mediocre Cuban food.  I do, however, find three flaws about always with Cuban restaurants:

  1. The margarine thing – I guess I’m just a snob, but I really dislike the taste of margarine.  Bread always comes with margarine, usually pre-slathered.
  2. Never enough rice – Cuban food is nearly all wet.  Something like a slab of “palomino” steak still comes in a pool of grease.  It just needs rice for mopping.  Yet the rice is also there to serve as a base for the beans.  I just never have enough rice.
  3. It calls out for a spicy condiment – Cubans do not generally eat hot foods, and there is no table salsa, chimichurri or the like that comes with the foods.  But there should!  Everything we had today, and nearly anything on a Cuban menu, would go better with a hot sauce.  My wife suggest maybe we smuggle some in next time we eat Cuban food.

Speaking of my wife, she would add a fourth issue.  She grew up in Miami, and as such, feels quite authoritative on Cuban food.  In those halcyon days of yore, she always got chopped onions for her black beans.  She expects, nay believes, that is the way they should be served.  She always has to ask for them around here, and many a-time, it takes several asks.

Can anyone work on those for me.



  1. Cynthia says:

    Your wife is right — black beans should come with chopped onions. (My dad was from St. Petersburg, Florida, so visiting relatives always meant a trip to Tampa for Cuban food. That was my intro to black beans — with chopped onions.)

  2. Gina says:

    Dear Rob: Cuban food is very tasty but not spicy. I can see your preference for spicy so you should stick to spicy cuisine but dont knock it just cause you like spicy. If you need more rice ask for more, seems to me that no matter what you eat you will allways have a complain. Stay home and cook it yourself the way you like it.

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