Charlie, our host for the evening.
I wanted to tell you about the dinner I had at a little family-owned and operated place called The Havana Cafe. My friend and co-worker, Jenni (but you can call her Jenelope), discovered this little gem and is all about bringing them new business. It's located in the Honeycreek Shopping Center at West 38th Street and Moller Road. The family history is far-flung and includes Columbia, El Salvador, and Cuba. There's even some German tossed in, just to keep things interesting. This means the menu is not the standard Hispanic fare of tacos and burritos. Our super-friendly waiter, Charlie, brought out some samples to help us make our selection. Jenni ordered the Picadillo a la Criolla: ground beef creole, which came with rice, black beans and plantains.
I took a chance on the Masitas de Puerco fritas: fried pork chunks which came with yellow rice and plantains. Charlie's mom, Flor, was the chef that evening and she did not disappoint. My pork was delightfully crispy on the outside and incredibly tender on the inside. The plantains were tasty as well. I think Charlie said (if you're reading this, Charlie, correct me if I'm wrong) they soak the plantains in wine before cooking them.
We shared a rice pudding for dessert, which was the absolute perfect, not-too-sweet ending to the meal. The price was fairly reasonable: plentiful dinner, can of soda and dessert - $13. Oh, I almost forgot. We got a couple of complimentary empanadas to take home - mmmmm! The only negative would be that they don't have a walk-in freezer, so they don't keep a large supply of food on hand. They had sold out of what I originally requested off the menu. On the upside, that means they get deliveries more frequently so their food is really fresh! Also, I will grant you that 38th Street can be a little dicey (their hours are 9a-10p - I probably won't be doing any late night dining there), but I admire this family's entrepreneurial spirit. There are some other different ethnic restaurants in this area which I plan on visiting, so I hope they are successful in making this area productive again.