Thursday, July 23, 2009

Passport to Havana

After being in windowless conference rooms at my company's annual editorial meetings all day Monday, a festive business dinner out at Victor's Cafe lifted the spirits.

Mojito! Mix together white rum or vodka, sugar, lime, sparkling water, ice, and mint, and get deliciousness. Did you known this drink's birthplace is Cuba?

Black bean soup, $9. Very tasty, but an entire bowl is too filling. I took half of this home.

The waiter said he'd surprise me when I told him I was vegan, and he pleasantly did. I love sweet fried plantains. Black beans were served with the entrees, so I could have skipped the soup.

Mango sorbet, $7, from il laboratorio del gelato. So creamy. Some of the best I've had in a while. Other flavor choices were lemon or strawberry. But expensive, I know! Veganize their tempting dessert offering, flan.

Normally I like to include all the prices for full disclosure, but since this was a business dinner, I didn't see the check, so I'm unsure about the cost of the mojito and the entree. This restaurant was lively and the food delicious, but it's definitely pricey.

We loved Lucy, but we also loved Ricky! Desi Arnaz...signing the Cuban classic, Babalu.

Who was Cuban Pete, the subject of another famous Desi song? Actually of Puerto Rican origin, he was mambo genius Pedro Aguilar, who once danced at the Palladium. The legendary nightclub shuttered in 1998, was demolished, and is now a New York University residence hall. A collective boo from the crowd when historical sites are destroyed.

Visit Victor's Cafe, 236 W. 52nd., New York City. Or make a similar meal at home and request the "Music of Cuba: 1909-1951" cd and "The Mambo Kings" DVD from the library and have Cuba night at your casa.

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