Our good friend Jim Garcia introduced us to Cubano's last weekend, so this post is dedicated to him and his Cuban heritage!
This Cuban restaurant is on a side street in downtown Silver Spring, MD - not too far from the Metro station and Georgia Ave. bus lines, so it gets a bonus for transit-accessibility. Once you're there, make sure to try an appetizer of mariquitas, thin-sliced pieces of plantain, fried and then seasoned with a drizzling of olive oil, garlic, salt, and amazing flavor. Here's our plate of them, along with my knockout mojito.
Next, we moved onto entrees. Erin had ropa vieja ("old clothes"), which is pulled beef stewed with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices. I tried Masitas de Puerco Cuba Libre
Crispy fried marinated morsels, properly dressed with gently sauteed onions (laziness = taken straight from menu!). As Jim advised, the pork chunks were fried, but surprisingly light and tasty - not typical fried-fried greasiness. Jim had Vaca Frita Cubano’s
Pan fried shredded steak flavored with mojo [olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt/pepper - cumin sometimes too] and slightly caramelized translucent onions. Our respective entrees are laid out in front of Erin and I, along with requisite sides of black beans - YUM.
With our dinner settling over some conversation, we decided it would be wrong to deny ourselves dessert. Three demi-tasses of jet-fuel strong Cuban coffee accompanied our shared desserts - tres leches cake (with an interesting addition of chocolate syrup - not typical) and coconut flan.
Once the three of us returned to Riverdale, Jim and I were propelled enough by Cuban coffee for a visit to our neighborhood bar, The S&J. Jim's landlord was there and kindly/semi-anonymously bought us two pitchers of beer, so we had a free night out!
While D.C.-proper may have more well-known restaurants, close-in suburban Maryland has its share of gems as well. Happy eating and drinking everyone!