Mitchell Baker ~
It’s our last day in Cuba. I got off the bus wondering if we were going to be joined by the same Cuban students who attended the first cross-cultural dinner, and as we entered the restaurant I saw Glenda, the student who organized these two encounters, but not the other students. Then I was distracted–and overwhelmed–by the rich smell of Roast pork.
The last meal in Cuba consisted of an appetizer plate, a main course and a dessert. The appetizer plate had many different flavors on it. There were croquettes with either fish or ham; plantains, mashed into a dough then fried and breaded; and tomato and cheese stuffed into a crust made from yucca. The smell of the croquettes blended well with the tomato and made for a refreshing taste. There was also a salsa with guava and mango cubes, which enhanced the taste of the croquettes. But the plantains! As you bite into them the flavorful juices hit you like a twelve-foot wave on the Malecon.
The restaurant features a large indoor barbecue grill, and we could watch and smell as they cooked the main course items, a choice of shredded beef, chicken, or fish with white rice or moros (black beans cooked with the rice). I took the shredded beef. When it arrived, I could smell that it had been fully marinated in pineapple juice. There were peppers inside the beef as well. The smoky flavor of the roasted peppers paired well with the marinated juice of the beef. There was silence as the food came out because everyone was enjoying his or her food. The moros, on the other hand, was not as I had expected it to be. When we had moros before, it had blended beautifully together. But this one tasted overcooked and the beans turned to mush after a few minutes. It felt like they had cooked both separate and then mixed them together in a rush.
For dessert there was flan. I am usually not a fan of flan, but this one I could get behind. It had the fluffiness but also the consistency to hold a spoon upright as you can see in the photo. The typical Cuban version of flan was like this texture, fluffy enough to still be called flan but strong enough to hold a spoon upright.
In conclusion, the meal was very entertaining. The students were nice to talk to and we talked about everything from TV to cars. It was a great time with great food and great friends.