As far as I know, there are no Cuban restaurants in Columbus. (The last Cuban I saw in Columbus was Ricky Ricardo.) I may be wrong. I hope not. There are days I would gladly slit someone’s throat for a Cuban sandwich.
What does this have to do with Las Vegas - a location that is 2157 miles away from Cuba? A couple of years ago, I saw someone eating a Cuban sandwich on TV. I told my hubby I really, really wanted to try one..someday we would have to head down to Florida and hit the eateries down there. The next week we left for Vegas along with our daughter. Upon arrival, Annie came down with a bad stomach flu and I was confined to the hotel taking care of her… (Don’t get all cranky…Tony was filming an instructional video! It was a working vacation.) After a long day of filming, Tony came back with a white bag…I peeked inside..and it was a Cuban Sandwich! In Vegas!! It was great! I loved it!
This time when we got to Vegas, I forbid anyone getting ill. I was not going to miss out on eating at Cuba Café. Once again, the restaurant was located in a small strip mall, tastefully decorated in faux-adobe on the outside. Inside, however, was a small space brightly decorated with pictures and craft from Cuba.
We were meeting several friends there for lunch, and I don’t think the staff was quite prepared for a party of eight at one in the afternoon. It took some time to get our drinks and the lone waitress looked extremely stressed. The menu was fairly simple. I chose to get Ropa Veija. The meat was tender without being stringy, and the peppers and onions stood out in the dish without being overpowering. It was served with a dish called Moors and Christians which was black beans and white rice. I know that I need to learn to make this dish at home.
Tony and Annie had Camarones Enchilado. The dish came with four u-20 shrimp covered in a rich tomato sauce. It was supposed to be spicy, but even Annie said it was very mild. While it was good, they both questioned the $18.00 cost for the plate of food they received.
Jay, one of the magic guys from Vegas, was sitting next to me and ordered Arroz Con Mariscos. It looked great and he said he enjoyed it.
I finished up with a flan which was good but not the best I have eaten. We ordered a couple of Cuban sandwiches to go. They were still great, but I don’t think that I would go back for just the food. It was good, but not good enough to justify the prices. I know, I know, Vegas is a long way from the ocean and everything has to be shipped in, but I am essentially a skinflint when it comes to eating in restaurants. If I know that I could buy the ingredients for a fraction of the cost and make it at home, I have to ask myself is the cost of eating out really worth it. Of course this was on vacation, but I felt that my money would have been better spent elsewhere.
The last meal of the vacation was pizza. “OMG!” I heard you scream. “You are in Vegas and you are eating pizza!” This was not just any pizza, it was Metro Pizza. We stopped in at about 2 pm on a Thursday afternoon and the place was packed. We were hanging out with a few magicians who had stayed over from the convention and wanted something casual that would suite everyone’s tastes. So, pizza it was!
First we ordered the anti-pasta platter. I got up to go the restroom and it came while I was gone. This is all that was left when I got back. Ravenous wild beasts! I am gonna learn to hold it until I get my share next time. What was left was great and I stole a couple bites of the fresh mozzarella off of Tony’s plate.
When you look at the menu, Metro serves all kinds of pizza: stuffed Chicago style, New York style – plus they also serve a 30” pizza for parties! But the older I get the more I look for simplicity in my slice of pie so I order pizza margarita. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a very crisp dough, covered with a light smear of tomato sauce, and topped with fresh mozzarella and basil. The pie is usually fired in a wood burning oven. It is one of those dishes, when done right, is heaven. This pie was done right. I was in pizza heaven.
Tony and the gang order a large Gotham - a thick crust pizza with lots of meat and veggies. Generally, I dislike green peppers on pizza. They usually burn before the pie is done and they taste like crap. This pie was great as well – the veggies were cooked through but not burned, the crust was done to perfection.
I now have to learn how to make pizza margarita at home – time to pull out that pizza stone Tony bought me ten years ago and have another try…
Overall, we had a great time in Vegas. I can’t say all the food I ate there was great, but I survived without have to resort to pharmaceuticals. It’s the little things you appreciate as you get older I guess.