I briefly considered skipping my catching up post for December. The new year came on to quickly after the chaos of the blizzard and it had been a relatively quiet online month before that. Still, counting out the grapes for this year’s countdown, I realized I couldn’t end the year on an incomplete. Though I normally pull together stories and links from other sites, when I unexpectedly received my wordpress report card reviewing my year online, I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up on my own. So in lieu of the twelve grapes I’ll be throwing back at midnight to welcome in 2011, here’s a quick catch-up list of the most popular posts from each month (with a few of my favorites mixed in) of the past year. Read more
My sister Carmen has been asking me to make bistec empanizado for this blog for awhile. When I wrote about masitas de puerco, my favorite thing to order from Cuban menus, it seemed only fair to write about hers. Mine came with black beans and hers didn’t, so I’d always pass her my frijoles negros. This week we made a different deal – I’d finally make the bistec empanizado if she’d write the post. Here it is and I’m sure you’ll agree it was well worth the beans.
When I was little, the center of the universe seemed to exist at Casablanca. A bustling Cuban café on 8th street in the then sleepy little town of Miami. When my grandfather took me for lunch, I loved sitting at the counter where the vinyl covered, revolving stools gave me a 360 degree view of the action. When my parents took me at night, the same café was usually empty which gave my sister and I the odd run of the place. We’d feed quarters into the jukebox and play Donna Summer songs as my father talked about what life would have been like/could be like for us in Cuba. I don’t know exactly why I chose Donna Summer. I wasn’t crazy about disco (I didn’t want to dress like a that when I grew up) but there was something about her voice that kept me coming back. It was lonely and defiant. It spoke of another world I couldn’t possibly understand at that age. The boldness of it drew me in and it was endless. Very much like the breaded steak on my plate that I always ordered for dinner. Read more