After taking a little brake for the Thanksgiving festivities, I figure its a good time as any to continue my wonderful adventures in New York!! I cannot get over on how amazing it is to be in the Big Apple and all the endless opportunities available around the clock. For me it is really essential to have a multitude of choices when it comes to food and when in New York I love to take advantage of the great Latin flair there is to enjoy!
Palomilla - sirloin steak marinated in garlic & extra virgin olive oil
topped w/sauteed onions
I truly enjoy visiting with old friends and family that are in the New York area. Oddly enough that includes great old friends from my days living in Miami whom have now made Manhattan their home. About 10yrs ago we all lived in Miami, to make a very long story short Ian met Manny.....I met Ian and Many went to the same school Ian went to. I met Manny and then worked with Manny and then we all left Miami.....Manny partners up with Ian and they bring a taste of Miami, if you know Miami that means Cuba with them to the Big Apple......Manny is a Cuban American born and raised in Miami and Ian is an American raised in Long Island who went to hotel management school in Miami.....now, are we beginning to see the six degrees of separation channeling closer!!! If anyone knows Manny they will never argue that food and people are his main thing. These two entrepreneurial minds and good buddies brought to Manhattan a flavor and flair that took the Lower East Side by surprise (and thats allot to say for NY, nothing takes NY by surprise!!)
During the big cleanup transformation in the area called Alphabet City, the young restaurateurs took advantage of the fresh atmosphere and the already existing Latin population in the neighborhood. They decided to combine Ian's knowhow, Manny's Cuban heritage and easy going-people loving personality, contemporary culinary techniques and soulful flavors. They gave birth to Cafecito, which by now has been written several time in the New York times, New York Magazine, and several other accredited food publications......needles to say I am honored to call them my friends, proud of their success and so so happy that I get to eat there!!
I have to be very honest with you, my very favorite thing in the entire menu is the Macitas De Puerco or Mojo Marinated Pork Chunks, I can't even think about them without becoming automatically starving!! But, I promised myself I would eat something different this time around. I wanted to sit by the kitchen and take a peak at the "Cafecito Dinner Action".......I began by ordering the Ceviche Del Dia or Ceviche Of The Day, which comes with mariquitas (plantain chips)
CEVICHE DEL DIA
Then the next thing up for me to order is a Cubano or Cuban Sandwich. This is an AWSSSOME sandwich. Its a meal pressed between two pieces of crusty Cuban bread (its got fresh ham, cheese, pork, dill pickles) and they make it perfect at Cafecito. Let me just begin by telling you that they start by slow roast the pork overnight for 14 hours until the pork is completely falling apart, I don't think I need to say much more other than....you have to have it when you go there!
Another thing that I had been dying to try was the Ropa Vieja or Shredded Beef, I am ssssso glad I finaly tried this dish!!! It was so incredible. This Cuban style beef stew made with pulled flank steak full of heart piercing flavors will make your mouth dance for joy!!! It is served with white rice, black beans and tostones or fried smashed plantains (Cuban side dish staples!!) These flavor profiles combined in one dish are just heaven on a plate......trust me, you will thank me after ordering this dish!!!
One last mouth watering delight.......totally not in my agenda, but suddenly it was there right in front of me, so appetizing and inviting, the Chuleta de Puerco or Pork Chop, they have taken the traditional household Cuban dish and re-wrote it into a contemporary culinary sensation. It is served with an amazing authentic sauce that will blow your socks off, and without a doubt its a complete pallet success. It is cooked to perfection, crisp on the outside and juicy adn tender on the inside. The only down side to this dish is that you have to be lucky enough to catch it on the day its featured......I surely picked the perfect day to be there, yey for me!!
CHULETA DE PUERCO
I know I'm going on and on about all the wonderful carnivore main dishes, but if vegetarian is what you do.....not a problem, they got you covered; you too can have a great taste of Cuba as well....order the Playa Verde or Green Beach, a dish filled with awesome Bollos or golden corn and black bean fritters which are suitable for veggie lovers and carnivores alike, the dish comes with boniato hash, aguacate or avocado, mixed greens and rice and beans.... but, if you are feeling a little more on the simple and to the point mood, order the rice and beans with maduros or fried sweet plantains and smother it with that magical garlic sauce only THEY make THAT good and you will be utterly satisfied!!
ARROZ CON FRIJOLES
They have a colorful menu filled with a variety of authentic Cuban Cuisine that serves delicasies of grains , salads, pork, beef, and seafood. You will definitely not go wrong ordering anything on the menu. I would sugges that you start off your meal with their delicious white (or red) sangria, with an order of croquetas and an enpanada to set the tone for the rest of your dining experience.
Cafecito is a great place to just stop by and grab a quick Cafe Con Leche or a Cuban style latte, the warm staff will welcome you and make you feel like you're one of the family!
The restaurant "provides a warm atmosphere, that recalls old Havana and the lifestyles of the Caribbean".
So if you're hungry or just want a get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life, stop by this little peace of heaven in the lower east side!!!
185 Avenue C
New York, NY