Friday, July 25, 2008

Cubanos...comfort food for the rest of us

Adolfo Mendez, owner of the locals-only joint known as Cubano's in Silver Spring, is a dear friend of mine. We've been through a lot together.

My wife and I have an annual Cinqo de Mayo party which is catered exclusively by Adolfo and his crew, though they're all Cuban and Venezuelan and have no ties to Mexico. It just seems appropriate considering the fact that he was such an integral part of our lives while we were living in Silver Spring. We were married on 5/5/00 and he was involved in everything (well, not everything) that took place after that. My son loves spending time with Adolfo and often asks me to repeat the tricks that Adolfo performs for him, though sometimes I'm left lacking. Alex's nickname at Cubano's was Beanboy, because he used to just grab hand-fulls of the black beans and smear them into his face.

To get to the point, I had some time after attending a very special event at Jaleo on Monday. The whole crew was there, but I was attending for business purposes, so I wasn't part of the party. I called Adolfo and asked if he was free for dinner as I'd already arranged for Cheryl to pick up Alex and I had a few free hours. He said he'd whip something up for me.

I love it when he says that.
We started out with some glasses of sherry that were sweating profusely. We then stepped into some sausage sliced up and broiled in garlic and some camarones in white wine and garlic. After that, it was onto my favorite dish, Lechon Assada. NO ONE makes it like him. This was his grandmothers recipe and he is stead-fast. We switched to beer during dinner, then followed up with my favorite after-dinner drink, the Cuban Coffee. I'm not sure of the parts or composition, but it is this in my mind: Creamy espresso poured into a cup that already has about 2 packs of Sugar In The Raw in it, then for good measure they add one ounce of Ouzo.
That was served as an accompaniement to my Tres Leches dessert, which has become less sweet, but just as enjoyable, since I last dined with my friend.

For a good meal with no pretense and people who truly want nothing other than for you to return and enjoy their hospitality again, I couldn't recommend this place any higher.

Adolfo, if you're reading this, I love you like a brother.
See you soon.

Next up: revisiting Redwood. These guys are the next big thing in Bethesda. Really.
When I'm back from Mexico I'll spill the beans.

Until then, keep eatin'. I'll keep bloggin.
Passiones de Amores.
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