Why is there no good Cuban food in DC??

Answer me this! I love Cuban food- Growing up, I had family that lived in Miami and one of my favorite parts of my visit was tasting authentic Cuban food. I also have a good friend whose dad makes the most delicious Cuban food ever when I come over for dinner. We both have lamented – and I’ve discussed this with others- how there just aren’t restaurants in the DC area that have authentic Cuban food.

Now, there is a lot of Cuban fusion in DC that is pretty delicious. I have heard awesome things about Cuba Libre, and the restaurant does feature some traditional dishes, but most of its cuisine is “Nuevo Cubano” with Spanish, Latin American, African, and Asian influences. Banana Cafe is another great find on the Hill/Eastern Market area of DC, but again has Mexican, Puerto Rican influences as well as Cuban. But it’s just not the same as plain and simple Cuban food (trust me there IS a difference). And of the pure Cuban restaurants that operate in DC, unfortunately none of them compare to the ones in Florida or even in the New Jersey/New York area.

So experienced and renowned Cuban chefs located in other cities, I ask you to move to DC and show off your culinary prowess here! I need you — we all need you. For your  delicious Vaca Frita, shredded beef marinated in lime, garlic and salt, then seared until crispy:

Vaca Frita Flickr Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaszeta

Your plantains (both sweet and fried):

Maduros (Sweet Plantains) Flickr Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegirlsny

Fried Plantains - Flickr Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marineperez

And of course, my personal favorite- your ropa vieja, (braised shredded beef- often flank stank- stewed in a tomato sauce with pepper, onion, cumin, cilantro, etc.- to die for).

Ropa Vieja Flickr Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegirlsny

If any of you know any authentic Cuban hot spots that I’ve overlooked that actually are of merit- please let me know! Until then, I am going to keep on wishing and waiting.

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