I was having a few beers at my friend’s local watering hole while up in NYC when one of the pub’s regulars came in and sat down next to me. My buddy introduced me and we starting chatting over a couple of cold ones. Of course and as usual, Cuba came up as a topic.
“Cuba,” the guy said. “I’d like to go there someday.”
“Really,” I asked. “Why is that?”
“I hear the beaches are beautiful,” he said. “And I’d love to try authentic Cuban food.”
I laughed out loud. Authentic Cuban food? In Cuba?
“If you want authentic Cuban food,” I replied. “You need go no further South than Miami.”
Took me a while to explain the whole “libreta” thing and the rationing. And how despite there being no restrictions on the US selling food to Cuba there were still major shortages in Cuba. And how almost every tourism in Cuba website has horror stories on the quality of that “authentic Cuban food.”
“Now, if you like shitty pizza,” I said. “Cuba is the place to be.”
I was reminded of that anecdote while reading a great two part piece on, among other things, Cuban food in Miami posted at Penultimos Dias. Both are in Spanish but well worth the read, if you love your pastelitos and Miami in the old days. Part I is here, Part II here.