Tell someone you’re headed to Cuba and you’re likely hear two things: how beautiful are the beaches and how terrible the food. Yes, Cuban food can be bland, especially in the massive resorts where buffet-style fare leaves much to be desired. But what kind of dining experience can you find off-resort? That was what I wanted to find out as I headed to the city of Havana.
The taxi pulled toward the curb and shuddered to a stop. It was already filled with people, but we squeezed our way in to join the crowd—four of us in the backseat, three up front. Then we took off, hiccupping down the road at a tortoise pace inside a vehicle with the temperature of a sauna. Beside me, one of the passengers was engaged in a heated debate with the driver, the… Read More
It was the scent that first caught my attention. The sweet smell of frying batter floated through the air, catching my nose and transporting me on a cloud of memories to funnel cakes and BeaverTails at amusement parks and carnivals back home. My interest—and nostrils—completely captured, I then noticed the line of people that snaked along the cobbled Calle Mercaderes in Old Havana. There were dozens in line—young Cuban children clutching coins… Read More
I met her after a long day in Havana. I was alone in a bar called Dos Hermanos, in a quiet part of La Habana Vieja. It’s the other Hemingway bar. Everyone goes to La Bodeguita del Medio, where the mojito is rumoured to have originated, but I wanted something more authentic, more removed from the touristy crowds of Calle Obispo. Havana always feels “on”. When the traffic moves and the people… Read More
I recently spent some time in Havana, and immediately fell in love with the city’s energy and rhythm, the way the city pulses at night with music and life, and the way it attacks your senses by day. It is loud and lively and wonderful, and broken and sad and exhausting. It is everything rolled into one, and it gets under your skin. But while La Habana Vieja charmed me, and the… Read More
“Dos mojitos, por favor.” The bartender shook his head sadly. “No mint,” he said. I turned to my friend Erika in horror. Here we were in Cuba, home of the famed cocktail of rum, sugar, lime, soda and mint, and I was being denied. We had just arrived at our hotel in Veradero, and I wanted to christen the start of our vacation with the country’s national drink. Heck, I had been… Read More