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July 2014 – World Passage, Ltd.

From Havana, With Love

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Havana is a warm, beautiful, mysterious, and extraordinary city. It is an eclectic city in all its dimensions.

Often I walk through its streets and neighborhoods conscious of the history hidden in every corner. Meanwhile, my senses enjoy the aroma of the magic mixture of a boiling Ajiaco, our national soup, or of the music that sounds totally happy; disrespectful of any standards and norms.

Many people in many places have written about Havana. Being Cuban, 100 % from this city, I want to share with you my findings, my points of view, and therefore help you to know it better. I will talk to you about what is old, and what is new. I invite you to join with me on a journey from its unique architecture to its most famous meals and beverages. Come with me to see what can be marvelous in this piece of Cuba.

~ From Havana with love, Ana

Havana is on vacation. The streets are bustling with people coming and going and just enjoying the summer.

I decided to visit “El Aljibe” restaurant, in Miramar neighborhood. A very good Cuban cuisine is served here; they keep the famous recipes as “top secret”, which is why they are unique in flavor and authenticity.

Once seated at my table near the big open window I enjoyed my first (of several) mojitos. I’m not naturally nosey, but I couldn´t help noticing the struggling waiter trying to explain to a foreign tourist that, yes, in fact, all that dishes in the menu are based on banana or plantain.

For us, this food not only represents the internationally known sweet banana, but a wide family where the “macho” and “burro” are the most used varieties, at least for cooking. The Cuban cook makes marvelous dishes with all the varieties.

In front of the menu you can find them under the group named as “viandas”, that is formed of breaded vegetables as potato, sweet potato, malanga and of course plantain. Additionally, among the dishes made from the versatile plantain one can be count: mariquitas o chicharritas, tostones o tachinos, fufú, platanos maduros fritos o plátanos en tentación. These are part of the pure traditional Cuban cuisine.