Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cuba Libre Restaurant: Orlando

In my recent travels for work I was lucky enough to hit a couple of great restaurant in my whirlwind trip to three cities in two and half weeks. While in Orlando my co-worker and I happened to come across a restaurant called Cuba Libre. The restaurant is tucked into one of the corners of Point Orlando, where at least 15 other restaurants are competing for diners.  I checked out the menu before walking in and a greeter was able to confidently alert me that all the servers are well educated on what’s gluten free and what’s not.

Convinced by the doorman we strolled in and were seated at a table upstairs. We started with an order of the Guacamole Cubano, avocados mixed with pineapple, lime juice and olive oil served with crispy plantain chips. I was hesitant about the mixture of avocado and pineapple since I’m not a fan of mixing fruit with anything other than fruit but it was absolutely delicious. The crispy plantain chips were tasty and a perfect combination with the guacamole.

Cuba Libre is also a rum bar so of course I had to order a mojito. I ordered the Passion Fruit Mojito and I immediately turned into a rendition of the dinner scene from “What About Bob?” It was by far the best mixed drink I’ve had. I couldn’t stop raving about it – I’m sure my colleague was starting to say “ok I get it…”

For dinner I ordered the Ropa Vieja (there were so many other good looking choices!). This stew-like dish is made up of shredded beef brisket, tomatoes, maduros, bell peppers, onions, red wine and served with rice.  It was the perfect comfort food after a long day of working. The sauce was rich and nicely spiced. The beef was tender and brought depth to the dish. It was a huge plate of food and I enjoyed every bite of it.

Traveling is always hectic to try and find places that are safe for me to eat and this one made it easy and wonderful for me. I would definitely go back.