(food photography is a B-I! See note below)
I was sitting down tearing up some sushi earlier today, when I get a call from mami, congratulating me. Huh? “Que cosa mami?” I’m thinking she’s calling to tell me she read my feature as “Website of the Week” in The Examiner (DC ed.) since it just hit, but, nope.
I totally forgot TODAY, HOY DIA, marks 2 decades (and some extra years) of us ARRIVING in the US! Let’s see, we left communist Cuba, went to Jamaica for 10 ten days while paperwork was settled (my grandaddy is Jamaican) and finally in Meeami! Talk about a trek for an 8.5 month pregnant mom with 2 kids in tow…sis was born just 4 weeks later…I tease her for not being a real Cubana, but she insists she was conceived in Havana, so she’s all good! I’m sooo glad we didn’t stay in Miami and went to DC instead. Can you imagine!?! I’d be a roller set wearing (with a fishnet wrap), flip-flip Cubanita strolling into Sedano’s to do my grocery shopping. LOL!
So today, I’m sharing with you my utter excitement, joy and most of all gratitude for my parents! But not for them, I’d not be sitting here writing and enjoy all the perks of living the “American Dream.” I’d be up in Cuba, in some hip-hop band as the lead singer, or swinging mangoes on the corner, or un-gainfully employed as the cute diplomat translator!!! All, without running water or a gas stove to burn. Oh, and I’d be paying about $2.50 for a can of yucky COKE.
BUT I’m not!
My Cuban behind is right here chillin’, blessed to do ALL the great things life has to offer and without limitation (well I don’t have a lear jet or a big mansion or a 200k car, but who cares!) I eat every.single.day (hard to come by in Cuba, at least 3x the way we do), I take hot showers (not everyday in Cuba), I leave my country and travel to others (you can’t leave the island without permission) and I have all of my family near me (lots of families are separated in Cuba). My parents, too, left their families behind in pursuit of happiness. I think the sadness my grandmother suffered eventually killed her. Not to mention my mom and her sister not sharing the wonderful nuances of being a young wife, mother, etc…They are the most diligent, selfless, determined and generous people/parents I know.
So tho I was born in Havana and raised here, I am a 100% Latina with the best of both worlds! Really and truly. Some of my favorite Cuban things I enjoy stateside:
- Palacio de Frutas (fresh fruit market in Miami-oh em gee!!!! straight goodness)
- cafe Bustelo
- Bacardi Rum (really from Cuba for those of you that didn’t know that), or
- Havana Club rum (the real deal)
- casino dancing (salsa for those of you that know Latin music)
- Cuban sandwich (wait, I don’t eat pork, but I KNOW that sandwich is the best!)
- Cuban cigars
- yucca con mojo (vid is to the right and up!)
- all the fine Cuban male actors in novelas
- anti-Castro story-telling
- speaking Spanglish
- being really animated when we talk (ppl think we’re fighting-lol)
- pan cubano with butter 1st thing in the morning
- our passion for life, happiness and success
- our black beans are the best in the world!
- and so is our flan!
and a few more things I grew up around… so to celebrate, I share with you a real Cuban mojito! Yes, baby! We must shout and scream and be thankful! Here’s to you and yours!
The Chef’s of the World event I did last Monday was a smash success! Although Chef Jeff Henderson of the Food Network didn’t show up (inclement weather in Atl) and I wasn’t able to do the live interview, I still had a blast! My table was off the chain and my 4-course dinner rocked. I will say it’s a challenge getting Southerners to eat “other” food! Anyway, Chef Jeff’s wife was kind enough to hook up a phone interview on Monday!! (she holds the ship down!). So look forward to an audio of our chat next week! Do you have anything you want me to ask him!! Please let me know via comments no later than Sunday 3/15 sometime before midnight, EST.
Oh I met Emmanuel Lewis (Webster, ‘member him!) that night, too. A major foodie–that guys looooves Cuban food! You know what that means!? He’s been added to my client list. We’ve parlayed about me being his personal chef! Will keep you in the loop!
Got an email yesterday from my agent in NY to let me know my book has officially been pitched to 20 major publishers! Oh GOD you are awesome and we pray for an extraordinary response from all of them! Sell, sell, sell!!! I can’t wait to share the title with you guys!! I’ll keep you posted on that, too! In the meantime, I’m making plans to go to Cuba toward the end of the year to finish up the book, you know do some home cooking, taking luscious pictures and sipping on REAL MOJITOS en La Floridita restaurant! Anyone wanna come!
Sidenote: The pictures of the mojito are test shots for the book; just to give you an idea. One was taken while there was still daylight and the other was at night…notice how there is huge shortage of ice in the 1st pic! Oh, the joys of food photography!!!!
I’m working on revamping and redesigning this blog for Spring. Just looking to do some out the box, funky, fly and fresh stuff! Wanna keep it sexy and really focus on kick butt food and orgasmic pictures. I have a few themes in mind and already know of two new elements I’ll be adding. BUT I want your input!! Is there anything you’d like me to cover, feature, discuss more of, etc… I’d love your input! It’s all about keeping you engaged and coming back.. maybe I’ll start throwing candy through the screen or something I will tell you that a lots more to come from the Celeb Chef area… and definitely more cocktail indulgences…imagine that!
Okay amigos! Enjoy the ultra sexy and smooth mojito! Pass along… (ooh that just gave me an idea!)
**WILL YOU TELL A FRIEND ABOUT FLANBOYANT EATS NEXT TIME YOU BLOG!? I WANT TO KNOW YOUR FRIENDS! **
I have a surprise for you if you do!
A REAL CUBAN MOJITO
- 3 oz. rum. Cruzan rum is great
- 3-4 oz. simple syrup*
- 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime, quartered or cubed
- 6 mint leaves
- splash of club soda
- 1 stick of sugar cane
martini shaker, add rum, simple syrup and ice. Muddle mint leaves using mortar and pestle. Add mint leaves. Squeeze lemon into mix. Shake well. Pour into cocktail or tall glass. Top with club soda and garnish with pretty mint leaves and sugar cane. Use lemon and lime cubes to garnish and for added citrus. Serves 1.
For simple syrup:
Equal parts water and sugar. Bring to boil until sugar has dissolved and water is clear. Chill before using.