Monday, July 5, 2010

Paloma Blanca Cuban Family Restaurant in Naples

What a lazy hot summer day! It’s been pouring down rain every afternoon for several weeks in Paradise for an hour or so at least, and some days it’ll pour twice a day for good measure. We’ll get from 1” to 3-4” in a storm. That’ll flood the streets in some areas.  Lawns are filling out brown spots, lakes swell with algae blooms, and all the new born critters are growing up.

I went with a well known Naples gourmet cook to Golden Gate in the rain.
We drove to Paloma Blanca Café at 4881 Golden Gate Parkway, and were welcomed just as the rain let up. A good sign! The restaurant seats perhaps 60 in booths and tables. Photos of cities in Cuba are on the walls. In the back is a display case with about 15+ different desserts, all made on site. Cuban salsa and other music plays in the background. The flat screen TV had a review of Celia Cruz’s life and songs. It doesn’t get more authentic than that! You want tops in live salsa, mambo and passionate dancing- take your dancing shoes to Habana. Dance to the clave beat! For the best in Cuban foods, stay in S. Florida.

We started with two $2.50 milkshakes, a mango and a mamey. The mango was ok, not mango-ey enough for one who tosses mangoes in his Vitamix with whatever is in arms reach. I liked the richness of the mamey, and would get it again.

We ordered two soups, and asked that they come before our main courses, and said we needed to be gone to see the fireworks. They didn’t. The cook waited, and instead sent them out later, when the main courses were served. Not good tonight-we’d be rushed to eat all at once, and they kindly took them back-not a problem.

For mains, I got the $12 Sugerencia de Marlen, a flattened chicken breast topped with diced ham (not apparently bacon) onion and cheese, then grilled to tender perfection.
. I couldn’t finish my portion, it was large and tasty, especially with my sides of yuca hervida (boiled cassava root with mojo sauce), and yuquita frita (fried cassava). Deliciousa!

My gringa gourmet cook had the $10 Vaca frita con cebolla (cooked spiced beef, shredded, fried, and topped with sliced cooked onions) with black beans and rice (Moros y Cristianos).

She liked the rice and beans, and the platanos maduros (fried sweet plantain-banana cousin) She didn’t grow up appreciating Cuban food, and wasn’t impressed. The correctly cooked vaca frita was too dry for her taste. She offered me the rest of her dish. I’ve had Cuban food prepared by home cooks for years, and this is good Cuban food. Cuban food is generally a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, not fancy or gourmet. (You’ll almost never see this much chicken and beef in a regular person’s kitchen in Cuba, unless they are tourists or higher-ups-it’s very expensive.)

It was 8:45 pm and we had no time for desserts, if we were to catch most of the Naples City pier’s fireworks from our viewing point at Naples Beach Hotel. I’d go back to Paloma Blanca just for the tres leches (sponge cake soaked with 3 different milk products), flan (custard with Crème caramel), natillas (custard) and the baked goods. They also do catering , and the prices are great!
481 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, 455-4126

Fireworks photos by point n shoot camera on “auto/moron” setting.


Pastor Decrease Dwayne said...

I just stopped in for lunch and had their lunch special... great price and the cuban sandwhich was delicious... customer service was excellent... worked out great as I was waiting for some repair work on my mom's car and they had free wifi

Jmunoz said...

Great food for sure, is my favorite spot in SW FL to eat Cuban food when Im not in the mood to drive to Miami.