By: Laurie Wallin
Capital Cooking Contributor
In a city where restaurants close – and open – on a regular basis, longevity in DC is something to be celebrated. Cuba Libre did just that on Thursday, October 29, celebrating 5 years in DC with a terrific party that featured cocktails, passed appetizers and desserts by Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot, door prizes and live music by the Joe Falero and his Cuba Trio Ensemble.
I really enjoyed the Mango Papaya Caipiroska, a drink made with vodka, mango, papaya, lime, and sugar, as well as the Pyrat XO Mojito that was featured, made with Pyrat XO Rum, guarapo, lime, spearmint, and club soda. One of my favorite passed appetizers of the night was the pumpkin soup shooter; a little sweet, a little spicy – Cuba Libre put the perfect Cuban touch on a fall classic.
The Cuban Sandwich Spring Rolls were quite a tasty surprise, with their sour orange marinated pork loin, Genoa Salami, ham, provolone and Swiss cheese. In addition, I really enjoyed the Orange Porchetta – fennel and orange flavored pork belly wrapped around a center cut pork loin and chimichurri sauce. The pork was some of the most tender I’ve had in a while.
Without a doubt, my favorite – and in my opinion, the most beautiful – dish was the Paella Marinera, made with langostinos, lobster, shrimp, monkfish, clams, squid and saffron bomba rice. Beautifully seasoned and presented!
A party’s not a party without dessert, and there were plenty for guests to choose from. My favorites were the Arrez Con Leche (a classic Cuban rice pudding with whipped cream and candied macademia crunch) and the Cucuruchos with cheesecake mousse, guava compote sauce and in chocolate cornets.
Joe Falero and his Cuba Trio Ensemble kept the party going all evening.