Padrino’s Cuban Bistro – All you can Eat Cuban Pig Roast!
Don Mario Padrino at the helm!
Note: I wrote once on Padrino’s Cuban Bistro before, check it out here.
On the second Saturday of every month, Padrino’s Cuban Bistro in South Orlando ( right off of SR -417 and John Young Parkway in the plaza with Mikado in Hunter’s Creek) hosts a all you can eat cuban pig roast for lunch. I had the opportunity to interview the owners of Padrino’s and also sample some awesome roast pig or “lechon”.
Don Mario and his wife just drove up from South Florida, where the original Padrinos restaurant is based, to oversee the Cuban Pig Roast event and carve up the lechon roast pig. I met with Don Mario Padrino, a tall man with a kind smile and a booming voice, and spoke with him about the history of his family’s restaurant.
The restaurant started in South Florida in the late 1970s where the recently immigrated Padrino family set up a small shop after escaping the rise of Castro in Cuba. The restaurant started out with Momma Padrino’s authentic Cuban dishes. “The concept was Momma’s homestyle Cuban recipes and cooking with a modern and appealing presentation” recalled Mario.
Soon enough, the traditions passed onto their son Mario, who took over the restaurant and has been running it ever since.
On this Saturday afternoon, the all you can eat menu consisted of yucca, white rice, black beans, a rice and beans mix, oven roasted pork, pork rinds aka chicharrones, and the pig roast from La Caja China.
La Caja China is literally the “Chinese box”, whose origins are still a mystery to most Cubans today. Origin stories range from soldiers bringing the box home from the Vietnam War to the large Chinese immigrant community that thrived in Cuba during the late 1800s. Don Mario said that “we used to make our pig roasts the traditional way with cinder blocks, but with la caja china, the coals are placed on top so its much easier to roast.” The pig is injected with a mojo marinade the night before and the roast began at 5:30am.
The pork from the rib area is the juiciest and most succulent part, but also one of the fattiest parts.
Sigh, it is true that the best things in life are often bad for you…
The Next Cuban Pig Roast is:
Saturday October 9, 2010
12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
All you can eat carving station which includes white rice, moros, black beans, sweet plantains, yucca and one drink (soda or beer).
$14.99 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Chicarrones – pork rinds!
Disclosure: I was invited by Padrino’s to this event and although this meal was provided complimentary, I do my best to try to remain as unbiased as possible in my observations.