Cuban

Guacamole – Roasted corn relish, naan chips

Dine in Plancha today through Saturday, July 14 and enjoy a complimentary guacamole appetizer & mojito (can be made virgin as well) with a purchase of an entrée in honor of National Mojito Day!  What an awesome deal!  The food and drinks there are really good!

Plancha is a Cuban-American restaurant located in the stylish Tranquil Golf Clubhouse at Four Seasons Orlando, just a few minutes away from Disney Springs.  They are open daily from 11am-6pm.

Loco Coconut Mojito – Rumhaven, Brugal 1988, lime, mint

Plancha Mojito – Barcardi, Prosecco, lime, mint

Virgin Orange Blossom Mojito

Churrasco – Skirt steak, chimichurri, mixed greens, yucca fries

Tuna Tartare – Avocado, ginger coconut vinaigrette, tostones, jalapeño, micro greens

Plancha Burger – Chorizo & beef patty, maduros, white cheddar, tomato, lettuce, cumin aioli 

Espresso

Traditional Flan – Caña sugar caramel, strawberry, kiwi, blueberries, and mini chocolate disk

Be sure to stop by Plancha soon for FREE guacamole & mojito before the deal ends this Saturday, July 14!

Plancha Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 313-7777
fourseasons.com/content/dam/fourseasons/images/web/ORL/PDF/ORL-Plancha-Lunch-Menu.pdf

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Just north of the SR 408 on busy Semoran Blvd is an often overlooked restaurant called Cafe Caobana that specializes in Cuban dishes.

At the entrance is a small bakery area decked out with trays of cheesy quesitos, guava pastries, and other beloved Cuban pastries.

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Just a little further to the back is a rather unexpectedly large dining area.

You can order all the Cuban favorites from vaca frita to ropa vieja and carne guisado or arroz con pollo, and of course, a whole list of Cuban sandwiches. There’s a breakfast menu as well for the early risers.

Service is a bit brusque, on our visit there seemed to be only one server (who might also be one of the owners).

I am not the biggest fan of Cuban sandwiches – I find them to be a bit dry sometimes and a bit plain with just ham and cheese, and pickles. But I do love the tripleta sandwiches, which is often full of three types of meat such as pork, beef, and chicken.

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Inside the dining room at Cafe Caobana.

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The Cuban Sandwich at Cafe Caobana
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Coconut cup pastries SONY DSC

Guava pastries

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Tiramisu

Cafe Caobana
73 S Semoran Blvd, Orlando, FL 32807
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-Caobana/613370485357476?__fns&hash=Ac3TCsXg_4agkTMg
Open from Monday to Thursday until 8.30 pm and Friday and Saturday until 10.30 pm

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Located off of Semoran Boulevard, this little neighborhood Cuban cafe is a bit hidden and definitely a hole-in-the-wall, though one with a lot of sabor. Some people have problems with hole in the wall places, often with unwarranted fears of the unknown. But it’s often these very small places, still untouched and unique in their own ways, that often serve the best food. Because their food is made with heart and you can tell.

The first things you’ll notice are the trays of quesitos, pastries filled with cream cheese and honey glaze, and pasteles de queso and guava (cheese and guava pastries). These pastries are all quite delectable and delightful, baked fresh on the premises each day. They are crunchy, flaky, and perfect.

yaya cuban cafe bakery

Assortment of pastries: quesitos, pasteles de guava, queso

Breakfast at Yaya’s includes 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, or ham on Cuban toast, and a small cafe con leche to jump-start your day.

The menu includes the customary array of Cuban sandwiches filled with ham, roast pork, mojo chicken, and more.

With any respectable Cuban establishment are the customary frijoles negros (black bean soup over rice) and Cuban sandwiches, pressed and filled with roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, mayo, and pickles. The beef frita (vaca frita) is my favorite entree here, an ample portion of stewed beef seared to a crispy outer finish with onions and spices.

yaya cuban cafe bakery

The proprietor of YaYa’s, Sr. Ruben, has a rather interesting presence on Youtube, teaching all the basics of Cuban cuisine to all who would hear. Like how to make a nice cup of Cuban coffee or a medianoche sandwich.

yaya cuban cafe bakery

Roast Pork with yellow rice

yaya cuban cafe bakery ropa vieja

Ropa Vieja – Beef Stew

yaya cuban cafe bakery vaca frita

Vaca Frita – literally fried beef…my favorite platter at YaYa’s

 

They recently opened a revamped, new shop for YaYa’s on Curry Ford Road, so make sure to check that one out as well!

YaYa's Cuban Café & Bakery on Urbanspoon

la empanada food truck orlando

La Empanada is a lovely food truck brought to you in partnership with the good people of Black Bean Deli, the famous Cuban sandwich shop on US 17/92 in Winter Park and winner of numerous “Best Cuban” awards from around Orlando (I think they are thinking Cuban sandwich not Cuban cuisine? =) ).

The truck was actually originally owned by the parents of Andres Corton, head chef of Black Bean Deli. According to their kickstarter.com site, Mami and Papi Corton sold Cuban Sandwiches across East Orlando in this very truck (pre-renovation and upgrades) for over 20 years. Andres, along with friends Gabrielle Arnold and Janelle Luce, used their kickstarter page to help get some seed money to fix up the truck and accomplished their goals, opening their shiny new truck doors in late 2011.

la empanada food truck orlando

The empanada is a staple of Cuban as well as most Latin American cuisine, very popular as a snack and appetizer / street food and often referred to as “envelope food” where different ingredients such as ham, cheese, olives, eggs, you name it, are all stuffed inside the pastry dough inside. They are then baked or fried for enjoyment.

Some of the best empanadas in Orlando can be found at La Empanada, not too greasy or overly fried, these delicious pockets of joy are a delight. On a recent trip to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, I found them just off of New England Avenue a block or so away from the market on a beautiful central Florida Saturday morning.

The truck itself is very sleek and clean with a very hip, retro look. The empanadas sit inside a glass case by the main window of the truck, where usually there is a variety of 6 choices daily (changes seasonally) of savory and sweet for empanadas ($3) and also a side like soup or salad.

I had the picadillo empanada, a Cuban classic, stuffed with tasty ground beef, bits of carrots, potatos, green olives, and golden raisins. I also ordered the lentil sloppy joe made with spicy tomatoes, green bell peppers and onions. I enjoyed these empanadas much more than others I have had around town, which often were too greasy or fried or the ingredients weren’t all that great. Baked and filled with great, tasty ingredients, these empanadas at La Empanada were very good, especially with some rooster sauce!

I washed it all down with a can of Parrot brand Young Coconut Juice with pulp, refreshing and lovely.

Besame, La Empanada , besame mucho….como si fuera esta noche la ultima vez.



Follow them on twitter to find their latest locations at @laempanadatruck or follow them on facebook.

la empanada food truck orlando

la empanada food truck orlando

La Empanada Food Truck on Urbanspoon

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The quirky, teeny tiny Black Bean Deli is a staple of the Winter Park area, sitting in a small strip mall in an even smaller shack just north of Fairbanks Avenue on Orlando Ave (US 17/92). They have won numerous accolades throughout the years from Best Cuban in the Orlando Weekly to Best Takeout in the Orlando Sentinel Foodies just this past year.

The place, as said earlier, is tiny. You would probably be best advised to try to get their goods for take out as they have very few seatings by the window / along the walls. Their menu is similarly tiny, though I think it suits them  as this allows for greater focus to do a few things exceptionally well rather than go crazy on a whole crazy list of dishes.

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Black Bean Deli is renown for their cuban sandwiches, and rightly so. I ordered  a small cuban ($5) and it was delicioso: plentiful, juicy slices of sweet ham, roast pork, swiss cheese and pickles all pressed in between a wonderful cuban bread. The bread is what makes these sandwiches stand out I believe as they are fresh, soft, and you can tell they were made with careful attention. Excellente. I could only eat half of it cause it was such a large sandwich. No problems because I saved the rest for lunch the next day.

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The small Cuban Sandwich at Black Bean Deli

My partner ordered the pan con lechon ($5), a sandwich chockful of pulled roast pork with garlic mojo. It was good but maybe needed a little seasoning and a little lighter touch of the garlic mojo.

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Pan con lechon – literally bread with roast pork

The beef empanadas ($1.75) were  tasty meat pies filled with bits of seasoned ground beef, kind of like a latino hot pocket with ground beef instead of cheese and pepperoni. We also had the tres leches, ($2.25) a small wonderful pound cake topped with three types of milk ( condensed milk, whipped cream, and milk).

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Beef empanada

Next time I will try their medianoche sandwich too…

ps…I have also heard rumors also that Black Bean Deli may try their hand at the food truck phenomenon as well, so we shall see if these rumors prove to be true in the coming days!

Black Bean Deli on Urbanspoon

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Padrino’s Cuban Bistro – Cuban – Orlando

We are lucky in Central Florida to live in an area relatively rich in Latin American culinary offerings. Puerto rican lechoneras, Colombian, Peruvian chicken joints, Cuban establishments and more abound in the Orlando landscape. They are mostly mom and pop type operations with small store fronts and the customary hole in the wall type atmosphere. Padrino’s, a small family owned restaurant with three branches in Florida, is one of the few exceptions to this rule.

Just north of Kissimmee on John Young Parkway, south of the SR 417, Padrino’s sits in a relatively new plaza offering its delightful, beautifully crafted Cuban dishes both traditional and with a twist.

I would dare to say that Padrino’s is the best Cuban restaurant in Orlando with the food that my partner and I enjoyed on this one late afternoon.

The decor is definitely classy, dark browns, paintings of various scenes from Cuba, a set area for Cuban musicians and performers, and a bar.

Beginning our meal we are given a plate of fried banana slivers with garlic and oil. The dish is beautifully presented, like delicate, edible fingers outstretching from the basket.

Similarly, our first order of empanadas come beautifully arranged with a unique, sweet, quava based salsa in the middle of the plate. The ground beef filled appetizers tasted as great as they looked.

For our main entrees, my partner orders the lush ropa vieja, made with shredded flank steak slow cooked with green peppers and onions in a tomato sauce and served with white rice, black beans, and sweet plantains. She loved it.

My order of lechon asado, slow roasted moist and tender pork, marinated with citrus mojo and topped with sautéed onions, was a bit dry for my likings on this occasion. On a return trip I tried the vaca frita, marinated shredded flank steak grilled to a crisp and topped with sauteed onions, and was much more delighted with the taste.

Overall the experience was enjoyable and memorable for the great tastes and presentation as well as overall good service. I would definitely come back again.

Tasty Chomps rating!
4.5 out of 5 Tasty Chomps!!!!

Padrino's Cuban Bistro on Urbanspoon

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