Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cubano at Cafecito

Happy together.

Cafecito is the place to be.

Rachel and I dug into the menu like the voracious food lovers we are. Plenty of lip-smacking sandwich options available, though we settled on the lunch specials. For just $9, you get a thick 8-inch slab of meat with rice, beans and plantains on the side. What better way to go?

Warm lighting.

Mini disco lights draped delicately from the ceiling like long, dangling earrings. The brick wall insets added a homey vibe to the Cuban restaurant/bar. A collection of plush cushions scattered on the front benches enhanced the lived-in feel.

One thing we noticed right away was how clean the bathroom was. Spotless! Seriously much better than what the plain, nondescript yellow awning suggests.

Biztec con arroz, frijoles y tostones.

Rachel ordered the seasoned steak.

Look, Mommy - I made a heart!

I got the Pollo Cafecito, or house chicken. And boy was it mammoth. See that picture? The entire chicken was nearly twice that size. Needless to say, I brought leftovers to work the next day. As for the flavor, I'm not sure how Cubans do it, but the tender chicken had a most satisfying blend of spices - black pepper, garlic, oregano, cumin and who knows what other "secret" ingredients.

You can't see it here, but we also ordered a half-carafe of sangria. It was Rachel's first time, and though she found the drink "ok," she heartily ate the chopped apples. Sangria is also a refreshing summer drink. I like making it from scratch, soaking the fruits in the wine concoction for hours. You can use just about any type of fruit - apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, cherries, etc. (Just pick one or two, not all of them!) Then, pop it in the refrigerator to chill.

Vamping up the freak.

Couldn't resist snapping up a few Vampire Freaks.

Rating: 4.5 stars. I...LOVE...rice and beans. Our waitress was pleasant and didn't rush us in the least. An energizing music selection featured everything from classic jazz to reggae and all the shake-your-moneymaker salsa and rumba in between. I'd go again with a bigger crowd to sample the sandwiches and half-priced Happy Hour drinks. Or maybe a pitcher of that sangria.

185 Avenue C
(between 11th St & 12th St)
New York, NY 10009

Bryant Park

Trees lean close to whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

All the people.

Snooze Fest.

Fountain of youth?

Purple-necked pigeon.

Photo montage taken June 2. Bryant Park, New York, NY.

Arriba! Arriba! Una dia en la Loisada

Outside East Side Community High School.

Walking east down 14th Street towards the Lower East Side, I had a peculiar feeling that I was crossing boundaries from the hipster, ultra-urban Union Square to another territory altogether. On the basketball court outside East Community High School, I heard the shuffle of sneakers, the thump thump thwack of elastic basketballs skimming the rim.

75 degrees. Mostly sunny, with a slight breeze.

An Asian mom and her toddler son watched enthralled behind the black fence as squeals and screams of glee filled the playground in front of them. These noises came from 20 or so students, lined up back-to-back in a row on a yellow mat with their legs spread wide forming tunnels. Their pants were rolled up, shirts drenched from water.

All of a sudden a human canonball burst threw the line, splashing bucketfulls of water in his wake.

It's slip-n-slide time, baby.

They looked like they were having so much fun...oh, to be young again.

"Slum of Providence."

Go watch City of God. It's only my favorite movie.

"Be cool stay in school."

Kool Bloo Express Eats is doing you a solid. Rachel thinks so, too.

Boombox biker.

I love this shot. An older Latino gentleman (or Abuelito, as I nicknamed him) rides leisurely through Avenue C, a veritable fiesta of Spanish tunes flooding through his boombox speakers. Something tells me he's got the longevity thing down pat. Check out those orange rims!


More orange, in the form of a mango ice. Waiting for my lunch date to arrive, I sat down on a green bench next to Ctown (the supermarket, not Chinatown). A little old man with some of his teeth missing gave me a gum-filled smile as he peddled around his ice cart.

"El coco, la cereza, el mango!" he hawked.

Since it was getting rather warm, I thought I'd give one a try. Mango's my favorite, of course. I asked him how much.

-Pardon, señor. ¿Cuánto cuesta?

-Un dolar, one dollar.

-Mango, por favor.

-Ah, un mango por una chica linda! (One mango for a pretty girl.)

A lovely ice from a lovely man. And for just one buck, a good way to keep your cool!