Cuba Libre: ready your appetite

 Cuba Libre is an experience! The website is eye-catching, the decor rings of Little Havana, and the food holds up its end of the deal as well.

Mistakenly, I thought I had read somewhere that Cuba Libre was extending its Restaurant Week. I mentioned it to the host, and he apologized for the misunderstanding and kindly explained that the Week ended the day before. No problem! The regular lunch menu looked amazing anyway. Well, moments later a suit-clad manager approached our table and proceeded to apologize for the inconvenience as well. Wow, this is something else, I thought to myself. But it didn’t stop there. The manager then asked us to each choose a special drink on the house. WHAT! Now this man knows how to do business. Apologizing with a complimentary drink when he had done nothing wrong. We took a sip of one another’s, and I must say the passion fruit mojito was my personal favorite! With the guacamole appetizer–complete with small pineapple chunks mixed in and fried plaintain strips for dipping–it was a fabulous way to begin.

The empanadas

Now on to the main course. So many options on this menu, and for people on their lunch break with minimal time, Cuba Libre offers a Rapido selection. I haven’t seen too many places with that option. I ended up choosing the empanadas filled with shrimp and a surprising goat cheese mixture. It came with a lovely spinach salad with creamy dressing and a sweet pepper dipping relish. And what presentation! I loved the added touches of bananas leaves

My cafe con leche (front) and a friend's coffee with Mexican dark chocolate.

used almost as placemats for the food. And the decorative fryer cage used for the empanadas–nice touch!

Afterward I enjoyed a delightful cup of cafe con leche. Foamy and creamy, this was the perfect ending to a mouth-pleasing meal. And did I mention the bill came in a cigar box? Next time I want to go on the weekend for Latin dancing!

Now time to walk this off, right? Back on the metro to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument. I had read such positive reviews about the monument, and was excited to finally see it. Nearly one mile from the nearest metro (Smithsonian), the front of the monument looks unassuming at first. Two massive mountain-like stone structures on either side with a piece missing in the middle. As you pass through the divide, you notice the missing piece of the puzzle beyond it. On the other side of the 30-some-foot statue is a detailed carving on MLK. So stately and powerful, it took me by surprise. Inspirational quotes line walkways around the memorial area.

I’d say for a 9 dollar metro day pass and a$20 meal (plus tax), today was one of those days I’ll remember.

On the road again,

Ms. Thrifty

This entry was published on January 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm. It’s filed under What to see in D.C. and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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