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Friday, March 15, 2013

Food Friday Louisville Edition: Havana Rumba

Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky
The good thing about living in a city like Nashville, where most people you meet are from somewhere else, you know just who to go to for recommendations when you travel. A few years ago a group of us trekked up to Louisville for the Forecastle festival and we needed a spot to have lunch. Lucky for us our dear friends Gillian and Taylor spent some time living in Louisville and knew just the spot! Havana Rumba is a really good Cuban restaurant tucked off a main road in an out-of-the-way strip mall. Unassuming on the outside, Havana Rumba is spacious and well decorated on the inside, with friendly staff and tasty grub.
Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky
Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky
We went to Havana Rumba after a long night of celebrating Lauren's birthday. We were all looking pretty weary and the hotel coffee just didn't cut it that morning (it kind of tasted like tree bark). Lucky for us Havana Rumba's house coffee was delicious. It was fairly strong and had a great flavor, enough for me to drink it black.
Epanadas at Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky
Steve and I were super hungry so we ordered some empanadas to hold us over until our main dish arrived. These were chicken empandas with a roasted red pepper sour cream sauce for dipping. I'm a sucker for empanadas and  I think they are one of the world's most perfect portable foods. They were lightly fried and crisp. Tasty and NOT dripping with oil. I mean, look how perfect and pretty they are!
Masas De Puerco at Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky
Steve and I are pork people. We love some pig and Cubans sure know how to cook a pig. Steve went with the Masas de Puerco which is basically fried pork chunks. The pork chunks are covered with grilled onions. Steve though that the pork itself was a little bland, but tasted much better when eaten with the onions. Unfortunately, there weren't enough onions for Steve's liking on the plate. The side dishes were traditional congris (rice and beans) and fried plantains. The plantains were really good! But honestly, I don't think I've had a plantain that I didn't like.
Lechon Asado at Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky
I ordered the Lechon Asado which came highly recommended by Gillian. Lechon Asado is a pulled pork dish where the pork has been marinated in citrus and spices. This dish was a winner. The pork was tender and had just the right amount of fat. The pickled onion on top was a nice contrast. Have I mentioned before how much I love pickled things and vinegar in general? The Lechon came with congris and yucca. I wasn't always the biggest fan of yucca. I usually found it dry and stringy. But I really enjoyed Havana Rumba's take on it. They cooked it long enough that it wasn't tough and stringy, plus the added spices on top gave it much needed flavor. This was a very large portion of food for me. We wound up taking half of it home to Nashville and our car smelled like pork for days.Havana Rumba Cuban restaurant in Louisville Kentucky

Nashville only has one Cuban restaurant and it's fairly small with a limited menu. I've been craving Cuban for a while and getting to have lunch at Havana Rumba was such a treat! Now how can we get them to open one in Nashville?



Havana Rumba on Urbanspoon

12 comments:

  1. I should not have read this while hungry...those empenadas look so damn tasty!

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    1. Do you know any place around here that makes kick-ass empanadas?

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  2. All of those dishes look amazing! I love the pickled onions. Yummerz. Also, the empanadas look on point for sure. I like them a little more toasted myself but those will do.
    I'm from South America and we eat a lot of Yucca, we call mandioca, so I have tons of tasty dishes with it. If you've had it dry and stringy they haven't been cooking it correctly at all!
    It should be super soft and creamy. You're making me crave some. Have you ever tried them fried? OH man! Heaven in my mouth!

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    1. I love fried Yuca! That was the only way I was able to eat it because I always found it super stringy. I spent some time in Costa Rica and my homestay family always served it undercooked i guess!

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  3. Amen for people who appreciate some good pork! I would love to hear more about your favorite places to eat in Nashville; I've only been in the area less than a year.

    One of the tastiest pork dishes I ever ate was crispy suckling pig, the specialty at the oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botin in Madrid. I admittedly had assumed a suckling pig was like a yearling, and it wasn't until after the meal that I saw the little guys in the kitchen downstairs. EEP! But it was one of the best meals of my life, and I felt very Anthony Bourdain about it all.

    http://adventuresinaubreyland.blogspot.com

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    1. I love crispy pig! Part of my family is Puerto Rican and they always have a full roasted pig at important events. I love the crispy skin and the fat layer. UNG. My favorite place is "Pie de Cuchon" or Pig Feet in Paris. They served fried pig's feet. So good!

      If you look at my blog under "food" I have all of my reviews. I'm happy to offer suggestions!

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    2. I love your food posts. :) They definitely help me when I'm navigating the Nashville food scene.

      One thing I haven't really found is a fantastic Italian restaurant. I keep finding places that are good, but not great.

      Keep on bloggin' on!

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  4. I have never in my whole life eaten Cuban food or even heard of of a cuban restaurant

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    1. Really? I guess there aren't that many Cuban's in Australia!

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  5. I've never had Cuban food before, but it sure sounds good!

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    Replies
    1. There is one place in Nashville, and it's pretty good. There needs to be more options down south

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