A Friday Roundup

July 28th

Never heard of the Tropical Diet? There is a reason. The Mediterranean diet, yes. Lots of olive oil, good for you fats, etc. The Japanese diet, again, yes. Lots of fish, rice and a little wasabi never hurt anyone. When I heard The Havana Cafe was a good dinner spot, I was excited to try it out. There are three of these Cuban-inspired restaurants in Phoenix. I happily met a friend last night for dinner and we each started with a bowl of soup. I had black bean and he had Chilean cabbage. Both were very good. They are the only dishes I would recommend.
Our tapas were fried black bean fritters, with a mint green avocado dip, and a bowl of super greasy peppers and sausage. I’m not a Pork fan, so I avoided the sausage, but tried everything else. It was all gross. I don’t eat a lot of fried foods, and when I do, I expect them to be overwhelmingly delicious — like a tostada or deep fried ice cream. These tapas were not worth the calories.
Dinner was arroz con pollo. Again, it was okay, but not great. The best part of the dish was the heart of palm garnish. Yum!
In short, if you want great tropical food (i.e., black beans, rice, fried platains, lots of heavy meats) go to Nicaragua. The food is much better and much less inexpensive.
If you are in Phoenix, avoid the Cubano and head over to Rosita’s. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll have saved yourself at least $30.

Several of you have asked where I swim and if I do so outdoors. I swim at two different pools regularly — both definitely outdoors. The only indoor pool I’ve ever taken a liking to is the natatorium at NAU. Otherwise, they are sticky and typically stink of chlorine. I’d prefer the sunshine, thankyouverymuch.
One pool I swim at is near my home in the suburbs, the other is downtown, not to far from my office. I coach an adult masters swim program twice a week at the downtown location. It sits in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Phoenix, literally at the base of Camelback Mountain.

The pool, with Camelback in the background

Mountain. Pool. This is a much more impressive photo first thing in the morning when the sun is coming over the butte.


One of my favorite places to be.

Happy Friday y’all,

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10 Responses

  1. When I lived in LA I used to go to a Cuban place (Versailles) that had the best black beans & garlic chicken! Delish (and cheap too). And pictures of Castro on the wall, which was weird. Sorry to hear about your less than thrilling dining experience.

    Yay for swimming outside! We have no outdoor pool here (!) in Duluth but we have THE BIG LAKE which is, quite frankly way too cold to actually swim in (does give the heart a jumpstart, however) and you have to watch out for rip currents. I prefer pools myself (sacrilege coming from the land of 10,000 lakes) but sadly there is not one to go to here. πŸ™

  2. We just had a heart of palm salad from AJs last week. It was DELICIOUS. I’d never had heart of palm before. πŸ™‚

  3. ummmmmm, tropical food and a pool? i really need a vacation! have a great weeked, kelli!

  4. Oh! I want to jump right in!

  5. Living in Tampa for many years and formerly married to a Cuban, we love Cuban food. We were so excited to find Havana Cafe. Until we ate there. We hated it. So I bought a great Cuban cookbook and we make do until we visit Tampa.

  6. Oh how I wish I was at a pool right now instead of work! Have a great weekend!!!

  7. Cuban food is my favorite! Yum!

  8. That pool looks like heaven & Cuban food is something I recently tried & just love!

  9. I’m not a lover of pool swimming indoors or out, for me it has to be the sea. I just love the sea, it’s vast openess. I went scuba diving in 1993 almost everday for 2 weeks in Barbados. My brother and I made friends with a guy who taught scuba diving there. It was so unreal, unfortunately I haven’t been able to do it since as regulations are so stict with asmatics.

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