La Caridad

La Caridad: Americans Welcome

CUBA.

You are in my top five places to travel. I’ve desired you practically since birth but our countries have kept us apart.

Opposing ideology. It is a bitch.

I am going to make it to you one day soon though. Our Landlords are talking out their issues and I will get to bask on your gorgeous shores, wander in your plush green valleys and party like nobody’s business in Havana. One day.

When I think of Cuba so many things come to mind. Mojitos. Che Guevara. Cohibas. The Cuban Revolution. Havana. Roast pork. The Godfather Part II. Cubano sandwiches. 50’s cars. Ropa Vieja.

At least those are some of the things that come to mind when I think of Cuba and now I will introduce you to La Caridad; where I satisfy some of my Cuban urges right here at home.

Located in the area of Los Angeles called Echo Park, La Caridad is  authentic, delicious Cuban fare. Owned by Cubans. Cooked by Cubans. Loved by Cubans. Just ask Dodger’s right fielder, Yasiel Puig, he is a regular.

Simple and Unassuming
Simple and Unassuming

It is a restaurant one probably would drive by and never notice as the outside is unassuming and it is in a small shopping plaza. The inside is just as unassuming, however it does have a very impressive mural of the Cuban countryside.

Charm and personality
Charm and personality

My girl and I went to La Caridad as an alternative to brunch last Sunday; lines can be ridiculous here in LA for traditional brunch spots and I am not locked in on eggs for brunch – just eating within a reasonable time frame. When we entered we were thrilled to discover that they served beer and Piña Coladas.

It’s not Sunday Brunch without alcohol. Not a real one anyway.

This made my girl's day!
This made my girl’s day!

Now Cubano sandwiches are one of my food fetishes and always have been. Don’t judge. Quentin Tarantino has a foot fetish, mine is a pork pressed sandwich.  And apparently it is a preoccupation for Jon Favreau as Cubano sandwiches play a large role in his recent film, “Chef“.  

Like the Beatles say, ‘Let it be’.

Take my home tonight. I don't want to let you go till you see the light.
Take me home tonight. I don’t want to let you go till you see the light.

It’s simple, but the flavors are powerful. There is a lot going on in between those two pieces of crunchy pressed Cuban bread. Lots of amazing things. Hot, moist and rich things.

Succulent Roast Pork. Juicy Ham. Melted Swiss Cheese. Salty Pickles. Spicy Mustard.

Feel the love, kids. Feel it.
Feel the love, kids. Feel it.

Basically there is a whole lot of love, lust and flavorboners happening in between the legs of this Cuban hottie and when she is in front of me I am paralyzed by her hot pressed, crispy, gooey powers.

But I can’t just leave it with a Cuban sandwich. No. This is brunch. It’s Sunday. National Gluttony Day, for f’s sakes.

So I order the ropa vieja as well. Why not? It’s not like you can go to the finest Cuban establishment in town and NOT get an entree too?! That’s just dead wrong on so many levels.

Edible Leggos for adults!
I want to rock with you (All Night). I want dance into day (Sunshine). I want to dance the night away.

First let’s talk about the fun of black beans and rice. It’s like Lego fun, right?! Or am I alone in this? They come sold separately. You put the pieces together and mix them around, making something new and awesome out of the sum of its parts.

There there is garlic yucca. What a tasty little root this is, huh? They boil it and bath the little bastard in minced garlic. Love. Just love.

Then there is the show stopper, the ropa vieja. Flank steak that has been cooking for four hours in a simmering pot of beef broth, tomato sauce, onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro, vinegar and cumin. Then it is taken out and shredded and placed on a plate for your viewing and eating pleasure.

Melt in your mouth godess!
Melt in your mouth Goddess!

Urgh!!!! So good!!!!!

What I love about La Caridad is that I feel like I am in someone’s kitchen and their mom prepared this meal. I feel like I could be in Cuba. They care about representing and preserving their culture and you can feel their integrity in every bite that you take.

La Caridad, when I close my eyes you take me to where I have never been and long to go.

You are my passport to Cuba.