We went to two different restaurants in Holguin, the first was called Aviles which was five blocks from the house and recommended by Mirelis, our casa host. As we walked, the locals kept smiling and pointing at the boys, Ethan in particular. They don’t get to see a lot of white blond “tow heads” in Cuba. Most people seem surprised/curious/impressed by the fact that we have three boys. Ethan was shy about the attention at the start of the trip but is starting to get used to it now and will sometimes interact with his admirers.
I was starting to get concerned that we had missed the restaurant when it appeared in front of us. We were ushered through a set of massive doors, into a large porch and then to an open air courtyard to sit down. The menu was in Spanish but we got it translated. The boys ordered spaghetti and Leah and I ordered the waitress’s favourite chicken and pork dishes.
Mine was called Pork Uruguay which is like chicken cordon bleu with dark pork meat stuffed with cheese and ham, breaded and cooked. Leah got fried chicken covered in sauteed onions with fried plantains, which the boys actually like, especially dipped in ketchup! (Ketchup is not readily available in Cuba.) A typical Cuban salad is sliced cucumber, tomato and shredded white cabbage which you sprinkle with vinegar.
The following day while on the square, we were given a card for a restaurant that is on the roof of a house. Mirelis knew it but was concerned for the kids about the stairway. We didn’t understand what she meant until we got there. The stairs were super steep, continuous with no landing and switched from straight up to curving to a welded step. They had put hand holds all over the place, but it was barely enough. The welded stairs portion in particular was “interesting” with gaps between the steps, a handrail with no stiles and treads that were a little too small. I carried Ethan up and the rest of the family tread cautiously.
Let me say this: It was worth the climb!
The stairs were sketchy but the view was incredible! From the roof we could see all the way to the outskirts of the city including many of the houses which varied from run down piles of brick to well maintained semi-modern structures. We have learned that in Cuba most cities are a mixture of modern and historical buildings in various states of repair, though usually they are in a state of disrepair more than anything.
The chef in the restaurant came out of the kitchen and translated the menu. We ordered our food and enjoyed the view. Leah ordered a pork skewer (think shish-ka-bob) and I ordered a grilled pork with sauce. Both plates came as works of art and the food was amazing. The big boys quickly abandoned their spaghetti and we gave them portions from our plates. They loved it and so did we.
The spaghetti that the boys didn’t eat Leah and I attacked and as it was a Neopolitan spaghetti which is more about vegetables and seasoning than about sauce. Really good too. Ethan ate noodles and some meat. By the time we were done everyone was full and there was a little food left, we headed down the steps and back to the car. The bill for the best food in Cuba so far $24 dollars for the 5 of us.