Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Hour at Cuba Libre

For the most part, enjoying happy hours are a thing of the past for me.  "Happy hour" now consists of homework, cooking dinner and packing lunches.  But every once in a while we catch a break and are able to get out to a happy hour after work.  Last week was that rare occasion and we went to try the happy hour menu at Cuba Libre in Penn Quarter.

Generally, I try to avoid chain restaurants - they remind me too much of my days waitressing and the food is sort of 'processed.'  But I put my preconceptions aside in the name of finding a good happy hour deal.  

Cuba Libre is laid out in an 'open floor plan' kind of way with a bunch of tables in the front and a bar towards the back with a few high top tables.  The decor is mainly dark wood, with high ceilings and Spanish colonial accent pieces - sort of makes you feel like you are in a bar in Cuba minus the cigars.  

For happy hour (available Sunday-Friday 4:30-6:30), Cuba Libre offers $4 and $5 cocktail and appetizer options.  I ordered the Classic Caipirinha which is mixture of Cachaça, guarapo, fresh lime juice, sugar, and muddled limes.  It is sort of like a mojito, but with a different rum flavor to it.

3 of these little numbers and I'll be doing the Salsa!

What is UP!  This drink was strong, you could definitely taste the rum.  But it was really good - light and refreshing and not too sweet.  I was a big fan.  And it was only $5, a great deal for drink in DC.

Given the amount of alcohol in my drink, I figured I should eat or things could go down hill quickly.  So we opted for the Guacamole Cubano and the Yucca Frita.  The Guacamole Cubano is avocado, golden pineapple, fresh lime juice and extra virgin olive oil served with crispy plantain chips.  I figured it would be the traditional style guacamole.  I was wrong.

This tower of food was destroyed pretty quickly, it was that good
How fun!  I was impressed by the presentation alone, but the guacamole was yum, the pineapple chunks were a fantastic addition and tasted delicious with the plantain chips.

The Yucca Frita consisted of Cassava Cuban fries with cilantro-caper alioli.

So much potential...
So here is the deal with yucca.  It is a starchy, tuberous root that is one of the main sources of food carbohydrates in the tropics.  Turns out, it is rather bland.  The little frita looked crispy and delicious, a light golden brown.  But when you bit into the frita, the yucca was the consistency of paste and tasted like potatoes (sort of).  The alioli tried to counteract the blandness, but there was no fixing the yucca.  Sad.  The presentation was awesome though!

It was great deal for happy hour at Cuba Libre with fantastic drinks and fun snacks. I plan to go back and try their empanadas, they smelled delicious!

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar on Urbanspoon

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