cuba libre – brunch without borders

Cuba Libre in Old City has a new menu for their 10th anniversary which has been inspired by Chef Guillermo Pernot’s recent trip to Cuba. One of the menu changes is their Brunch without Borders. Brunch without Borders is a $25, all-you-can-eat meal featuring several piqueos (small plates). Last Saturday, a friend and I certainly indulged until our stomachs reached their borders!

cafe cuba libre w/ shot of spiced rum

There were so many drinks to start the day off from coffees, tropical cocktails, and juices. I think I chose the best one though. My drink of choice was the Cafe Cuba Libre with an added shot of spiced rum. It’s Cuban coffee with steamed coconut milk and Cuba Libre spiced rum. This stuff was so ridiculously good. Could I have these everyday?

torta de cangrejo benedict

We certainly tried a ton of items, but the ones shown here were definitely our favorites. The Torta de Cangrejo Benedict was an interesting take on eggs benedict. It consisted of a jumbo lump crabmeat & potato cake topped with a poached egg and tomato Hollandaise served over an avocado mash.

cobbano salad

Another piqueo we ordered twice was the Cobbano Salad. Essentially a Cobb salad with Cuban flair, it had pulled pork, plaintains, hearts of palm, grape tomatoes, avocado, bacon, Cabrales cheese, hard boiled egg, scallions, watercress, and baby spinach tossed in a light mustard vinaigrette.

sopa levanta muerto

We may have also ordered the Sopa Levanta Muerto twice as well. Despite being fairly hot on Sunday, this was too good not to order twice. The translation means Raise the Dead Soup, which is named due to it’s consumption by those hungover to “raise spirits and body”…perfect for the Friday nights we both had. This soup had a delicious broth made up of some coconut milk and had crab meat, scallops, shrimp, and mussels.

To end our meal, we ordered the torreja (pictured above). It was a hazelnut and almond encrusted brioche French toast topped with strawberries, Frangelico-Mascarpone cheese, honey, and powdered sugar.

You can also order all these items a la carte should you not want to Brunch without Borders. Here is the rest of the brunch menu.

Cuba Libre
10 S. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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cooking : brioche french toast

I have never made french toast before. If you can believe that…

This past weekend I finally made an attempt and it turned out well! I used a brioche pan loaf from Amy’s Bread in the Chelsea Market.

Brioche French Toast
Serves 4 (about 2 slices each)
Adapted from Martha Stewart

-6 large eggs
-1/2 c light brown sugar
-4 c milk
-1 tsp cinnamon, ground
-1/8 tsp vanilla extract
-pinch nutmeg, ground
-brioche pan loaf, stale and sliced into 1″ thick slices
-stick of butter, at least half a stick (4 tbsp)
-powdered sugar
-maple syrup

Preheat oven to 200° with a baking sheet inside.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, and milk in large bowl. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg.

Heat large pan over medium-high heat and melt butter to coat bottom.

Take a slice of brioche, dip in mixture for 30 seconds, flip. After another 30 seconds, place in pan.

Cook for 4-5 minutes, until bottom becomes golden brown. Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Once both sides are golden brown, place slice on baking sheet in oven to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining slices of brioche. Remember to butter the pan between slices in order to promote browning and add flavor. The times in the pan may vary. Check the color of your brioche occasionally to make sure you don’t burn it.

Serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of warm maple syrup.


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