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: mayonnaise (w/ photo) & buffalo chicken salad

Ahh, it’s good to be back (blogging that is). I apologize for my absence and I’ll try harder to post more. So tonight I decided to prepare lunch for tomorrow. Since I made some chicken caesar wraps for dinner, I had leftover poached chicken breasts. Ultimately, I decided buffalo chicken salad would be perfect.

I started out making some mayonnaise. It’s the same recipe I used last time. It’s nice and simple. Definitely try making this on your own before reaching out for that container of Hellman’s. Trust me…it’s so much better tasting…and “kinda” fun. Here’s a link to Aida Mollenkamp’s mayo recipe, which is very helpful in giving you a starting point. The neat thing about making mayo is that you can really add whatever flavors you want to it. Ex. Sesame oil instead of veg/canola to give it a nutty flavor, roasted garlic, wasabi, and the list goes on. I have yet to try anything that interesting, but I definitely see myself giving a new flavor a shot in the future.

After the mayo was set, I created the buffalo chicken salad kinda off the top of my head…the estimated recipe is as follows.

Just wanted to say that I eyeballed pretty much everything in the following recipe. Don’t take the measurements to heart and use your best judgement…I’m sure you guys will do fine.

Buffalo Chicken Salad (yields about 4-5 cups…I think…haha)

-about 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (poached, diced into cubes/shredded, etc.)
-1/2 – 1 cup mayo
-1/4 cup or less of ranch dressing
-1 celery rib (chopped)
-1/4 cup gorgonzola cubes
-hot sauce (to taste, I used Frank’s Red Hot)
-kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Start by placing the chicken cubes/shreds in a fairly large mixing bowl. Next, toss the mayo in and work the chicken/mayo mixture around so the mayo gets incorporated well as the chicken breaks apart from it’s cube form (if you want to get rid of the cubes). Proceed by adding the ranch dressing followed by the chopped celery and gorgonzola. Once well mixed, add enough hot sauce to turn the salad a light tinge of orange/red. Obviously, based on your preferences, you may opt to add a lot, or maybe just a couple drops. I definitely used close to maybe an 1/8 of a cup? Lastly, toss in a small pinch of kosher salt and grind some black pepper. Stir till well mixed. Give it a final taste test, and adjust seasonings as required. Serve on toasted bread, crackers, or just eat it on it’s own!

It tasted good, but I’m sure I could do better. I’m pretty happy with the turnout. We’ll find out tomorrow how good it really is! I’m going to serve it on toasted whole wheat bread.

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