Growing up in Miami has made my love for Cuban food strong, a love that I will often blindly defend. If you grew up here in Southern California on salsas and chiles and corn masa and mole, with as many regional variations as there are taco trucks in Boyle Heights, than Cuban food might seem boring to you. But to me oxtails with rice and beans and maduros is as comforting as my Grandma’s matzoh bowl soup. Pollo Tropical? My own personal Del Taco.
When I worked in Midtown Manhattan the Dominicans had me covered. There may have been rice and peas instead of morros, and they put salami in their “cubano”, but there was grilled onions on top of grilled meats, and the fried plantains were plenty fried and plenty sweet. And that was good enough for me. Here in L.A., though, Cuban food is like tacos in NYC. Even the half way decent stuff gets put up on a pedestal by the locals. I guess what I’m saying is, I like Versailles’ garlic chicken just as much as the next guy but there’s something about that place that has never made me feel 100% right. Like an Angeleno eating a taco in Hell’s Kitchen.
So imagine how excited I was when I read about La Caridad on L.A. Magazine’s food blog. Oxtails? Pork shank? Morros? I’m in.