advertisement

Cuban coffee

Despite the more than a dozen Starbucks that dot the Miami landscape, locals still rely on the many Cuban cafeterias for their daily caffeine fix. Beware of the many establishments throughout Miami that serve espresso masked as Cuban coffee. For the real deal, go to the most popular -- and most animated -- Cuban cafeterias: La Carreta and Versailles.

Cuban coffee is a longstanding tradition in Miami. You'll find it served from the takeout windows of hundreds of cafeterías or loncherías around town, especially in Little Havana, Downtown, Hialeah, and the beaches. Depending on where you are and what you want, you'll spend between 40¢ and $1.50 per cup.

The best café cubano has a rich layer of foam on top formed when the hot espresso shoots from the machine into the sugar below. The result is the caramelly, sweet, potent concoction that's a favorite of locals of all nationalities.

To partake, you've just got to learn how to ask for it en español.

From Ceviche to Picadillo: latin cuisine at a Glance

In Little Havana for dinner? Many restaurants list menu items in English for the benefit of norteamericano diners. In case they don't, though, here are translations and suggestions for filling and delicious meals:

Arroz con pollo: Roast chicken served with saffron-seasoned yellow rice and diced vegetables.

Café cubano: Very strong black coffee, served in thimble-size cups with lots of sugar. It's a real eye-opener.

Camarones: Shrimp.

Ceviche: Raw fish seasoned with spice and vegetables and marinated in vinegar and citrus to "cook" it.

Croquetas: Golden-fried croquettes of ham, chicken, or fish.

Paella: A Spanish dish of chicken, sausage, seafood, and pork mixed with saffron rice and peas.

Palomilla: Thinly sliced beef, similar to American minute steak, usually served with onions, parsley, and a mountain of french fries.

Pan cubano: Long, white, crusty Cuban bread. Ask for it tostado?toasted and flattened on a grill with lots of butter.

Picadillo: A rich stew of ground meat, brown gravy, peas, pimientos, raisins, and olives.

Plátano: A deep-fried, soft, mildly sweet banana.

Pollo asado: Roasted chicken with onions and a crispy skin.

Ropa vieja: A shredded beef stew whose name literally means "old clothes."

Sopa de pollo: Chicken soup, usually with noodles or rice.

Tapas: A general name for Spanish-style hors d'oeuvres, served in grazing-size portions.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.