A taste of Cuba in Chicago at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe

cubaOur trip to Miami was a distant memory so we were jonseing for some of the tropical atmosphere. 90 Miles Cuban Cafe (2540 W Armitage Ave) is summer in Miami personified. If you go there on a nice day you absolutely have to eat outside. Of course, it only makes sense that I get around to this post just after our last pleasant day of weather has slipped away. No matter, there is ample seating inside as well. You can spot 90 Miles from afar due to the huge replica of the red, yellow and black southernmost point buoy in Key West – marking 90 miles to Cuba – get it?

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The menu is Cuban – read: meat heavy – but there are options for fish dishes and even some vegetarian selections. For those going for a lighter feel, you can also get fruit batidos (smoothies), though we always opt for the Cuban coffee drinks. But who are we kidding – we came here for the meat! The sandwiches at 90 Miles are pretty big and you get them with Cuban-style shoestring fries. The Cubano and Medianoche, two Cuban classics are top sellers ($11 each). Both consist of ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles & mustard, however the Cubano is on French bread and the Medianoche is on a sweeter challah-like bread. They seem appealing, but I always go with the citrus-marinated lechon con pan roasted pork sandwich with a side of sweet plantains ($11). M got the Roast Pork Puerco Rostizado, ($16) pork infused with guava, pan fried with grilled onions, with black beans and fried plantains on the side (15.95). We have also had Ropa Vieja (a beef stew) which was extremely tender and tasty ($16).

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Everything was delicious, and the lechon, especially so. We love nothing more than Cuban-style lechon, and 90 Miles always delivers. For dessert were were brought straight back to Calle Ocho’s Versailles Bakery with guava pastries and flans. However there are some new touches you may not see in Cuba – the Snickers Empanada – which is exactly what you would expect. We really enjoyed our trip to 90 Miles Cafe – it felt like a little slice of Miami. Logically, you know you are just on a patio in Chicago with some string-up lights, but it really makes all the difference in the world. Even if its a little chilly, there are space heaters….

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