“quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”
Every time I’m in Cali I swing by Porto’s Bakery & Cafe and pick up some delicious pastries to go. Rosa Porto opened her first bakery on Sunset Blvd in 1976 after her family emigrated here from Manzanillo, Cuba. They went through some tough times before people started catching on to how amazing her pastries are. She started to add other international savories to her menu and the business took off. Today there are three locations and long lines out the door everyday. It doesn’t stop people from picking up box of cheese rolls, potato balls or a cake. In addition to the pastries, they have some amazing sandwiches, juices and a full cafe. Some of my personal favorites I pick up are empanadas, ham croquettes, meat pies, and of course the potato balls (try the spicy one). You also can’t go wrong with any of the danishes or croissants either. Even though the parking can be a little crazy, Porto’s is always worth a stop.
One of my favorite places to eat is Havana Café. I love the culture there and the food is amazing. I was turned onto them after getting hooked onto mojitos after a trip to Miami years ago. Then a Cuban girl I was dating introduced me to the food. Brought to the valley in 1989 by BJ and Gilbert Hernandez, their Cuban cuisine with influences from Spain and Latin America are adapted from traditional Cuban dishes. They have a loyal following and I love taking their mojito classes that they offer. Today I stopped in for lunch to try one of their dia de los muertos specials – the Problano Relleno. I think this picture below is enough to show how amazing this dish was. I absolutely enjoyed it!
Located in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, Cha Cha Cha is a popular spot for tapas and sangrias. Their spicy food has a Caribbean, Cajun and Spanish influence. I grabbed lunch here with my good friend Candace that I have known for years. I love having a friend in San Francisco I can stay with to experience the culture here. Her and I always have a blast together and this was our first stop of a full packed day. We got the jerk chicken, plantains and Cajun shrimp along with some amazing sangrias.
This family restaurant started in the 80’s. They pump in some great Latin tunes (Cha Cha Cha) and have some fun funky decor that gives this place a vibrant atmosphere. The jerk chicken (chicken marinated in habanero peppers, raisins, garlic & tomatoes) was nice and tender and their infamous sangria hit the spot. My favorite was the Cajun shrimp. The shrimps are sautéed in a spicy cream sauce and served in a mini cast iron skillet. I got hooked on plantains when I visited Belize a few years ago and the plantains here are just as wonderful. I recommend anyone visiting San Francisco to make a stop here for some authentic flavors and a little taste of culture.
Here is a video of FoodTube.net’s visit to Cha Cha Cha
Our first date night out since getting married! We went to Havana Cafe – a restaurant that serves up latin cuisine. This fun place serves up some great mojitos and they have salsa nights on the weekends. Their main dishes (chicken, meat or fish) are always accompanied with rice and beans – a Cuban tradition. Then there are some yummy plantains as well. Afterwards we hit the Gelato Spot for some Italian ice cream for dessert. I love being married and spending my evenings with my wife!!!