Cuba Libre Brunch Without Borders

by jerseygirl on July 10, 2011 · 7 comments

A few weeks ago I was invited to a new brunch that Cuba Libre in Philadelphia just started. To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Cuba Libre has revamped their menu. Chef Guillermo Pernot recently spent time in Cuba cooking with friends and chefs. He brought back plenty of new recipes and inspiration and you can see it on the new brunch menu with over 30 small plate items. Brunch is served from 10:30 to 2:30 on Saturdays and Sundays. It is a small plate menu with two options. You have the option of ordering and paying for each small plate or you can get the unlimited Brunch Without Borders for $25. Since I am a foodie the decision was very easy. I was dining with Allie from All I Eat Food and we both wanted to try as many items as possible. It seemed like we had the same small plate tastes and favored the seafood part of the menu . We went on a little bit of a small plate rampage and ordered plenty.

To start things out, we both ordered the Cafe Cuba Libre. It was Cuban coffee with steamed coconut milk. It was so delicious! The waitress also brought us a basket of Canasta de Pan which was assorted homemade breakfast breads which included warm banana bread, guava cream cheese hojaldre, crispy churros and orange-ginger muffins. It also came with mango butter and guava marmalade. The guava cream cheese pastries were out of this world. Since we didn’t want to fill up too much, we only ate a few bites of each. I loved the mango butter and want to recreate this at home soon.

Next we had our small plates come in rounds. I think we had four rounds of small plates. I’ll warn you now. We ate lots of food and I am showing you every delicious bite. Here is what we ordered:

Camarones a la Parrilla was Cuban pesto-marinated grilled shrimp, boniato chips and arugula salad with Pimentón-lemon vinaigrette. This first dish ordered was one of my favorites. I loved the fresh tasting salad.

Cóctel de Camarones was a delicious Cuban style shrimp cocktail. It had Latino cóctel and avocado salsa. I can never get enough shrimp cocktail and the avocado made it even better.

Torta de Cangrejo Benedict
This jumbo lump crab meat and potato cake, poached egg, and avocado mash with tomato Hollandaise sauce was a big step over your regular eggs Benedict.

Pulpo con Berenjenas
The truffle and citrus marinated grilled baby octopus and Haitian eggplant salad were superb!

Frituras de Bacalao
The salted cod fritters came with homemade lemon mayonnaise. They were light an crispy.

Atún Africano
The African adobo-rubbed charred tuna came with pickled cucumber salad and avocado salsa. It also had preserved Meyer lemon-curry oil. I was a little puzzled when I saw pickles with lightly cooked tuna but the two matched perfectly. This might have been my favorite dish of the day!

Cesar de Oriente
Crispy spring rolls of Cortez chorizo and shrimp placed on shredded hearts of romaine with roasted garlic-Caesar dressing and Cotija cheese. This was probably my least favorite dish as I enjoyed the fresh salad more than the spring rolls which tasted like they were heavily laden with potatoes.

Frituras de Malanga
This is a traditional Cuban appetizer of purple taro root, garlic and cilantro fritters served with Tamarindo ketchup. I loved the ketchup!

Buñuelos de Espinaca
Spinach and Manchego cheese puffs with goat cheese-ranch sauce and organic olive oil. These were a lot different than I expected and I didn’t expect them to be deep fried but they were good.

Albondigas Camagüey
Chino glazed beef, pork, and pine nut meatballs with pickled carrot-cilantro slaw. Very good but I always prefer seafood over a meat dish.

Ensalada de Pollo Rancho Luna Citrus marinated pulled chicken salad, Napa cabbage, romaine lettuce, sweet grapes tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers and crispy wontons. It had a Chinita mustard dressing which reminded me of an Asian type salad.

After all these small plates, Allie and I had no room for the sweeter dishes we had planned on ordering. There was a hazelnut French toast and Chocolate waffle on the menu but I’ll have to try that next time. I know I will be back as there is still another 20 small plates to try!

*** For full disclosure, the above meal was complementary by Cuba Libre as part of a blogger brunch. The opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post.

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Erica July 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

WOw!! I love brunch and what a menu! The bread basket and cheese puffs look amazing. Glad you enjoyed

Angela FRS July 10, 2011 at 10:37 pm

That looks amazing–I LOVE salt cod fritters! The guava pastry sounds like something I have to hunt down and try. Now I just need to fly out there…

Mary July 11, 2011 at 6:30 am

Lisa, the food looks and sounds delicious. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

Kate of Food Babbles July 11, 2011 at 8:08 am

Wow!! This post is making me hungry 🙂 Looks like a fantastic time with fantastic food.

The Japanese Redneck July 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

WOW, beautiful food. What a unique experience. I would luv something like that around here.

That Girl July 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

What a fun brunch!

Italian Cooking December 19, 2011 at 1:23 am

Very amazing looking food that I can almost smell from just looking at your wonderful photos. I do get to Philadelphia about three times a year so this is definitely going to be a place my husband I will be trying out. Thank you so much for the inspiration! -b

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