All the News That's Fit to Eat
This Just In: Cuban Food!--Over the last few years, the scrap of Central between Carlisle and San Mateo has struggled--rather unsuccessfully--to become the only Little Carib neighborhood in Albuquerque. And I've held my breath through it all.
You've got to understand. After having lived in Los Angeles, within minutes of some choice Cuban bakeries and one of the few Haitian restaurants on the west coast, I'm dying to see a neighborhood of Caribbean markets and eateries evolve here. That kind of food is unforgettable.
The first sign of life was Zenith African Market, which specialized in hard-to-find Caribbean and West African goods like goat meat, palm oil and Ting sodas. It's since been emptied and transformed into a dance studio. Figures.
And remember Jamaica Jamaica? They went belly-up for one reason or another last summer. Still, even though past attempts at Caribbean restaurants and specialty stores have fizzled out, their concentration--how they were all in roughly the same area--is encouraging. In paleontology, that's called an "evolutionary niche," and it's usually a good indication of what's to come.
So there I was, wandering by the old Country Vittles Café building at 4801 Central NE, when I made out some barely visible red letters printed across the door.
"J&J Cuban Bakery and Restaurant"
They were still unpacking the furniture when I barged in, but they assured me there'd be plenty of Cuban food to go around once they opened the following Friday. I hope that means Cuban bread, good café con leche and pastelitos de guayaba (buttery little pastries filled with guava paste and cream cheese). They should be open by now.