Foodie Travel: Cuban Food at the Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City, Tampa, FL

One of my favorite places when I’m in Tampa is the Columbia Restaurant. Located in historic Ybor City which highlights charming Spanish Moorish architecture. The restaurant is decorated on the outside and inside with beautiful hand-painted tile. I love the food and ambiance of this restaurant.

columbia_mojito

Start out the meal with traditional Mojito. White rum with mint and a sugar cane. Refreshing after a hot day walking around Tampa.

cuban sandwich

Their is a  long debate about the cuban sandwich. Which is better; the one from Tampa or the one from Miami. Each sandwich is served pretty much the same with thin slices of ham, pork, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles and then it is pressed in a plancha (grill) to make it flat, served warm and crispy. But, the Tampa version has an additional ingredient of salami. Which adds to the flavor of the sandwich. I love the cuban bread the sandwich is served on from La Segunda Central Bakery’s which is light and airy and makes the sandwich the best. I prefer the Tampa version myself.

Below are some of my favorite cuban dishes from the Columbia. Rollover the images to get information or click on the gallery to see the slideshow.

 

 

Jai Alai India Pale Ale Beer, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL

Cigar City

Happy Craft Beer Week everyone! In honor of this week, here one of my favorite crafts.

When traveling, I like to try a beer that is local to the city I am visiting. On a recent trip to Tampa, FL, I ordered a Jai Alai beer by Cigar City Brewing. I thought it was going to be too heavy being a Indian Pale Ale for a hot day in Tampa, but I was wrong. This brew is light, beautiful carmel color, tropical flavors and has fruity notes. It accompanied my cuban meal perfectly. If you see it on the menu the next time you are in Tampa, order it. I am hooked!

Foodie Travel: Capuchino: My favorite Cuban Dessert, Versailles Restaurant, Miami, FL

There is always one dessert that I have to get every time I go to Miami. That is the Capuchino. You find it in almost every cuban bakery. I purchased this one at Versailles Restaurant in Miami. It is a cone-shaped cake with a golden brown top, soaked in a sugary syrup that is flavored with cinnamon and citrus. It is sweet. It is fattening. But it is so worth it. I savored each and every bite of this super sweet dessert. It is the one dessert that transports me back in time when I would spend summers with my cousins in Miami. My uncle knew how much I loved them and he would always pick them up for me on his way home from work. How amazing is it when a food can take you back to a memory. Those are always the best bites!