Whenever I’m visiting a city that isn’t my own – San Francisco, for example – a home-cooked meal isn’t really something I look for. Whether it’s shrimp & grits and beignets at Brenda’s French Soul Food, a salumi cone at Boccalone, lemon tarts from Tartine, 4 formaggi +anchovy from Pizzeria Delfina, or a fried egg sandwich at Plow, I eat out. But when family says they are making “arroz a la cubana,” I’ll drop everything. I’m not sure why I like it so much – maybe because it’s a simple dish with so many flavours and textures: sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy. It’s kind of like eating a deconstructed ishi-yaki.
Arroz a la cubana is basically a combination of ground beef and pork sautéed with onions, garlic, peas, raisins,and tomatos, served alongside steamed rice, a fried egg, and plantains. I love the sweetness of the plantains, caramelized and crunchy along the edges, with the lightly salty meat and runny, bright yellow yolks. It’s a meal I’ll stay in for.