Monday, December 31, 2012

Toshikoshi Soba on New Year's Eve

Toshikoshi Soba

We passed by Shimbashi Soba tonight when we noticed a sign talking about Toshikoshi Soba for New Year's Eve. I had no idea what this was, but there was some handwritten scribble that said that they only had ten portions left, so we scrambled to ask for one. Fortunately, they still had some available despite the fact that we did not pre-order any.

It turns out that there wasn't anything special about the soba itself; it's just that it's a tradition in Japan to eat soba on New Year's Eve (and apparently on the Gregorian New Year's Eve, not the Japanese one). In this case, we had to bring it home and cook it ourselves. At least it seems more culturally aligned than that frenzy for KFC during Christmas in Japan.

Ya Lim Mee Pok in Tiong Bahru

Mee Pok

I don't know if it was just because I was super hungry, but this was surprisingly good (56 Eng Hoon Street #01-46). I mean, sure, there are tons of good Teochew noodle places out there, but this lady was using unexpectedly good quality ingredients, including super fresh prawns and crispy yet light crackling. Even the lowly bean sprouts were refreshing (and hopefully it's not just because she had restocked for the week or something). Anyway, is this stall somehow related to Lau Lim on Jalan Tua Kong?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Teppan Pasta from Pepper Lunch

Spicy Tomato Cream Teppan Pasta

Man, I haven't been to an actual Pepper Lunch restaurant in ages, especially after the proliferation of those Pepper Lunch Express stalls at food courts instead. But of course, the latter runs a limited menu, so while we were here at the former, we ordered the things that we couldn't get at the food court, which basically came down to either pasta or larger cuts of beef. We went for the pasta.

Fortunately, this spicy tomato cream dish didn't taste as bad as it looked. But it's not like I liked this so much that I'd get cravings for it either. I'll probably just stick to Pepper Lunch Express in most cases, especially since it's a lot faster. And if I really want some theatrics around Japanese pasta, then I'll go to Bene Spaghetti instead.

Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier

Prosciutto Sandwich

They really like their rucola and truffle oil at these places, eh? Or at least, I seem to recall a lot of rucola and truffle oil garnishing dishes at this place's sister outlets like Skinny Pizza and House. Well, the good thing is that I like rucola and truffle oil, even if they are rather clichéd these days. Maybe it's just sheer coincidence.

Anyway, it was interesting to come down here (56 Eng Hoon Street #01-70, 6220-3430) after hearing about all of these new places popping up in Tiong Bahru. And this place was pretty cool, even if it seemed to carry that same Spa Esprit approach to everything. I gobbled up this prosciutto sandwich with ease. Too bad that white bean soup came out lukewarm though.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Kara-Uma Ramen from Bari-Uma

Small Sized Kara-Uma Ramen

This spicy ramen at Bari-Uma was better than I thought it would be. Part of it was the pleasant surprise of finding it garnished with a dried chili pod (cool!). But more importantly, it still sat on that solid foundation of firm noodles, charred pork, and deep broth that came with the normal Ajitama-Uma bowl. The micro-sized gyoza were kinda fun too.

Many other things on the menu are forgettable though. The shoyu ramen here was rather unremarkable. And keep your distance from that yakitori; it sat in so much tare sauce that even Tori-Q would have been jealous. Clearly one should go to specialized places for that instead.

But I'll definitely come here over neighboring Uma-Uma, especially if it's for the Ajitama-Uma or Kara-Uma bowls. It was also kinda cool that they offered small-sized portions (effectively, mini bowls) here too. Gosh, all of this talk about spicy ramen just makes me miss Kusabi's gekikara ramen; it was a sad day when they left Singapore.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bomba Paella Bar on Martin Road

Paella Valencia

This place has gotten a lot of attention in the past couple of months, and we finally found time to get down here tonight for dinner (38 Martin Road, 6509-1680). The good thing is that all of the praise for their signature paella is warranted. The savory rice was bursting with saffron, all with a firm texture as well as those deliciously crispy edges. I was surprised at how quickly it came out too, seeing how long it usually takes to cook these things.

Unfortunately, the rest of the items that we got was a letdown, particularly the gambas al ajillo, which was overdressed and featuring less-than-desirable prawns, so much that I couldn't eat more than just one or two of them. The pulpo was tender but surprisingly lacking that signature dusting of pimentón. I suppose that it was a more modern interpretation of the dish, especially given that it was served on a bed of mashed potatoes with capers.

Anyway, the interesting thing is that this place is the exact converse of Los Primos: the latter is strong in tapas but forgettable in paella, whereas I liked the paella here but could pass on everything else. That can only mean one thing: go to Los Primos for tapas first, and then come here later for paella. And be sure to order a large next time since this small one was basically just a single serving.

Porn's Sexy Thai Food in Singapore

Larb Gai

It's hard to forget a name like this. And it looks like he's spread to quite a few locations around Singapore now. I was a bit worried that the food would be diluted as a result of this commercialization, but fortunately, it still packed a punch, with a nice residual burn still lingering in my stomach afterwards. Granted, it still wasn't as good as Jane's, but at least one doesn't have to go to Orchard Towers to get this.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Kumamoto's Okada Coffee in Singapore

Menchi Katsu and Shiso Soda

No, there's no coffee in that photo above. But this was one of those Japanese kissaten that has opened up at the 100AM mall (100 Tras Street #03-23, 6543-6028), serving yoshoku dishes like curry and katsu for lunch. I grabbed this minced menchi katsu, and was pleasantly surprised at the care that they took in putting it together. Now, it won't exactly be a thing that I'll be coming back for regularly, but at least I know that it's there as an option.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kagoshima's Menya Sanji in Singapore

Kuro Goma Ramen

Yet another ramen shop from Japan has opened its doors in Singapore, this one being at the Orchid Hotel (1 Tras Link #01-14, 6604-8891). Yes, that's the same address as Keisuke's Tonkotsu King, but on the west side of the building. Surely they must have gotten some inspiration from the long lines over there, as these guys had a bunch of plastic stools ready outside for lines on their first day.

I got there right at the opening hour, and I'm happy to say that I liked the rich and creamy broth. They had a few versions available today, mine being a blend of pork and chicken broths, but nonetheless milky enough to be satisfying. Adding to this was all of the varied textures in the bowl, including crunchy bean sprouts, green onions, and baby bok choy...not to mention the pleasantly firm noodles. The only thing that I didn't like was the chashu, which was totally unremarkable compared to Bari-Uma's.

Well, Keisuke's Tonkotsu King is still at the top of my list. But Sanji is a contender no less. I guess I'll have to go to Musashi and Bari-Uma a few more times (as well as try out the remaining bowls here) to do a fair comparison. Either way, it's cool to have more ramen shops opening up around here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prawns with Fried Rice on United

Orawns With Fried Rice

Oh man, that was waaaay too sweet. That yellow sauce was like syrup, and I had to keep wiping it off the prawns before eating it. Well, at least the prawns were plump and firm, and I'm glad I chose this over the usual filet mignon. It also looks like United has some new crockery in use now?

Kagoshima Beef Set from Itacho HK

Kagoshima Beef Set

Here was the Kogoshima beef set from Itacho Sushi at Hong Kong airport. I wasn't quite sure if it would be worthwhile to get Japanese beef while in HK, but this seemed like the most unique thing on the menu. Besides, wasn't it a shop in HK that paid the highest ever price for tuna at Tsukiji not long ago?

Unfortunately, this was a letdown. I was expecting a rich and buttery thing that just slid down my throat. Instead, this was relatively tasteless, making this thing really just raw beef. OK, there were a couple of pieces that were seared with a nice grilled flavor, but otherwise this was pretty forgettable, and not worth the HK$338 (US$41) price. On second thought, maybe it was because I didn't pay enough!

Noodle Soup in UA Business Class

Noodle Soup with Pork

OK, so there goes my theory on soup in First Class. Well, this was technically served as a mid-flight snack rather than a proper meal, so I suppose that my argument still stands. Either way, it was good to get a bit of a light thin soup to sit in my belly, even if that pickled garnish gave this thing a bit of a weird taste. In that sense, I admittedly wouldn't have minded instant noodles instead. The powdery wontons in this thing kinda reminded me of some that I've had in a styrofoam cup either way.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tortas Frontera at Chicago O'Hare Airport

Tortilla Soup and Guacamole Bar

Yipee! Rick Bayless has opened up a couple of shops in post-security O'Hare, and with three hours until our next flight, it was a no brainer to head over to his shop near gate B11 in Terminal 1. While the venue itself was pretty cramped (esp with everyone schlepping luggage around), the food was delicious and totally worth the journey through that long tunnel from the C gates.

Ironically, I didn't even get any of the sandwiches that the place is named after, but instead I went for both of his spicy and hearty soups as well as guacamole and salad. Man, I like this guy's food so much that I'd actually consider moving to Chicago if that meant having easier access. In the meanwhile, I guess I'll have to try to make sure that my itineraries route through O'Hare. And maybe head up to his shop at Macy's in San Francisco.

The Taqueria Jefes Truck in Austin

Two Brisket Tacos

This was an unplanned stop. I was stumbling back to the hotel and had passed by what seemed like a million food trucks along the way when I stopped and realized that I'd probably regret it if I didn't stop to fuel up with something salty and greasy before heading upstairs.

So I made my way to back to this truck, which to my surprise, was serving proper Mexican tacos rather than the usual Tex-Mex around here (thank you, corn tortillas!!). These things went down in a hurry, especially with that salsa and lime. But I've got dragon breath like you wouldn't believe right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Frank, Purveyors of Artisan Sausage

Texalina and Side Salad

I pretty much knew just from the tagline alone that I was going to like this place (407 Colorado Street, 494-6916). And I'm not talking about the "artisan sausage" line, but rather another line that read "Hot Dogs Cold Beer." Cool. All they had to do was throw bacon into the mix and we'd be all set. Little did I know that my wish would be granted.

This place was bacon galore; not just the bacon-infused Maker's Mark, but also the Bloody Mary garnished with crispy bacon (in place of the traditional celery stalk) as well as the chocolate covered-bacon that I got for dessert. Sweeeeet!

And how was the hot dog? Well, what's not to like about a half beef, half pork sausage garnished with grilled coleslaw, white cheddar, and a pungent mustard? I'm really liking the attitude here in Austin. It reminds me of Portland, but warmer and more carnivorous.

Cazamance in Austin, Texas

Yassa Chicken

I needed a quick lunch before getting back to meetings, and a search on Roaming Hunger showed that this West African place was nearby (1102 E Cesar Chavez, 487-7222). I had no idea what to order, but the guy suggested this yassa chicken, so I went ahead and waited for my food.

Now, my experience with African food is extremely limited, but I was expecting something pretty decently punchy. Instead, I ended up with this, which frankly wasn't anything that exciting; if my eyes were closed, I might have thought that this was catering from the hotel or something.

I suspect that I would have been much better off had I ordered the curry or some kind of vegan peanut butter thing that I thought I heard the guy suggest. Well, at least this was one of the healthiest things that I've eaten all week...I really need to load back up on some fresh greens.

Breakfast at Blue Ribbon Barbecue

Breakfast BBQ Tacos

Just yesterday I was rhetorically asking myself what else Austinites would put into a taco. And as I walked down the street back to the hotel I noticed these guys with a sign that said that they do breakfast (120 East 4th Street, 369-3119). Keep in mind that it was a barbecue place, but their breakfast menu had tacos on it. That made me curious, and this morning we came here to check it out.

Of course, breakfast tacos are all over the place here, but this one featured barbecue. Yep, that meant that you could put brisket, pulled pork, sausage, etc in your taco, along with eggs, potatoes, and beans. The guy suggested a brisket and potato taco, all topped with barbecue sauce on it. It turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be, although admittedly it was really fueled by the seasonings in the potatoes, not the sauce. I'm still not used to eating flour tortillas either.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Turf N' Surf Po Boy in Austin, Texas

Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos

Up until last night, I had forgotten that Austin had such a food truck culture. And fortunately, there were a few of them not far from where we were at today, so I randomly went to this one (4th Congress Avenue, 276-2763) to gave it a try.

It took me a while to decipher the menu at first, but I eventually realized that it was cajun. I wasn't quite in the mood for anything as heavy as a po'boy, but fortunately they made them in taco form too. Cajun tacos? Cool!

I went for this blackened mahi mahi, which was bit salty, but good enough to finish down to the end. The gumbo that I got on the side was hot and perky too...just the thing that I needed on this chilly day outside. I wonder what else people put into tacos around here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Peached Tortilla Truck in Austin

From left: Banh Mi Taco and Crunchy Fish Taco

Cool - food trucks! Interestingly, I wasn't even going to go to this one at first, in part since the name seemed to imply a dessert truck or something instead. It was only when I saw a bunch of people with tacos did I look at their menu. What was at the top of the list? Banh mi tacos.

Huh? Yeah, bánh mì tacos. I scratched my head for a bit on that one, seeing how the main thing about bánh mì is the baguette (and hence the name in Vietnamese). So I wasn't quite sure how this one would go down with a tortilla.

Fortunately, it worked. The spiced pork belly along with cilantro and picked daikon helped things down, and I didn't mind their crunchy fish taco either. It looks like these guys do pan-Asian tacos; in particular, Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese tacos. It's a nice change from the usual Korean, Filipino, and Indian ones.

Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas

Two Meat Plate of Brisket and Sausage

I never thought that I would ever be one of those crazy Apple fanbois that line up for hours outside of a store (it's just a phone, for crying out loud!). But that's effectively what I did this morning, even if it was for barbecue instead. Yup, I made sure to get to this place at 9 AM, braving the near-freezing temperatures outside while sitting in line for nearly two hours before they opened at 11 AM (900 East 11th Street, 653-1187).

What kind of madness possessed me to do such a thing? I admit that part of it was all of the buzz around the food. But the other thing was that I had a gap in my schedule today until my first meeting at 12 noon. And given what had I read about people having to line up for an hour or two before getting their food here, the only way I could make it to my meeting was if I got there early enough to be at nearly the front of the line and thus be able to eat at around 11 AM. I felt like such a nerd, but it was good that I did it; just 30-45 minutes after I got there, the line had already stretched out maybe close to 40 people deep!

So was it worth the wait? I had my doubts at first. Given the already great barbecue in the area, I wasn't sure how much different this place could really be. But it *was* different, particularly the brisket, which was so tender and rich that the only way I could describe it was that it was "creamy" (not exactly a word that one would use to describe meat, although I guess I came close to that when describing Kobe beef). The sausage was great too, and none of this needed any sauce at all - it was all about the meat itself.

Yes, I liked it better than Kreuz Market, which up until now was more or less my favorite. I'll line up for that again, but like an Apple fanboi, one should come prepared. That means planning bathroom breaks so that one doesn't lose a spot in line. That means coming prepared for the weather, which this morning felt like a 20 degree difference between the sun and the shade. That also means being able to stay productive while sitting on the concrete. Thankfully, I had mobile email going such that I was able to do exactly that while waiting.

Tex-Mex Migas from Room Service

Tex-Mex Migas

Yes, it's room service again. But I needed to get some food in my belly quickly, and interestingly, there was a local item on the menu here: migas. So I figured that I might as well get it while I'm in Texas, even if I wasn't that impressed last time. Somehow the idea that these might be a bit similar to chilaquiles helped that decision along.

Unfortunately, that set up the wrong expectations, as there were hardly any chips in this at all. And the fact that they provided flour tortillas put me off even more, although it also served as a reminder to me that this is Tex-Mex rather than Mexican food. Well, if it has to be Tex-Mex here, then I really have to get myself to a Tacodeli or Torchy's - those places are awesome.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Soup and Salad on United Domestic

Chicken Salad and Bisque

This leg down to Austin tonight was using an A320 rather than those tiny little regional jets. That also meant that dinner was going to be a properly heated meal rather than those tiny snack boxes. Given all of the protein that I've been eating over the past few days, I made sure to opt for a fresh green salad. And interestingly, they provided hot soup too - looks like my theory about hot soup in First Class still stands, even if it's domestic.

Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C.

Chili Half-Smoke

Admittedly, my belly was still full from all of that food this morning. But I had time for one last stop in DC before heading out to Dulles for my connecting flight. And the one place that I've been very curious about has been Ben's Chili Bowl (1213 U Street Northwest, 667-0909), an institution here that is known for drawing everyone from Bill Cosby to Barack Obama.

Now, the thing to get here was this so-called "half-smoke," or a half pork and half beef smoked sausage. One could definitely taste the fat from the pork in it, and I liked the char that they worked into these things. Yet I couldn't help but compare it to my all time favorite Pink's out in LA. Maybe it's my hometown bias kicking in, but the edginess of Pink's just gets me so much more excited than this place.

Mister President, I know that you're a fan of both Five Guys and Ben's, but I'll take Umami Burger and Pink's over them any day of the week. It seems that we *do* see eye-to-eye on Rick Bayless though!

Jimmy's Famous Seafood in Dundalk

Top Neck Clams

Before I got on that plane across the Pacific this week, I scouted for recommendations on a good place to get blue crab while I was out here. One of the local recommendations was this one (6526 Holabird Avenue, 633-4040). Despite it being out of season, crabs were available at this place all year round.

But there was one problem: I was totally stuffed from all of that food at Lexington Market just an hour before. And these guys had a six crab minimum. Even if my mantra is to never eat crab when you're hungry, there was no way that I was going to finish six of them. So instead, I got these local top neck clams, perhaps inspired by that dude next to me at the market earlier.

They were pretty darned salty. Of course, one kinda expects that when eating raw bivalves on the half shell, but unlike oysters, these lacked that savory burst of the ocean, if that makes any sense. Compared to oysters, they were so much less exciting, and I had to depend a lot more on that lemon and cocktail sauce than I normally would. Of course, I could still get a fresh clam taste, and the meat was nice and firm. But yeah, one of these days I need to get out to this area during crab season (and without eating anything an hour before!).

Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland

Lexington Market

I was able to spend the morning up here in Baltimore before heading back to the airport, so I took advantage of it to go get some local Maryland seafood. This market seemed like just the right place to get it, especially since it looked like a lot of vendors inside were open for breakfast. It was encouraging at first, with the smell of seafood in the air from the moment I stepped out of the car and inside the building. Apparently I came a bit too early though, as a lot of stalls were still closed.

Oysters and Baltimore Lake Trout Sandwich

Only when I went to the West extension of the market did I find this guy, who had a little raw bar as well as fried goods, like this local "lake trout" (even though it's actually Atlantic whiting) sandwich. It was better than I thought it would be, especially with squirts of hot sauce, and was perhaps even better than that Cuban fish sandwich from the other week. The oysters were fine, but what was more interesting was watching the dude next to me methodically dressing up his raw clams with lemon juice, salt, and slices of hard boiled egg. I'll have to give that a try next time.

From left: coddie and lump crab cake

Finally, I made it it Faidley's section of the market (203 North Paca Street, 727-4898), which is praised for its crab cakes. It took them a while to open this morning, but I got my lump crab cake as well as that little coddie on the side (the latter is called the poor man's crab cake, seeing how it was only $2.50 compared to the premium $12.50 lump crab cake). And the coddie was pretty good with its hot potato and fish mixture straight out of the fryer. Too bad the crab cake itself was cold in the center when they served it to me (I think I saw him take it out of the microwave!). I can only assume that on a higher volume day, this thing is much better.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Peruvian Chicken from El Pollo Rico

1/4 Dark Chicken

Not to be confused with El Pollo Loco, this was a place that I wanted to go to on my last layover in the Washington, D.C. area (especially given their sky high Zagat ratings), but I didn't have time. Thus, I made this my first stop on my way out of Dulles today. And unfortunately, I think the Zagat ratings blew my expectations out of proportion.

I mean, sure, the cumin-based rub was very unique...and distinct enough from other Latin American chicken. That green sauce on the side was pretty darned spicy too. But the chicken itself was rather dry, thus leaving me a bit unsatisfied as I left the place. I seemed to have gotten more excited about the beans instead (yum!), as well as maybe that purple corn-based chicha morada drink.

Curry Rice from the ANA Lounge

Curry Rice

Cool - it looks like the ANA Lounge's udon bar at Narita now has curry rice available, even if the taste wasn't anything to get excited about. Note to self: if there is nothing interesting in the North Wing next time, come back to the new Tokyo Food Bar at S1 to try out Yoroku Ramen or Oedo Soba.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot in Singapore

US Beef at Hai Di Lao

These guys have been on my list of places to go to for a long time...but in China rather than Singapore. See, I read somewhere a while ago that this chain from Sichuan is *the* place to get hot pot in China. And yet somehow I never got the chance to hit it up on any runs up there, so it was fortunate that they decided to open an outlet down here at Clarke Quay last month (3D River Valley Road #02-04, 6337-8626). We finally came over tonight to check it out.

Now, I presumed that the main reason why these guys were so successful in China was because of the quality of the food. And when I kept hearing that the service was one of their most unique selling points too, I assumed that this was a slightly classier venue: perhaps a bit like Tanyoto...or even Ding Wang in Taipei. So it was to my surprise when I arrived to find a rather tacky, gaudy, and plasticky-looking place. Granted, I suppose that I kind of expected that of a place that was known for providing eccentricities like massages, shoe shines, and manicures while you waited for a table. But the massages and shoe shines were not there; instead, it was Chinese chess, checkers, and origami paper alongside a green plastic tray of watermelon slices and caramel popcorn (eek!).

Despite all of that, the hot pot itself was better than I expected, with those rich and thin slices of US beef above being my favorite, as well as some minced shrimp paste thing. I suppose that this was a step up from many of those grimey late night places out there, and having that iPad ordering system at each table actually was of more practical use than it was a gimmick. But if I really want to go upscale (relatively speaking) next time, I'll stick to Tanyoto.

Brunetti at Tanglin Mall in Singapore

Italian Pan Eggs

This flashy Italian pastry shop from Australia has here for a while now (163 Tanglin Rd #01-35, 6733-9088). While it always looked very cool with its tiled decor, brightly lit gelato case, and vested wait staff, I never really thought that much of the food itself. Granted, it's not like it's anything bad, but I haven't had anything mindblowingly good there either.

In that sense, this morning's breakfast wasn't that different. These eggs looked good with that hot pan on the plate. But taste-wise, it was very straightforward without really anything to get me too excited. Incidentally, there are really nicely printed brochures for next door neighbor Yantra on display here - are these guys by chance affiliated with them? One thing that might bring me back here more often is if they let us order a chola bhatura or something from them. :)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Pork Kakuni on UA out of Narita

Pork Kakuni

Wow - that was so good that I wanted seconds (not exactly a description that you'd hear very frequently about airplane food!). These tender and tasty chunks of pork went great with the spring onion slivers and white rice, all with a sauce that was seasoned just right. At least some of United's food seems to be getting better...when I clear an upgrade list, at least. (Interestingly, it looks like I flew all three classes on this ride back: first, economy, and business!)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Did United Update Economy Plus?

United Economy Plus

I didn't clear the upgrade list on this oversold long-haul back to Asia. But fortunately, Economy Plus seems to have gotten a lot better compared to the last time I took it, complete with on-demand seatback screens and even a not-so-obvious (and slightly temperamental) power outlet underneath the seats.

Granted, SQ has had this kind of stuff in their Economy Class for ages now. And United's system definitely has the weaker hand given the puzzling decisions to use touchscreen softkeys for volume control, as well as non-illuminating hard buttons that you can't see in the dark. But at least this makes Economy Plus a bit less painful.

The food seems to have gotten a bit of a change too, with new serving containers and a surprisingly moist and tender chicken above. But it was a bit *too* moist and tender to the point where it didn't seem natural, and the noodles in the "Japanese meal" that was served later were so terribly mushy that I didn't bother finishing them.

The United Express "a.m." Snack Box

United Domestic a.m. Snack Box

So here is the morning version of the United Express First Class box, which naturally seems to showcase more sweet items over savory ones. I'm not exactly a fan of packaged goods like this, but I suppose that it is hard to resist that Rondele cheese.

Cafe La Carreta at Miami Airport

From left: croqueta, papa rellena, cafe con leche, and a Cuban sandwich

I wanted to hit up a couple of local breakfast places before heading to the airport this morning, but it was so early that none of them were open yet. But I figured that I could just grab something at the airport, especially since there was an outlet of local Cuban chain La Carretta there. Unfortunately, the restaurant was behind security in a different concourse that I couldn't get to, so I had to settle for the miniature cafe stand in Terminal E outside baggage claim down on the first floor.

I grabbed a variety of things just for the sake of trying them, including the croqueta and papa rellena on the left. And since I had a good experience with a Cuban sandwich the first time I had it, I got one here as well. Unfortunately, the sandwich here was a bit of a bore (the fact that it was Saran-wrapped before being put in the toaster should have been a sign). The papa rellena was the best of it all with some savory minced meat in a big potato ball, but frankly I didn't finish any of this in the end. Oh well.