Tag Archives: pork

Abuelas Cuban Cafe

Americanpresstravelnews- September 19th, Crossville, TN.-“Bob & Barb on the Road Again”–Crossville has several very good Mexican Restaurants, now it has Abuelas Cuban Café.  No, not all Hispanic food emporiums are the same. There are many variations on rice and beans, pork and beef, spicing and marinating, etc,

What’s different? An island such as Cuba, and the little city within a city; Little Havana in S. Florida, has its own distinctive take from Mexican and Puerto Rican foods. Cubans grow Yucca, of course, as in other Hispanic foods; Plantains and black beans, yet marinated roast pork, seasoned chicken and Cuban Spice Veggies are usually distinctive to Cuban style foods, of course not always.  Havana salad (use of fruits such as mango and papaya) has avocado and a very different take on citrus salad dressing.  Piccadillo bowl has savory stewed beef with raisins and olives (Mexican piccadillo does not usually have raisins) white or yellow rice, yes, but seasoned differently.  All of this is to say, Cuban foods are just different and savory too, in their own right.

We tried the Cuban sandwich, and the roast pork sandwich-they are definitely quite unique in their food genre. In true Cuban style, meats are usually marinated, and this not only softens them, but adds considerable flavor. The Cuban bread is toasted with the ingredients in between the bread, usually pressed solidly on the grill. Various items (pork, ham, salami, pickle and cheese) are melted and hot when brought to the table with a side of sweet plantains (banana’s) delicious!.

Mom Karen Reph (the Abuela- means Grandmother) and her daughters;  Kelsey  Green, and Karly opened the restaurant July 7th 2017. But first, they did a few “pop up” trials where they went into two other off-day restaurants, and showcased their dishes to the public. They had great responses, and so they “jumped the broom” so to say, on to, and into 595 Main Street in Crossville and opened Abuelas Cuban Café.

WOW! The café con leche (Coffee with hot milk) a very Cuban coffee presentation, is superb. Their flan custard dessert was delicious, and the empanadas (little fried pocket sandwiches like those fresh fried pies) were filled with ground, marinated beef with raisins and olives. The empanadas were terrific, and we know; Barb and I lived near some of the best Cuban restaurants in S. Florida, and frequented all of them from time to time several years ago. When you go, try the Yucca Fries with some tangy mojo mayo for dipping.  The Havana Salad, try it for yourself-its got the goods for flavors of the islands.

We really like Cuban coffees, and starting out the day with a strong, sweet Espresso is a real mood, eye opener, and energy wake-up.

Karen Reph, mom and grandmother amongst the 3-co-owners said that: “We brought to Crossville our heritage foods we grew up with, and felt Crossville folks would love them too.”

We explored something new in Crossville, and found ourselves at a Cuban Restaurant, so reminiscent of what we enjoyed in South Florida and the Keys, and we are happy to recommend Abuelas for everyone looking to spice up their lives and palates, for a change of pace.  Abuelas is Located at 595 Main Street, store #102 in Crossville.

By the way Barb and I wrote the book “Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys.”(Available at Amazon) Of the hundreds of restaurants, one of our favorites was a Cuban Restaurant.

Haywood Smokehouse In Dillsboro, N.C.

A smorgasbord of barbecue. Smoked meats ala king! The best!!!
Kajol, our waitress was terrific!
Dessert for dinner? Here it would work!
Carol Booth not only made the desserts, but she is much of the oil that keeps the wheels of this Smokehouse work so well!

American Press Travel News-May 2nd-Dillsboro, N.C. “Bob & Barb On The Road Again” at Haywood Smokehouse. Mm. good Brisket, Saturday night Rib Feast. Heck, we had ribs and brisket, naked pork, fine swine, smoked chicken, Andouille sausage, smoked turkey, beans ,salads and garlic bread. Check out the image, we truly pigged out, but we did not finish the big food layout, had take-home for another day. The deserts were incredible too. Haywood Smokehouse has it down to a science. I viewed their big rotating smoker that employee, friendly and knowledgeable Shamus showed us. The humongous smoker can take a thousand pounds of meat products, and rotate these items through their smoking cycle until the end product is perfect barbecue. The ribs and brisket were quite terrific! Actually, we had a chance to sample every item they offered. All, including the chicken and turkey were spoilers! Their desserts brought out by their baker, Carole Booth, were a treat that would be hard to beat! Carole has been a fixture at the Smokehouse. Brownie and ice cream, true Southern Pecan Pie and a Banana Pudding finished off a spectacular barbecue dinner.  Kajol, a delightful young gal who had recently graduated college, with a personality as good as the offerings, presented our meals professionally, and with a huge smile. Give a call, although there are no reservations usually needed to 828-631-9797, and their other location is in Waynesville, N.C. 828-456-7275.

New Book Now Available You Will Love it-Promise; “Florida Keys Best Restaurants.”

AmericanPressTravelNews–April 28th, Bob and Barb Epstein’s New book: “Florida Keys Best Restaurants” also includes best marinas, dive shop, water boards, gift shops, museums including a great dive museum. 141-pages in color plus cover and back of book of the images & descriptions of the best of the best restaurants from Key Largo to Key West. Historical images of fishing Presidents, early travel in the Keys, railroad, old cars, image of the old toll booth, the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Keys, Pennecamp Park underwater State Park, Robbies Marina and great, really great seafood restaurant, really worthwhile crafts and giftshops, and so much more, including best and juiciest Key Lime Pies. Book is being sold for 19.95 personalized if you like and that price includes postage anywhere USA. Go: bobandbarb@aptravelnews.com 

A platter that still brings salivation! Crab cake, coconut shrimp, cracked conch, ceviche of lobster and conch, conch fritters and mango sauces as well as other tropical dips.
At Sharkey’s in Key Largo-we had a blast and our taste-buds did too!

Franks Grill in Marathon-A Terrific Italian American Restaurant

Barb is in her element! Great food, great surroundings and of course pretty good company too!
Osso Bucco made with pork shanks, and mighty good and plenty! Tastes at Franks remind one of the best meals that momma and papa Leoni used to make in the early days of America.
Yellowtail is a very delicate fleshed dish, few chefs get it exactly right. Franks gets it exactly right and then-some!
First time I had blueberries embedded in Key Lime Pie. It was very special!

AmericanPressTravelNews- Marathon, FL. Keys, January 1st,-Bob and Barb “On The Road Again” Stopping to smell the garlic at Franks Grill. For decades, Frank’s Grill has wowed it’s patrons with authentic Italian-American dishes that do a whole lot more than just please the palate, and nose, but also please the eyes, as well. The yellowtail snapper dish was exquisitely prepared. We enjoyed ala Francaise, sauteed with butter , white wine and lemon juice in a light egg wash. The Osso Bucco dish was amazing. A Melanese specialty of cross cut pork shanks with vegetables, white wine and broth done Frank’s high and delicious style. All manner of veal, chicken, duck and spaghetti dishes were on the menu. The desserts such as Key Lime Pie, bulging with fresh blueberries was different and quite a treat as was the New York Cheese Cake, a specialty few restaurants in the Keys serve. The wait staff, excellent! The table and decor were first rate too! Eggplant, shells, Manacotti, linguine, Steak Roma, lamb chops, N.Y. Strip, Ribeye and the entire seafood melange of delicacies. Franks Grill is located at 11400 Overseas Highway 113th street Gulfside in Town Square Mall, Marathon FL. go: FranksGrillMarathon.com   305-289-7772 open Monday thru Friday 10am-3-pm and dinner from 5-pm-9pm on Saturday.

New York Cheesecake! Yes, even in Marathon.