Today in Cuban music: Cubafonía

How could you possibly sing to los santos without a Batá drum? Not a single tumbadora. Not even un chekere perdido made it on the stage during Daymé Arocena’s performance at the Skirball Center. And she didn’t need it. Her voice was more than enough. Nonetheless, she was accompanied by three equally talented Cuban musicians, a pianist, a bassist and a drummer … More Today in Cuban music: Cubafonía

Un besito

“Niña/o saluda.” Say these words to a Cuban kid and watch as they forget their stranger-danger sensibilities and reluctantly give you an awkward and messy kiss on the cheek. I’m pretty sure besito is the third word we learn as babies, after mamá and bistec. Then it’s kisses on the cheek for the rest of your life – and for … More Un besito

Mal de ojo

Generally speaking, Cubans aren’t big on soccer – unless they have a Colombian friend that convinces them to watch the World Cup…but that’s only every four years. However, as a Cuban in L.A., you don’t need much persuading to catch the Galaxy fever. I mean, what is there not to like? The L.A. Galaxy have … More Mal de ojo

Meet a Cuban: Nairoby Otero

Cuban-American actor, writer and producer Nairoby Otero just finished a month-long run of her one-woman play ‘Til Sunday, as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. In this incredibly poignant 75-minute performance, she seamlessly transitioned between three characters – Claridad, Claridad’s mother and their neighbor Pepe – and in the process brought to life the story of a … More Meet a Cuban: Nairoby Otero

Tres maduros

I love bananas. Yellow Chiquita bananas precisely cut into rounds on my plate of arroz blanco y picadillo. Green plantains fried and flattened with the bottom of a coffee mug, then salted, especially if it’s the side dish to camarones enchilados. And, my favorite, ripe plantains, strange in color and frightening in texture, fried  into a burnt sack of … More Tres maduros

La cenicienta

An hour from Los Angeles, you’ll “leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy” for about two hundred bucks and a mean sunburn. Before I get any further, I should say I don’t have kids or a strong affinity for the Disney brand or even particularly enjoy large crowds. However, this should … More La cenicienta

Un cortadito

The city of Temecula is a little under two hours away from LA, which is also the exact amount of time you’ll need to exhaust all of the culo jokes you can come up with. Go directly to Old Town because, first, it’s absolutely charming with array of specialty stores, boutiques, art galleries, and antiques stores. And … More Un cortadito

El barrio

I finally found the west’s version of Hialeah/Miami Lakes. It turns out that the majority of Cubans left Echo Park and ended up in two neighboring towns, one named Bell and the other named after a fabric softener. Downey, as in ¿Le echaste ‘dauni’ a la lavadora?, is in many ways fancier than Bell. And in true … More El barrio

El escándalo

Richard Nixon was a congressman, a senator, a two-term vice-president, a near two-term president, and an adviser to the presidents after him. He was also the first president to resign. All of these are facts I knew thanks to my seventh grade civics report on the 37th POTUS. Years later through movies, books and the Pentagon Papers, … More El escándalo

Un flan

How far would you travel for a good flan de leche? Five miles. Maybe 10. How far would you go for the best flan de leche in Southern California? The answer to that is 30 miles, because it’s the distance between the city of angels and the city of Orange. Located on an adorable roundabout facing a small park is … More Un flan