LAKEVIEW — DNAinfo Chicago readers headed to Cohiba Cuban Cuisine in Lakeview on Tuesday night. Follow the social media highlights here.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods packed with restaurants, though for Cubans it has been difficult to make an imprint in one section of the city.
"We don't have a neighborhood like a Chinatown or a Mexican area like Pilsen ... We are all over the place!" said Roger Pereira, a waiter at Cohiba Cuban Cuisine, which opened in April at 2835 N. Broadway Ave.
Pereira, who is Cuban, said he is happy there is another Cuban restaurant to work at in the Lakeview after the abrupt closure of Sabor Cubana in March.
For Cohiba Cuisine's owner Elida Soria, who is of Mexican descent, the desire to open a Cuban restaurant was inspired by her love of the Caribbean island country's food and culture.
"When you know a Cuban for a few minutes, you feel like you have known them for years. It is a close, friendly and warm culture," Soria said.
Soria recruited her longtime friend, Pedro Lopez, to serve as Cohiba Cuban Cuisine's executive chef. Lopez previously worked at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe in Logan Square as well as most recently in the cafeteria of the Tribune Tower, where he mainly cooked Italian and American food.
"I am so happy to be working at a Cuban restaurant again," Lopez said.
DNAinfo Chicago reporter Serena Dai will be joining readers at a "Taste of Cuba" dinner in Cohiba's private upstairs dining room scheduled from 7-9 p.m. May 20.
Lopez and owner Soria will introduce guests to each course, while Dai will moderate an "Are they Cuban or not?" celebrity picture quiz.
The BYOB dinner will include an array of appetizers: smashed yucca stuffed with beef and spices, ham croquettes, veggie and meat filled empanadas, fried calamari and tostones rellenos, or green plantains.
The evening's entrees will include cerdo encebollado, or roasted pulled pork sauteed in onions with rice and beans, as well as a chicken and rice entree (for non-pork eaters) and mixed vegetables buttered in white wine sauce for vegetarians.
Pudin, or pudding cake, will be served for dessert.
To wash everything down, American and Caribbean soft drinks will be available too, as well as Cuban-style coffee. Pitchers of mojitas and red or white sangria can be prepared too, as long as guests bring their own bottle of rum or red or white wine. Cohiba will provide fresh fruit and garnishments for both drinks.
On a bittersweet note, the dinner will also serve as a going away party for Dai, who reports on the Wrigleyville, Lakeview and Boystown neighborhoods.
In June, Dai will be moving to New York City, where she will serve as DNAinfo New York's Williamsburg, Brooklyn reporter.
Cohiba Cuban Cuisine, 2835 N. Broadway Ave.. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Phone: 773-935-8866.
This event requires a minimum of 20 people to reserve the private dining room as well as the group discount. Full refunds will be issued to ticket holders if we do not meet our minimum number of guests. The value of the dinner is $34 based on menu prices, so those who wish to enjoy everything that will be served at the dinner but cannot make it "in person," can buy the dinner online and redeem it anytime after May 20. Buy tickets here.