It personifies the fifth taste, umami, meaning savory. Put dark chicken, pot roasted in soy sauce and butter on my plate and I’m helpless. It’s so good, it makes me blush at first bite.
For years, the only place you could get chicken barbacoa was at Cafe Habana City, the mango-colored Cuban restaurant on Bertrand owned by Raphael Garcia. Lucky for Lafayette, the Garcia-Suarez clan has more than one great cook in the family. Garcia’s cousin, Yoani Suarez, who was a partner in Cafe Habana, has set out on his own, with a new restaurant, Rumba Cafe, on Ambassador Caffery.
The menu is nearly identical to Cafe Havana’s right now, but Suarez, who is cook, bartender, bottle washer and sweep, (his wife, Josefina runs the front of the house) is experimenting as he goes. I had lunch there yesterday and walked away with stars in my eyes.
Suarez’s tuna croquettes were a revelation. He was fooling around with the Cuban classic and tried adding some ham and cheese to the tuna mix. The little croquettes are breaded and lightly fried. The come to the table too hot to bite, let them cool a bit so that you can experience the creamy savory mix without searing your tongue.
His Cuban sandwich was dead on, the bread crunchy with a beautiful patina from the sandwich press called a plancha, the pork slow cooked and shredded, ham, melty cheese, mustard, pickles, and a dish of hot green sauce on the side. And then there was the barbacoa, with sides of black beans and rice cooked together called moros, boiled yucca and sweet fried plantains.
I wasn’t the only one stuffing herself at lunchtime, but I was the only customer in the room speaking English. Rumba Cafe sounds like it’s the Cuban expat gathering place, replete with son and salsa on the stereo. The liquor license arrived last week, mojitos, naturally, are the drink of the house.
Lunch runs about $8-$10, there’s nothing on the menu over $20. Rumba’s Cafe is located at 1512 Ambassador Caffery, (just north of the Eraste Landry intersection). Hours are 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Mon-Sat, call 988-5208 for more info.
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Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
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By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.