Last night we went to Palo Alto to celebrate Esther's birthday at La Bodeguita del Medio. Say that three times fast. I can't even pronounce it once. My sister told us about this restaurant so we decided to try it out. We've never had authentic Cuban food other than Cuban sammiches and even then I'm not sure those are totally authentic.
Justyn and I arrived there early to find that the restaurant had a little cigar smoking area in the back. The inside of the restaurant you will find a bar that takes up most of the room in the first dining area however beyond a couple heavy velvet curtains lies a bigger area devoted for larger parties.
Once we were seated, the waiter cheerfully greeted us and took our drink orders. My sister and I were thirsting for a mojito and Justyn got a Sierra Nevada. Esther got a blend of fresh squeezed OJ mixed with some pineapple juice. For our appetizer, my sister highly recommended the Pan Roasted Mussels (chili, soy, garlic, and sour orange). ZOMG they were soooo good! The mussels were perfectly cooked and the sauce.... oh man.. We wanted spoons to lap it up like soup. Super flavorful and all the ingrediants perfectly balanced each other. We had to order a second helping of bread to soak up all that goodness.
Then came our entrees which were equally as delicious as the mussels. I can't remember everything I got and the pictures turned out terrible due to the lack of good lighting but I really don't think you need pictures to describe how good this stuff is. I highly recommend this place if you love Cuban food... even if you don't, give it a try. It's well worth it.
After dinner we went to downtown Palo Alto for dessert at Cafe Doge (I think that's the name of it). We ordered chocolate cake, coffee and a creme caramel (basically flan). I thought the cake was a little too sweet, but the creme caramel was divine. After dessert I gave Esther her gift which she loved. She is into altering art so I got her some acrylic stamps and ribbon. We goofed off a little more at the cafe and then went out separate ways.
Happy Birthday E-Ma!