More than mojitos...
June 4, 2008 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan my Cuban party!

I have enough mint to make mojitos for an army, so I'm throwing a Cuban party. So far I've got...

Ropa Vieja

I've also seen this thread with some cuban recipes. 'What other suggestions do you have for food, drinks, decorations, activities, etc?
posted by thejanna to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cuban sandwiches, so gooooood in that Homer Simpson over the top meat sandwich kinda way, mmmmmmm.....

Don't forget to mambo.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:20 AM on June 4, 2008

The things that stand out in my mind that you are missing, and are quintessential cuban are:
Yellow Rice and Black Bean Soup
CUBAN SANDWICHES. (which implies cuban bread.)
Cuban Coffee.

Additionally, any Pastry made with Guava and Tres Leches cake are the two other most common dessert items I see around (around being the Ybor City/Tampa area, my hometown and home of the second-largest cuban population in the USA (Miami's first, duh.))

Note: sourcing real-deal cuban bread may be a little difficult, but it is WAY worth it if you can manage.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:32 AM on June 4, 2008

Buena Vista Social Club on the hi-fi, por favor!
posted by squasha at 8:32 AM on June 4, 2008

Tostones!! Oh fried plantain, how you tempt me.
posted by contessa at 8:40 AM on June 4, 2008

Also, Yucca.
Also, Puerco Asado, and Pollo Asado (roast pork and roast chicken)

Also, i've never been to a cuban's party where they didn't have a lot of dancing (mambo, cha-cha, salsa) and a LOT of sangria. My cubans generally replace the brandy in the recipe with coocnut rum, too.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:48 AM on June 4, 2008

Sangria, for sure

Tostones are delicious, but they really take you away from the party. They are best served fresh, they are inevitably cooked in batches so you need to keep cranking them out, and they require you to fry them twice. It's just kind of a time-suck. But they sure are tasty!

And Cuban music is indispensable. Aside from Buena Vista, which is a no brainer, you can source music from the individual musicians:

Ibrahim Ferrer
Eliades Ochoa
Compay Segundo
Omara Portuondo
Ruben Gonzalez
Barbarito Torres
CachaĆ­to (and also, music by his father, Cachao)

Other bands/musicians:
Irakere (and solo music by one of its members, Arturo Sandoval)
Los Van Van
Sierra Maestra
Celia Cruz

For more mellow music, maybe for the end of the evening, some nueva trova would be nice:
Silvio Rodriguez
Pablo Milanes

For something more modern, try the Orishas, a band whose members are exiled in Europe, and combine traditional rhythms with hip-hop.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:10 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Be sure to serve that tres leches with small glasses of Licor 43 (and be sure to refer to it as "Quarenta y Tres"). Trust me. My Miami-bred wife introduced me to 43, and we've since spread the gospel to friends and even restaurateurs. You won't be sorry.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:11 AM on June 4, 2008

For activities, you could try to do a very basic version of la rueda de casino (casino wheel) which is a type of dancing that is fun at a party because it involves a lot of people. You dance in pairs, and at certain intervals you swtich partners. You have someone calling the changes. it can get really complicated with a lot of different dance moves, but for these purposes it can be kept very simple - just dance till the caller calls out the partner change. This video shows one of the basic moves that the more adventurous can try.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:21 AM on June 4, 2008

Pastelitos! Yummy Cuban pastries filled with either guava or cheese. Serve them warm.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:50 AM on June 4, 2008

Yes! Guava is key! You could serve guava paste and cream cheese. That's a pretty typical dessert and probably easier to come by in Columbus. Cuban crackers are sold in most bodegas and are great with either butter or cream cheese. Goya sells an okay version, but locally made stuff is usually much better.

Sodas to have on hand would be Iron Beer, Materva, and Jupina. If you can't find any of those, pineapple soda will do.

If you're feeling cruel you can set up a Malta chugging contest. I swear that stuff is used by Cuban moms to punish their children.
posted by Alison at 10:18 AM on June 4, 2008

I swear that stuff is used by Cuban moms to punish their children.

If Cuban children are anything like Puerto Rican children, they love malta. Adults like malta too. We love malta! But if you weren't raised on it, you will probably hate it - I have only met one person who tried it for the first time as an adult and liked it. So a malta chugging contest with people who have never tried it before should be pretty entertaining.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:30 AM on June 4, 2008

And don't forget to put on your Guayabera shirts. I'm not sure what the ladies should wear.
posted by cazoo at 10:39 AM on June 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks guys, great suggestions. And of course, keep them coming! I'm feeling really inspired now!

I definitely have to look into this malta chugging contest...
posted by thejanna at 10:41 AM on June 4, 2008

Vaca Frita!
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:53 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have an uncle-in-law that is Cuban and he always makes a delicious little rice dish. It's very simple, just chop up an onion, a green pepper, a clove or two of garlic and some celery, cook in a skillet for a couple minutes then add a can of black beans and a can of crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally with cumin and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Combine with a bed of rice.

It's not the most elegant meal in the world, but it'd make a great side dish (and an easy to prepare one).
posted by highfidelity at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2008

Cuba Libres, of course! Rum, coke, and lime in a highball glass. Sure, it's not fancy, but it's tasty.
posted by SNWidget at 11:22 AM on June 4, 2008

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