The Examiner, June 15, 2005

Visit Cuba in D.C. by Gabrielle Shaughness

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Page 31
Special to The Examiner

Ever since the United States severed diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961, there has been no official Cuban embassy on American soil.

In an effort to foster relations between the two nations, however, the Carter administration signed a bilateral accord in the late 1970s to establish interest sections in Havana and Washington.

Offering a rare occasion to glimpse the culture, cuisine and music of this often-misunderstood island, Professionals in the City will host a black tie gala in the grand mansion in Washington where the Cuban Interests Section resides on Saturday.

The open bar will feature Cuban libres, “the classic Cuban rum and coke, and the mojito – a delicious cocktail made from rum, mint, sugar and lime,” says event coordinator Michael Karlan.

Among the dinner buffet specialties guests will enjoy are Lechon Asado (tender roasted pork in a splashy bitter orange marinade), Chorizo al Horno (Spanish sausages), Maduros (fried slices of sweet plantain) and Ropa Vieja (shredded slow- cooked beef).

Cuban cuisine “is simple in concept but complex in flavor,” says Karlan.

“Cubans have inventively combined Spanish, African and Caribbean traditions and ingredients,” he said.

Incorporating Cuban, Puerto Rican, Colombian and Peruvian flavors, Washington’s acclaimed Orquesta Latin Soul band will also be on hand to dish up an evening of salsa, rumba and mambo.


2 lb. skirt, flank or brisket
2 large onions, chopped
1 large onion, halved
8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
4 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 small cans of tomato paste, plus same amount of beef stock
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup red wine
dash of ground cumin
Adobo Goya with pepper to taste (usually found in the Latin section of the grocery store)

1. Place the beef in a large stockpot and add water to cover completely. Add half the onion, one garlic clove, salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool and save stock.

2. Shred cooled meat with two forks and set aside. In a large skillet, heat olive oil, add remaining garlic, onions, tomatoes and peppers until softened, about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add red wine, bay leaves, cumin, Adobo Goya, tomato paste and reserved beef stock. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves.

3. Add shredded beef and cook for 25 minutes, check for flavor and serve. With leftovers you can make great sandwiches with French baguette or Cuban bread if available and Swiss cheese or queso blanco.

Recipe courtesy event caterer Cubanos Restaurant in Silver Spring.


Black Tie Gala
Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Cuban Interests Section, 2630 16th St. NW D.C.
Tickets are $99 if purchased by 5 p.m. on Friday at