Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Mi Tierra's Traditional Cuban Fare

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Mi Tierra's Traditional Cuban Fare

Article excerpt

Friday, lunchtime, and Eating Companion (EC) and I cruise down U.S. 301 in search of Mi Tierra, a Colombian and Cuban restaurant that has come recommended by an old friend who know our penchance for plantains and Cuban sandwiches, and also for eating in places that, like Mi Tierra, look sketchy as all get-out from the outside.

Mi Tierra is in what looks like an old trailer painted '70s- orange, and looking generally worse for wear. But he swears the place is terrific.

Inside we're greeted warmly; there's only one other diner in here, a laborer of some sort, his clothes dusty and paint- splattered, eating quietly. The inside is a touch nicer than the outside, certainly, and cleaner. It smells of spices and slow- cooking meat.

Mi Tierra does a number of Caribbean and South American staples - - blood sausages, Colombian chorizo, salchipapa (fried potatoes with sausage), mariquitas (fried green plantains) -- as well as an extensive list of entrees, two daily lunch specials for $7.50, and a small traditional Cuban breakfast menu.

We start off with some empanadas, a blood sausage and chorizo, then turn our attention the the entrees. EC says he's damned if he isn't ordering a Cuban sandwich. We go for the lunch special, which today is chicken fricassee, a sort of grilled chicken cutlet with onions, served with plantains, beans and rice ($7.50).

Most Central and South American countries know a thing or two about flank steak, and the Sobrebarriga a la Plancha sounds incredible (grilled flank steak with fried potatoes, cassava, rice, beans and plantain, $11). We finish it off with a Milanesa de Pollo (breaded chicken breast blanketed in melted swiss cheese, with rice, beans, salad, and plantains, $11). The option of red or black beans comes with all entrees, and we go for a few of both.

The sausages and empanadas arrive just as we're done ordering, served all on one plate, family style. EC opts out of the blood sausage which is too bad -- it's a real beginners version, dry and rich, heavily seasoned, tons of coriander. The chorizo has a nice spice to it, warm and tangy.

The empanadas are a little bland, though the cornmeal crust is tough and delicious, and the whole thing is made exponentially better by a table salsa Mi Tierra keeps in these little metal bowls, and when pressed for details the waiter basically said was "special" and offered no other details. …

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