Cuba Libre Hosts 2nd "Pop-Up Paladar" Dinner with Havana's Chef Alain Rivera Santana

(L to R) Chef Alain and Chef Guillermo Pernot, relaxing after the event
Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar continues his "Pop-Up Paladar" events, this time with Cuban Chef Alain Rivera Santana of Havana’s Doctor Cafe. The four-course dinners will be held Tuesday, June 19 through Thursday, June 21, and will have two seatings, 6pm and 8:30pm.  Paladar is a Cuban term for a small, family-run restaurant, often in the chef's home.

A.D. and I attended the second seating on June 19. We enjoy the educational aspect of the "Pop-Up Paladar" dinners, and are thrilled with the opportunity to meet the chefs, ask questions, and find out their perceptions of America. Chef Alain, like Chef Lucio from the first Pop-Up Paladar last January, expressed surprise at the availability and easy access we have to a broad range ingredients here in the States.

And of course, we love the food at Cuba Libre, and Chef Alain's four-course menu was wonderful.

The four courses from Cuba Libre's Pop-Up Paladar Dinner with Chef Alain of Havana, Cuba
PRIMERO: Merluza al Escabéche - top left photo
Cod with chile-vinegar sauce, lamb tongue and beet salad  

For this dish the cod was pickled in the jar in which it was served.

SEGUNDO: Canelones de Cangrejo - top right photo
Corn pasta cannelloni with sweet crab meat enchilada filling 

This was my favorite dish.  It was the first time I had corn cannelloni, and the corn shoot garnish tasted like honeysuckle.

TERCERO: Atùn - bottom left photo
Grilled yellowfin tuna with malta-honey reduction and ruby red grapefruit-lavender supremes 

In Cuba, Chef Alain is known for coal-fired grilling, a technique that was recreated in the Cuba Libra kitchen to prepare this tuna. 

CUARTO: Sopa de Mango - bottom right photo
Chilled mango soup with Cuba Libre’s private label five-year aged rum ice cream

When this dessert was served the room got quiet for a moment as everyone took a first taste, then you could hear diners around the community table saying "Wow!"It was delicious

Chef Pernot, a two-time James Beard Award-winning chef, met Chef Alain this past April when he and his wife Lucia (a relative of Cuba's 3rd President) led sixteen Cuba Libre patrons on a tour of Havana that included dining at paladares and visits to Cuban landmarks and markets. A second is trip is scheduled for November; for information about participating contact

For more info or reservations:

Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar
10 South 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

All photos by Glamorosi

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