Back towards the beginning of the year, CT and I learned that CT’s Sister’s Sister-in-Law would be getting married in Panama at the end of July. Why Panama? The Bride’s parents live down there now full-time. We learned that Panama has a huge ex-pat population mostly because it is so cheap and the U.S. Dollar is the functional currency down there. Since CT’s whole family is quite close with her brother-in-law’s family, we were all invited to the wedding. Since neither of us had been to Panama before, we decided to spend an extra couple days down there to explore the city and of course, the food. Join us the next couple of weeks as we eat PANAMA!
After leaving Newark, we arrived in Miami a couple of hours later, without delay and had a couple hours to blow off before our next flight to Panama City. After getting some exercise walking around the airport, we were a little hungry and we figured it would be best to eat before we got on the plane again. Since we were technically in Miami, we decided to give Cuban food a shot at Bongos Cuban Cafe. Only as I am writing this did I learn that Bongos is a small chain with a couple locations around Florida.
Since we were on vacation afterall, we started with a drink. Negra Modela for me and a mojito for CT. Not just any old mojito though, it was the South Beach Mojito. I think all that meant was that Bacardi Limon was used instead of regular Bacardi. Anyway, the drink had a ton of fresh mint and lime, which would make anything delicious.
CT says: Yum! The first of many on this trip!
Since we weren’t super hungry after our nostalgic breakfast, we decided to share an appetizer and a sandwich.
Chicken empanadas. Pretty standard. Although they weren’t piping hot, the crust and filling weren’t super dry. The dipping sauce was pretty bland, but useful with the empanadas.
CT says: I was excited to eat as many empanadas as I could get my little fingers on. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be that many, so I’m really glad I started the trip with these. Were they spectacular? Not really. But they were delicious enough to satisfy the craving, especially considering I was sitting in an airport.
I decided on the Cuban sandwich. New York City has its fair share of mediocre Cuban sandwiches, so I was interested to see what an airport version would be like. I was pleasantly surprised by this sandwich. It wasn’t greasy from the sandwich press and had a fair amount of roast pork in it. At first I thought they roast the pork on site, but now realize that they probably bring it in from one of the stand-alone restaurants. The Swiss cheese wasn’t of the best quality as I could barely taste it. We had to add our own mustard to the sandwich. The fries, like the empanadas, were leaning towards being room temperature.
CT says: This was a pretty good sandwich. I think TT won the ordering game… again. Sigh.
All in all, Bongos Cuban Cafe in the Miami International Airport could have been a lot worse. Although we didn’t have enough time to head to South Beach, we got a (very) small taste of little Havana. The bartender/waiter was super friendly which always makes a meal more enjoyable. On to PANAMA!