mini cuba.

here's a tiny visual cuba update, since if i don't put something up now, it may be months before i get anything "perfect" together.  i took lots of film photos, and we're all planning to get together and exchange photos and videos, so there is A LOT more to come.  please keep in mind, these are from when i actually managed to get the camera out and shoot, so there are a lot of times when we were working that i didn't actually capture anything.  

from the moment we landed, we were fully there, fully IN CUBA!  diesel fumes on the tarmac, uniformed taxi drivers, and warmth from every direction.  we befriended nearly everyone we crossed paths with.  

miguel, who varun dubbed the "bob cannard of cuba," who makes his own charcoal in the most beautiful way.

some of the best meals we ate (not this one, actually) were in driveways and patios, with mamas cooking in the garages and serving us our platillos right there.

 the cars were really excellent.

the organiponico we sourced most of our stuff from was on the outskirts of havana, called alamar.  beautiful, beautiful produce.

jerry was fully consumed by sugar cane after our cod project at parsons.  

so much incredible produce.  amazing, amazing herbs!

there was so much eggplant, we all used it in our menus.

cuban children are the most beautiful children in the world.

i managed to avoid eating this noni fruit, which tasted like blue cheese.   UGH.

the cubans seem to have a really special relationship with onions.

this was the "animal farm" where we sourced the meat for our dinners.  when we stopped in to choose the animals for slaughter, they were throwing a birthday party for a family member, complete with a pig roast!

could she be any more beautiful?

unsurprisingly, turtle befriended every child we met, not to mention this horse!  and she got all of the girls to ride in the carriage with her.

artechef, the culinary institute where we taught a workshop.

 the herb delivery from alamar at the last minute was stunning.  made me feel so utterly at home in such a foreign place.

chef jerry.

so many incredible home gardens.

cooking our first dinner, at le chansonnier.

in what i think was perhaps the greatest feat of the trip, charlie and steve sullivan snuck into a government run bakery to bake bread for the dinners, with a mixture of flours we found in havana and some that steve brought, as well as some sorta scary cheese i got at the fancy grocery store.  steve had made the dough in his hotel room bath room, monitoring temperature and humidity as only a master bread baker is wont to do.

also, this photo is really washed out--the bread was gorgeous.

i became obsessed with the artist Guayasamín for multiple reasons, not least of which was the similarity of our names.  he was pretty incredible, though.

i think the best meal we ate, and this may be telling, was in chinatown, at the luna del oro.  it was insanely fun, especially after the elvis impersonating guitar player showed up to seranade us.

our favorite event was our "pop-up," where we took over a friend's fritura stand for the night and cooked food and gave it away to neighborhood folks.  we grilled chicken and onions and made a bunch of different kind of fritters.  it was by and large the most "real" experience we had.  we were all exhausted, and going a little looney, but it was fantastic.

we all laughed so much our cheeks hurt.

this woman has the most amazing voice ever.  she sells peanuts by singing an amazingly catchy tune, and everyday her outfit has a different theme color.  we fell in love with her.

there was an incredible amount of beautifully decrepit colonial architecture to take in.  so much beauty amongst the brokenness.  i came to feel like they couldn't exist independently.

sorting through beans.

on our last night we made it to a baseball came.  it was so alive, so lo-fi, so fantastic!


  1. That looks like the best trip ever, and that produce looks so fresh.

  2. thanks, samin, for making such a great contribution to "planting seeds"!

  3. This looks so incredible! I can't wait to see more. :)

  4. Love the freshness, the pop-up kitchen, the joy!