Cuban fantasies are realized at D.C.’s Colada Shop.
Ever since former President Obama thawed relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Americans have been hightailing it to the tropical island in search of rum, cigars, and vintage automobiles. Although economically ravaged by Communism, the country remains a symbol of frozen-in-time glamour for many. For those who can’t plan a Caribbean escape (especially if current President Trump does indeed reverse Obama’s open-arms stance), Colada Shop provides a sunny reprieve. The all-day, café-cum-bar, helmed by Daniella Senior and celebrated barman Juan Coronado, offers a culinary window into Cuban life. Along with its flagship suburban location in Sterling, VA, there’s a colorful, petite outpost in the thick of the 14th Street NW action with alfresco seating and plenty of plants and shades of pink to complement the graphic patterned floor inside. Chef Mario Monte, who grew up in Venezuela, abides by circa-1940s and ‘50s recipes from his family. Start off the day here with a proper tostada breakfast, traditional Cuban bread toasted and paired with a café con leche, or come for lunch, when the Colada Shop Cuban sandwich—there’s also an unorthodox vegetarian version of the ham, roast pork, and Swiss cheese classic with Portobello mushrooms and cauliflower—satisfies but still promises room for the meringue-topped Tres Leches cake. Come evening, there are well-made Daiquiris, Mojitos, and Piña Coladas to enjoy, or for something more adventurous, try the Cascara Old Fashioned, with aged dark rum and housemade coffee bitters. A roster of snacks, from béchamel-mushroom croquetas and picadillo-beef stuffed empanadas to sweet pastelitos filled with guava, encourage another round.
Photos Courtesy of Colada Shop Instagram