Let me set the scene for you. An open-air market with chickens loitering in the back parking lot (read: fresh eggs). Crates and cartons filled with fresh coconuts, mamey, papaya, avocado, mango, carambola, sugarcane and I could go on and on. In the corner: a neglected piano. At the bar, three older Cuban gentlemen in their Guayaberas and smelling of Colonia 1800, discuss the Mayoral recall. Among jars of fresh honey, pots of orchids, porcelain tcotchkes and guajiro hats, a sign boasts: “Ser Cubano es un orgullo, ser Pinareño es un privilejio”. Indeed.
This bohio serves up the freshest juices (from beet to carrot to mango to wheat); cold, sweet guarapo and a delicious tamale with a red onion and tomato salsa. At lunch time you can eat fricasse de pollo con ensalada y pan for under $5 until you can’t eat anymore (they serve one menu item daily – whatever is fresh and whatever they feel like serving). On the way out, you can count on one very poetic and dentally-challenged older Cuban man to recite you a custom poem on the spot.
Whenever I feel like I’ve had too much of my BlackBerry, computer, reality tv and walls, I take a walk to this lovely, breezy spot for a fresh mango juice and some peace of mind. Although my family will remind you we are from Miramar in Havana, for just a moment, I feel priviledged to be from Pinar del Rio.
Los Pinareños Fruteria. On calle Ocho and 13th Avenue. If you park in the back, watch the chickens.