A Cuban Cortadita on a Dog Day Afternoon
I stopped into a Cuban restaurant called Conga and ordered a café cortadita and a glass of ice water yesterday afternoon. Conga is located on Richmond in a shopping center with a bunch of Columbian restaurants including the very popular rotisserie chicken stand called Dodo. There is also a Cuban sandwich stand in the same center called Café Cubano which also serves café cortadita. The two restaurants are owned by the same folks. Conga is a white tablecloth joint and the espresso there is 35 cents more expensive. I was willing to shell out the third of a dollar for the relaxing atmosphere.
Photo by Robb Walsh
Cuban espresso is usually made by adding sugar to the coffee grounds so the sugar melts while the coffee brews. This creates a very smooth sweet cup of coffee. To make a cortadito, (which means "little cut" in Spanish) the barista mixes the sweet Cuban espresso half and half with hot milk. Mysteriously, the waiter brought me the sugar on the side. I guess he decided that what I really wanted was a regular espresso with milk. Go figure.
I wonder why I find a hot coffee drink refreshing on a miserably hot afternoon? Is it the caffeine jolt? Or does it make my forehead even sweatier? I don't know, but a hot espresso is an old summer tradition in warm weather cities like Havana and Miami.
By the way, yesterday's high in Havana was 90 degrees -- seven degrees cooler than Houston.