Preserving Cuba's cuisine, one pig at a time
April 9th, 2012
10:00 AM ET
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Patrick Oppmann is CNN's correspondent based in Cuba and a barbecue enthusiast.

Cubans may live surrounded by water but the food that incites the most passion and culinary debate does not swim or slither. That honor is reserved for puerco asado, pork cooked over coals in the traditional style of the Cuban countryside.

As with many Cubans, Anselmo “Don” Bello swears on his honor that he cooks the best puerco asado on the entire island.

But unlike most of those other would-be top chefs, Bello’s phone rings off the hook each day with people asking him, pleading with him for one of his whole cooked pigs.

“Most people don’t know what a real Creole meal is,” Bello said, referring to the term for the Caribbean’s jumble of European and New World cultures. “The taste of the seasoning, the oregano, the onion, garlic and bitter orange. That’s been lost but we are rescuing it.”

Don Bello is leading his crusade to save Cuba’s culinary traditions in San Antonio del Rio Blanco, a small, country town, an hour inside of Havana.

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Cuba • Cultural Identity • Culture • Ingredients • Meat • Think • Travel • Video

5@5 - Miami's best bites
February 24th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

This weekend, some of the food world's most successful and spirited chefs will make a splash at Food Network's South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Tampa Tribune food writer Jeff Houck will be on-hand, roughing it in the sugar white sands of South Beach, at this annual orgy for the senses.

For those going to the festival, here are some suggestions for tantalizing temptations you can enjoy away from the Guy Fieri groupies. For those not attending the festival, here are some suggestions to save for your next trip to the southeastern coast.

Welcome to Miami, bienvenido a Miami.

Five Things To Put In Your Mouth In Miami: Jeff Houck

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • 5@5 • Bite • Cuba • Florida • Think • Travel

In Cuba, a little roasted peas with your coffee?
May 30th, 2011
03:45 PM ET
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Talk about a bitter brew! In a cost-cutting move, Cuba is mixing the ground coffee it offers on its ration card with...roasted peas.

The unusual combination isn’t new to Cubans, but in 2005 the government said it would provide the coffee-loving nation with pure, uncut coffee.

Soaring international prices prompted a change of heart.

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Filed under: Big Business • Business and Farming News • Coffee • Cuba • Sip • Travel

October 12th, 2010
11:30 AM ET
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Alexandra Willingham is a CNN video journalist. She's based in Atlanta, but Key West has been her lifelong destination of choice. She's had a lot of practice chowing down while living it up on the island.

Forget what you learned from Jimmy Buffett - Key West eats go far beyond cheeseburgers and margaritas. Here are some of the best foods to try while visiting in paradise.

Don't-miss dishes from the southernmost city

1. Conch Fritters
This little mollusk, known for its glossy pink shell, is actually a type of snail. One of the tastiest ways to eat this island escargot is in a fritter: chunks of chewy meat held together by a batter mixed with peppers or spices.

Some of the best are found north of Key West, at Alabama Jack’s in Key Largo. These golden cakes combine the pefect amount of conch with a lightly sweet corn batter. If you’re not a fan of fried foods, try your conch in a hearty red chowder.

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Filed under: America • Bite • Cuba • Florida • Key West • Lick the Screen • Travel

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