Ropa Vieja from the Crispy Cuban
Sundays in Los Angeles are for Smorgasburg! A few Sundays back, the Crispy Cuban truck was right at the entrance to the main market area -- but as soon as I saw the words "ropa vieja," I knew I didn't need to go any farther.
I've been in love with Cuban cuisine ever since I visited Miami and ate my way through Little Havana, with my first stop at La Carreta for their "El Criollo Cuban Sampler." When I lived in East Tennessee, I even drove to a neighboring town (nearly an hour away!) when I discovered that there was small, family-run Cuban restaurant called Smokies Cuban Cafe that served killer empanadas and flavorful ropa vieja.
So, yes, ropa vieja is my jam. There's something very comforting about shredded beef that has been stewed with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices -- especially when it's served over steaming white rice with a side of seasoned black beans. And I'm happy to say that the ropa vieja from the Crispy Cuban totally met my expectations.
First of all, the portion size was very generous! Not what I expected from a food truck. The large container was packed, nearly overflowing, with seasoned meat and rice and beans. And second, the ropa vieja tasted like it had been slow cooking in grandma's kitchen for a full day. The shredded beef was so tender and practically melted in my mouth with each bite. I could seriously eat this dish every day. I don't know how you can get tired of the deep umami-ness of beef that has been cooked in tomatoes and peppers for hours.
I ordered a side of yuca fries from the Crispy Cuban as well. I had to make sure that they lived up to their name -- and they did. The yuca fries were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the fries were served with a mojo sauce that gave it a nice garlicky, citrusy zing. I could put mojo sauce on everything.
Lunch by the Crispy Cuban was fantastic. In fact, the ropa vieja bowl was so large, I couldn't finish it all. I probably should've shared with Brandon, but he ended up eating and enjoying their signature Crispy Cuban sandwich -- which I'll have to order for myself in the future!
Looking forward to many happy returns to the Crispy Cuban!