Best Moros y Cristianos

Havana

Cuba's national dish is black beans and rice, a seemingly simple suppertime treat with all the satisfying comfort-food attributes of good country cooking. Known whimsically as moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians) because of the way black and white are integrated on the platter, the dish's success is based on its sofrito, the fragrant, slow-cooked salsa of garlic, onions, sweet peppers, and spices that's stirred into the rice or beans before serving. At Havana (on the island of Alameda, not Cuba), the Moors and the Christians are ordered separately, but the dish's synergistic nature demands that you consume the two elements at the same time, in great forkfuls. Only when Havana's luscious beans, feathery rice, and snarky sofrito enter your consciousness simultaneously will you experience the ultimate satisfaction of Caribbean cooking. This smoky, spicy, earthy delight is best accompanied by crisp fried plantains and a tall, frosty mojito (or two or three — the bar stirs up fifteen varieties).
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