As we head into winter, I find myself reminiscing about the time Sam (my boyfriend) and I spent in Havana, Cuba this September. It is a unique situation that any American reading this post will not be able to visit the restaurant, but that is the case with the restrictions on travel to Cuba reinstitute by He Who Must Not Be Named. Sam and I managed to buy direct flight tickets from Newark to Havana just before the laws changed. I'm so glad we did as it was a one of a kind life experience to see a place stalled in time.
Just like any political conflict, you realize pretty quickly that the individuals of a country are removed from the issues of the government with desires to be happy and thrive just like everyone else. It is these people who are hurt most by trade and travel bans, since the communist government restricts private businesses. There is little way for the Cuban people to prosper outside of tourism. The trip was enjoyable simply because there is no other place on earth that looks like Havana with it's influence from so many different cultures and lack of modern renovation. It was, however, hard to ignore the underlying policies that influence so much of what the city has and has not become. From that standpoint, it was an important trip to gain a deeper and more realistic perspective on a place you hear but don't really know much about.
Cafe Bohemia was our favorite restaurant of the trip. I wouldn't say Cuba is a culinary destination, but luckily eggs are a universal staple. It can be a bit hard to know which places to go to avoid an upset stomach, but I read about this place numerous times before we arrived. It is tucked back in a courtyard off the historic central square of Old Havana. The bright turquoise and white is such an appealing combination. You get a bit of the Spanish architecture with ironwork on the gates and caged light fixtures. Everything grows in Cuba with the humid weather, so spaces full of plants is very common. $9 got us this generous and colorful meal of eggs, ham and cheese, assorted fruits, coffee, fresh squeeze pineapple juice, basically an entire loaf of fresh bread. You can see why we came back the next day for the exact same thing.
I only did a mini design hunt since the space is so small and the most appealing part is the courtyard itself. I still was able to find the wooden dining chair that was put in combination with mismatched tables. These light fixtures are very trendy right now, so there are a million different versions and price options. I love the art rail (Ikea sells an awesome cheap one) with art leaning on it that can be removed at night or during rain. This print from Society 6 captures the color and fun of Havana and the Malacon.