Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch serves up Cuban dishes

By Monica Armstrong

Hungry diners came to the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch last week
to spice up their lunch by indulging in the Cuban food theme
manager’s special, “Havana Eats.”

The RKR set the Havana mood by playing a selection of Cuban jazz
music during its lunch service.

The special offers a three-course meal including an appetizer,
entree and dessert for $14.95.

Patrons started their meal with slices of avocado and mango
perched atop a bed of assorted field greens, dressed with an exotic
passion fruit vinaigrette, topped with an array of colorful and
edible flower petals and a touch of sea salt to bring out the
flavors.

The crispness of the assorted field greens blended well with the
creaminess of the mango and avocado slices. The passion fruit
dressing was light and sweet tying together all of the exotic
flavors.

As an entree, the ropa vieja sandwich paired with seasoned
plantain chips well with the combination of savory, spicy, sweet
and salty flavors.

Ropa vieja beef and plantains are two big staples of the Cuban
diet. The exotic fruits of mango, avocado are also popular in Cuban
cuisine as well as the delectable fried empanada, which is
generally served as a savory entree.

The ropa vieja, Spanish translation for “old clothes” sandwich,
was stuffed full with tender shredded flank steak, braised in
tomatoes and spices, and accompanied by a sofrito mayonnaise with
garlic, peppers and onions added a creamy spiciness. A slice of
tomato finished the filling between two halves of a warm crusty
French baguette.

The plantains were fried to a perfect golden-brown, contrasting
a crispy texture outside with a chewy middle. The sweetness and
saltiness of the seasoned chips gave a pleasant balance to the
meaty sandwich.

The sandwich was a spectacular blend of flavors and textures.
The beef was soft and tender like a spicy brisket. The mayonnaise
cooled off the heat of the meat, while tomato gave the sandwich a
fresh taste. The outer crust of the baguette delivered crunch to
each bite, while the soft inner part melded each flavor
together.

The meal ended with a warm flaky empanada pastry, filled with a
chunky strawberry compote, drizzled with chocolate, served a la
mode with Dr. Bob’s creamy Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream.

The dessert was as decadent as the rest of the meal. The freshly
fried pastry was fort tender. Each bite exploded with a little bit
of sweet creaminess from the ice cream and slight tartness from the
berries.

The RKR delivers a quality product, diners often forget that
this is a 12-unit class for HRT students. It simulates a real world
restaurant for students, who are learning how to run a restaurant
from food service for customers in the dinning room to food
preparation in the kitchen.

Each week throughout the quarter, students in the class rotate
through a different position. Students are required to work both in
the front and back of the house, which means they do everything
from serving to cooking. Every week there is a different set of
managers who are responsible for concocting the weekly special.

This week’s management team consisted of four students who
created the Cuban inspired menu for their manager’s special last
semester in the pre-requisite operations course to the restaurant
class.

At first their management team debated having a Mexican/Hispanic
menu, but then decided that it was too common and had been done
before by previous teams. They wanted their menu theme to be a
fresh, new and exciting idea.

Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch serves up Cuban dishes

Stacey Olivas/Poly Post

Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch serves up Cuban dishes

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