In October 2017, Havana 1920 restaurant opened in the Gaslamp Quarter and brought vintage Cuban style to San Diego’s downtown. Havana 1920 serves classic Cuban fare with Chef Anthony Porras at the helm. Signature dishes include croquetas de jamón y queso, classic Cuban croquettes made with ham and creamy béchamel; sandwich Cubano, sliced slow roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread; and ropa vieja, shredded beef cooked in tomato sauce with peppers and onion. Honoring Cuba’s favorite spirit, beverage director Ryan Andrews has curated an impressive collection of more than 150 rums, including French-style Rhum Agricole, classic British Navy, and the hard-to-find Appleton Estate Joy. Signature cocktails honor Havana’s heyday with selections like the Havana 1920 Daiquiri, made with Havana Club añejo rum, fresh lime juice and fresh sugar cane syrup; the Havana 1920 Mojito, made with Havana Club añejo blanco rum, fresh lime juice, yerba buena, fresh-pressed sugar cane juice, fresh sugar cane syrup and club soda; and the Painkiller, made with Pusser’s Navy Rum, fresh squeezed orange juice, house-made coconut cream and fresh pineapple juice. Havana 1920 showcases the art and memorabilia collection of Chief Operating Officer Joe Santos, whose grandfather migrated from Cuba to the U.S. Accommodating up to 80 guests, the intimate, 1,000-square-foot restaurant and bar is filled with authentic touches such as a variety of Cuban-style chairs, Cuban cigar boxes and a machine making fresh-pressed sugar cane juice for cocktails.
In September 2017, SouthNorte Beer Co. arrived on shelves and taps in San Diego. The brewery celebrates both Southern California and Northern Mexico and was born from the border culture and mutual influences each region has on the other. Ryan Brooks, the former Brewmaster of San Diego’s Coronado Brewing Co., is co-founder and brewmaster at SouthNorte. Brooks used to live in Tijuana but currently resides in San Diego where he has created beers with playful bilingual names such as No Güey!, a brew inspired by the Mexican street snack, mango sprinkled with Tajín. The brewery specializes in refreshing beers with unique tastes that pay homage to its cross-cultural roots and has already garnered a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Fest in October for its Agavemente specialty beer.
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