Calle Ocho Festival
best eats by far at this million + person block party is the Paella at Casa Juancho. Don't waste time with people who don't know what they're doing...always go to the tried and tested $10 a plate Paella at Casa Juancho's. There is no substitute for this ordinarily $29 per person dish with a 2 person minimum..it is phenomenal...as is the Calle Ocho! Hope you all made it?
Ciao - Hounds
Didn't do the festival, but nearly ended up at Casa Juancho this weekend. Very underrated place. (We did Hy Vong instead for the first time in years).
It was a funny night. We were going to go back to Johnny V @ the Astor for a second try and the Washington Ave. traffic was just brutal even at only 7pm. Literally took more than half an hour to get from 16th to 10th. We gave up on the beach and started heading west, kicked around a few Gables places, then decided - since we'd now grown accustomed to waiting while on the road - to do Hy Vong, which we've also not done for probably 10 years.
And yes, I remember the incredible wait, when it seemed like it was just the owner and 1 other person working both the kitchen and the tables. The funniest thing about it was that it was like an exercise in self-discipline and control, because the owner is just completely unflappable and unapologetic. Just prepare yourself for a long wait, don't go too hungry, and make sure you're with people who can carry on an interesting conversation for a while.
It has actually improved on that front quite a bit. There were at least 2 other people also working the tables. We waited about half an hour to get a table - about 10 of which we spent staring through the window as someone's credit card sat on the table not getting picked up (hasn't improved THAT much). But the food actually came out reasonably quickly once we ordered.
We had cha gio (spring rolls) which were delightful, shatteringly crispy; banh cuon (pork rolling cakes), very tasty pork wrapped in rice flour pasta; pumpkin curry soup (very yummy); cellophane noodles w/ chicken and shrimp (yummy); and cari ga (curried chicken w/ sweet potato), which was a bit of a disappointment, sauce more on the stewed chicken side and not enough curry flavor. We ran out of room (or perhaps time) for the great brownie sundae.
I don't think it was much more than 2 hours (w/o dessert)!