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Cocina Cubana Spices up Seaside

September 18, 2019 by Manny Chavez

There's a new eatery in Seaside and they have what you need to spice up your next meal!

When Amavida Coffee & Tea changed locations within Seaside recently, Jay Eichelberger and company saw an opening for their Cocina Cubana eatery which opened with a limited menu shortly before Labor Day, 2019. Their (Jay, his wife Liz, his mother Lupe and Chef Rob Masone) have now developed a full-bore Cubana Menu.

Having just completed their first “Season” as the owner/operators of Seaside’s Crepes de Soleil Airstream Food Truck, the group can fully appreciate the ebb and flow of the “Grab & Go” restaurant business.

“We’ve seen the highest highs and the lowest lows in terms of foot traffic. You can be slammed all day and then switch to very quiet days. To properly prepare for this was tough, but now, with this location (across from our Crepes du Soleil location), we have a working kitchen and food prep area that can be shared by both establishments,” explains Liz.

“Plus, we have interior air-conditioning! It just lifts your mood.”

The Cocina Bowl concept allows you to pick a BASE of yellow or white rice, couscous & quinoa or mixed greens and top it with a PROTEIN (vegan, citrus chicken, shredded pork, shredded flank steak, or Cuban-style crab cakes), add a VEGGIE (black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, broccolini, parmesan Brussels, diced tomatoes, roasted corn or avocado, add then add TOPPERS of classic mojo, grilled jicama & pineapple, papaya salsa, chimichurri, roasted tomato-habanero, or dried chili mustard.

Lupe, who was born in Havana, has been instrumental in the menu formulation. “We are offering a Cuban tradition with a twist,” she says.

Sandwiches include the Cubano (pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, spicy chile mustard on Cuban bread), Medianoche (the Cubano on sweet bread), Cubano con Croquets (Cubano stuffed with croquets), and the Pan Con Tortilla (egg, ham, Swiss cheese, and onions).

Sides include the Croquettes (crispy, creamy fritters with ham), the Tostones (fried plantains), and the Chicharrones (pork rinds).

“We wanted people to have a healthier option if they wanted. You’ll be able to create a bowl exactly how you want it whether you are gluten-free or dairy-free, or whatever. We have all the goodies too, so you can really load it up if you want to,” laughs Liz.

A quick “getter upper’ for Seaside morning strollers is the Café’ Cubano, a small Cuban Coffee with sugar. Or, go for the Cortadito (the Café Cubano mixed with several tablespoons of hot steamed milk) or the Café’ con Leche (the Café’ Cubano and a cup of hot steamed milk to pour and enjoy). Frozen drinks include the Frojito (frozen mojito), Frozen Cuba Libre, or the Frose’ (Crêpes du Soleil’s now famous Rose’ Wine Slush has been incorporated into the menu). Beer offerings include Modelo, Corona, Corona Light, and Hatuey Cuban Ale. Bottled water can also be purchased.

Customers can choose to eat at the outside tables or “grab and go” with the flow with fellow Seasiders.

Finger food options are a must for anyone visiting Seaside…there are numerous places both north and south of Scenic 30A to stop and enjoy your meal. Shady, sunny, beachy, busy, tranquil….you name it….all are available at Seaside and Cocina Cubana is a must stop along the trail. Grab that bowl, sandwich or side, and enjoy the fruits of yet another Eichelberger/Chef Rob enterprise!

Stop and talk with Jay…he has a definite “Cubana” look. Sporting a beard that would make any Cuban proud….and, with an accent, he could be rolling a fat one on the streets of Havana! Instead, he’s at home here at Seaside, rubbing elbows with SoWal visitors and locals, his friendly chatter adding to the overall ambience of this place called Seaside.

Cocina Cubana is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. -7 p.m. in season and is located on the south side of Scenic 30-A, across from Crepes de Soleil on Airstream Row in beautiful Seaside, FL. Visit www.cocinacubana30a.com or Facebook.

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Manny Chavez's picture

Manny has been a working photojournalist his entire career and is now writing stories/taking pix for SoWal.com. He and his wife Kris live in Seagrove and have “seen a lot come and go.” Lots of stories have been told, with lots more to come!

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