Inside is just as small and just as pretty. Three--maybe four--tables made of dark wood; the specials scribbled out on a chalkboard; potted plants peeking shyly out of each corner; and tiny spotlights to focus your attention here, there.
We were here incidentally for breakfast, and breakfast we had: a Guatemalan tradicional, lightly scrambled eggs with onions and tomatoes; queso fresco; sweet plantains and pureed black beans, served with a handful of warm tortillas. The combination made sense: eggs for protein, plantains for sweet contrast, beans for thick substance, and delicate queso--a mild crumbly cow's milk cheese--for briny punctuation. Pile as much as you wish on the tortillas in any combination, let the flavors light up your mouth.
Of course Luz had other ideas--no breakfast for her, she ordered the estofado: beef stew with Cuban rice, yucca fries, and a cup of hot Cuban coffee (not espresso, alas, regular). The fries were crisp and faintly smoky--you wonder if she grilled them--the beef layers of meat and wonderfully tender tendon (not an easy achievement, considering how tough this cut of meat can be) in thick gravy.
And then dessert (for breakfast?): rich flan in caramel sauce, topped with cream and toasted coconut. Finished the coffee alas but we still had tall glasses of iced water to help wash it down.
But that was breakfast and good as it was and unique as it was (a refreshing change from the standard South Central Pennsylvania diner's fare of pancakes and sausages) it wasn't the menu's full range. So we came back in the evening and the storefront was if anything even lovelier (see above).
Ordered drinks: asked for the tamarindo, which was sweet and tart. Luz went with classic pina colada--virgin, as a liquor license cost an arm and a leg apparently (joking, but not by much). The colada came topped with whipped cream, as you can see, a kitschy-fun touch.
Luz had the ropa vieja--a Cuban dish that translates as 'old laundry.' Shredded beef stewed in onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, green peas, bay leaf, cumin and whole green olives till fork tender, served with a cup of black beans, yucca fries, sweet plaintains. Next to the pina colada is a neat little side dish: papas rellenas, or stuffed potatoes, in this case stuffed with ground pork.
Star of the night and only certain nights (Friday being one) is the pernil, or pork shoulder rubbed with sofrito, oregano, adobo, then roasted whole.
What to say? Tender pork, crisped skin, intriguing bits of tendon, served with black beans and rice, a cup of black beans, and a ramekin of briny dip for the meat. Spectacular dish, worth visiting again if l can manage, and I intend to. In the meantime: