Cost: $15 per person
Earlier this year, a bunch of the third year students gave us advice on how to study for our board exams. I remember one story about the answers to the general question, "If you could do it again, what would you do differently?." The response that was so memorable was when one student said, "I'd leave my apartment." People weren't exactly sure what that statement meant until the student clarified that they spent all day every day studying, and even went as far as ordering delivery for every meal. The point I'm trying to make with this story is that people are crazy about this test.
Well my friend Maddie deserves some credit for maintaining the most sanity. She was even able to host her parents visiting from out of town. When they came, they wanted to eat at somewhere ethnic and not too fancy. I suggested 90 Miles Cuban Cafe. The Jones family was also kind enough to invite Kayleen, Kim, and myself along with them to dinner.
Disclaimer: I've written about 90 Miles already, but it was a very different location and setup. I thought a separate post was in order.
Unlike the little shack on Clybourn, this location is a pretty full blown restaurant. There's a small dining room up front, and a huge enclosed patio in back where we sat. The atmosphere is really lively with colorful lighting and good music. They've got "dicey" Cuban movies playing silently in the background as well. The place is BYOB with no corkage fee.
The service was a real team effort, and the manager came by to make sure we were doing alright. The food came out at slightly different times, which proved slightly problematic. The cost is totally reasonable with most entrees around $13 and sandwiches around $7.
We started things off with a sampling of Empanadas and Mariquitas. The empanadas were fried, crispy, and thoroughly stuffed. The mariquitas were thinly sliced and fried plantains topped with a garlic sauce. The plantains were super thinly sliced, and kept a subtle sweetness.
For the main course we had a wide sampling of the menu including the Bistec, the Ropa Vieja, the Chuletas Frita (fried pork chop), the Masas de Puerco (pork medallions), Filet de Pargo (red snapper filet), the Bistec Sandwich, and the Pork Rib special. My bistec was loaded with garlic, and was seemingly more savory with each bite. The issue was that mine came out first, and it came out a little cold. Mrs. Jones seemed to really enjoy the Ropa Vieja (pulled beef in a tomato sauce). Kim was a big fan of her flavor filled ribs that came slathered in sauce. Maddie's cousin John liked the pork medallions a lot, and it was a huge portion. Unfortunately, it was a long table, and I didn't get much input from the other side's dishes. Every plate came with rice, beans, and plantains that were simple and tasty compliments to the entrees.
The Filet de Pargo
The Chuletas Frita
The Bistec Sandwich
The Ropa Vieja
The Pork Ribs
The Masas de Puerco
There's a universal excess of flavor in anything that comes out of the kitchen at 90 Miles. The food was just as great as the Roscoe Village spot, and this place has good service plus a sweet atmosphere. As far as BYOB spots go, this makes it toward the top of my list as well. I'm sticking with the 4.5 Pearls I gave them at the other spot.