Happy 40th Birthday, Versailles! (An homage and a giveaway.)

“I need a blurb from you about Versailles.”

This request came from my friend (the amazing Cuban chef and cookbook author) Ana Quincoces. She was working on a TOP SECRET project and thought I might have something to say about my favorite Cuban restaurant in Miami.

Me: “Tell me what you're doing, so I can put it in context.”

That's when she began to reveal that she was working on a.....(wait for it....) Versailles Cookbook! *insert heavenly choir here*

Me: “Seriously? What a cool project. I suppose I could give you a blurb. But if we're talking Versailles on Calle Ocho, I could do an entire homage without breaking a sweat, but that's not important right now.”


Versailles. It's usually the first place we visit when we arrive in Miami (Hello, Cuban food!) and the last place, too. (Pan con Bistec for the plane ride home.)

Versailles. The first item on our long list of Miami Rules.

Versailles. Of the iconic etched mirrors and the perfect cortadito.


Versailles. Always packed at any time of the night or day. Filled with the sounds of my people. Their loud and inimitable voices raised in conversation, argument, and laughter.

Versailles. The geographical epicenter of our exile.

Me: “I wrote a post about why I couldn't live in Miami and my lack of self-control when it comes to Cuban food in general and Versailles in particular.”

Me, quoting myself: “It's like the Cuban Mecca and I am a faithful pilgrim.”

The next thing I know, I'm being quoted in the Miami Herald in an article titled Versailles: 40 years serving food with a side of politics. (I know. Shut. UP.)

From the article:

“When no one knew who he was, Julio Iglesias used to come and sit here and eat,” Valls Sr. remembers.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is still a regular, and “although I’m a Republican,” Valls Sr. notes, President Clinton has been here three times. Famous chefs like the Food Network’s Bobby Flay make Versailles a mandatory pitstop on visits to Miami.

“It’s like the Cuban Mecca and I am a faithful pilgrim,” says Californian Marta Darby, who writes the blog “My Big, Fat, Cuban Family.”

(emphasis mine)

I'd like to just point out right now that they mention me in the same section as the other famous people who have eaten there, but that's not important right now. ;-)

Ana: “I think we got your blurb.”

Then she went on to tell me that she's still working on the Versailles book and that they're having a big party at the Calle Ocho restaurant this week to celebrate and that they're hoping that....(wait for it....) Andy Garcia will write the forward.

  • Thing 1) Out-of-my-skin excited to be included in this wonderful project.
  • Thing 2) Andy Garcia and I might be published in the same book. (One degree closer, people.)
  • Thing 3) Versailles is 40 years old.

I think we need to celebrate, don't you? I wish the Versailles book existed already and I had that to give away, but it has not been published yet, but I do have the next best thing:

An autographed copy of Ana's iconic Cuban Cookbook: Sabor! A Passion for Cuban Cuisine. (Thank, Ana!)


Sabor autograph

Of course, I'm especially proud of having My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Torrejas featured in this beautiful cookbook, but that's not important right now, either.


(Page 204 - 205, por si las moscas....)  =D

So, to enter this comment drawing, answer the following question:

  • When you celebrate a special occasion, what's on the menu?

Remember that if you want to enter the drawing for the cookbook, you must leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner on Sunday, July 17th, 2011 at 5 pm Pacific.

Happy Birthday, Versailles!

Con muchisimo cariño,