The Son of a Bartender and a Maid

A few months ago I was invited to an intimate lunch reception at Gaviña and Sons Coffee Roasters. As you well know, I never turn down an opportunity to visit them as it's always a wonderful time, so I went. 

The guest of honor was none other than Senator Marco Rubio. He was in town trying to make a Big Decision and was wanting to connect with the Cuban community here. 

Again, it was a relatively small group (as these things go) and we waited patiently for his arrival, made easier by the generous donation of Cuban pastries by Gigi's Bakery, but that's not important right now.


The Senator came in and asked not to be videotaped as he was just talking with us "entre familia." (As family.)


And he spoke to us from his heart. 

He answered every single question thoughtfully and not at all like you would imagine a politician would. He was genuinely wrestling with big questions, big policies, big problems and said so. He didn't know for sure at the time, but was considering a presidential run. 

His family was the biggest factor in this decision. 

He spoke in both English and Spanish as many of us Cuban Americans do in our own homes and with our people. I just loved that.

Picture a group of loud, enthusiastic, opinionated Cubans asking tough questions and pushing for serious answers. I was more impressed than ever that the Senator held his own with us.

And when he was finished, he stopped and smiled and took a moment and a photo with every single person in attendance. I was super impressed by this. Of course, we all loved every minute of it.


The lunch was catered by a local Cuban restaurant (of course) and it was right at the moment I sat down to eat and catch my breath and Senator Rubio was behind me getting his food that I thought, "A Cuban-American may actually be President of the United States one day."


And then the tears began. 

He sat down at our table and I was too overcome to even speak. Here was a wonderful embodiment of the fruit of the sacrifices of our Cuban parents. They came here to America to find a better life and hopefully give their children more opportunities. 

Also, how crazy is it that at the very moment that HE SAT DOWN AT OUR TABLE that I was overwhelmed and weepy and unable to speak. *sigh*


All of this hit home yesterday as Senator Rubio made his announcement that he would indeed seek the GOP nomination for President of the United States. 

Here's a two minute recap from Bloomberg. 

Let me be perfectly clear: I have no crystal ball or way to predict what will happen over the next 18 months, but I'm super happy and proud that so far there are 3 GOP contenders for the Republican nomination and two are of Cuban descent. 

Of course, that's not a reason to vote for anyone. My point in taking the time to write about this today is that it's a big deal for those of us whose families came here fleeing tyranny and hoping for a better tomorrow. Here's one of our own chasing the biggest office in the land. Go, Marco, go! 

From his speech yesterday:

"I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those that come from power and privilege." ~Marco Rubio


I'm also super delighted that I got to be present as history was being made when the Senator spoke to us from his heart about his vision and his profound belief that America is indeed an exceptional country. It's been way too long since we've heard that articulated from the seats of power in this land.

It's a proud and wonderful moment and I'm going to swim around in it until my fingers get all pruney. 

As the daughter of a Cuban engineer and a housewife who came here looking for a new life, I too have dreams for a wonderful future for my own family.


Also, the Senator takes a great selfie. 

Please visit the Senator's website to get involved in this historic campaign.

I'm not looking for a debate here. I'm just telling my own stories. Please be kind.

My Big, Fat, Dodger Blue Cuban Family

I have amazing news! I'm proud and privileged to announce that I was invited to be on the planning committee for Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium this year! (I know. Shut up.)

Seriously, if I was going to add an item to my Bucket List, this would be it. Of course, I didn't know I would have added it until they actually asked me, but that's not important right now.

So our very first meeting was at Porto's Bakery. (If I was writing the script for the movie of my life and adding this chapter, I swear I couldn't have written it any better than this. Pinch me.)

Portos coffee & pastelito

And even though I was completely driven to distraction by the giant plate of pastelitos de guayaba (guava pastries) they placed in front of me, I think I was able to contribute something of value besides, "Can I please have another?"

I have a lovely Facebook friend/MBFCF reader, whose name is Ed. He was following my Hey-I'm-on-the-Cuban-Heritage-Day-at-Dodger-Stadium-Committee excitement on Facebook (if you're not following the relajo on My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Facebook page, you totally should) and he sent me and my family an amazing gift.

Shirts! Beautiful Dodger Blue Shirts! Not only that, they say, "Los Doyers." Also, he sent them for the entire family. I was overwhelmed. (Again, I couldn't have written this part of the book better myself.)

Amy Kikita and I put ours on immediately and Instagrammed the awesome. (If you're not following me on Instagram, you totally should. I'm Smrtqbn. That is all.)

Marta and amy doyer selfie

How cute and happy do we look in our Los Doyers shirts? (Didn't I tell you they were awesome?)

Lucy and Jon decided they would rather do a "photo shoot." Of course.


Lucy darby dodgers

"Look at my shirt!"

Jon e darby doyers

I don't know which makes me happier - being on the Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium this year, or having such a thoughtful and generous reader bless our family in this way. (I'm thinking it may be a tie.)

Also, having my kids be so excited and proud to represent makes my cup runneth over.

Amy kikita

Jon e darby

Lucy darby

Eric got a shirt, too. But he was busy doing some work in the garden, so he missed the photo shoot. (Or did he?)

Lucy darby doyers

Thank you to the Dodgers ("Viva Los Doyers!") and the Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium Committee (if you're not following them on Facebook, you totally should) for including me in this awesome event.

Thank you to my friend, Ed for the beautiful and generous gifts.

Color me happy! (Of course, you realize that happy is now officially Dodger Blue, but that's not important right now.)

A Pastelito by any other name...

There are thousands of fantastic restaurants in Southern California. And I'm sure the fair city of Glendale has a bizzillion wonderful eateries. But, if we're going to be in Glendale for any reason, we must always stop at Porto's Bakery and load up on Cuban Provisions.

There's no better Cuban bakery in So Cal.

Lucy, Jonathan and I were in Glendale a few weeks back. So we (of course!) stopped at Porto's. (I'm almost certain it's a state mandate, but that's not important right now.)

And guess what we stocked up on?


Guava Cheese "Strudel?" They can call it whatever they like as long as I can have one with my cafecito.

Lucy & jon

Wait. One? Who are we kidding?



Lucy and The Wardrobe (and the Mamey Smoothie)

I was in Burbank with my girls recently. Our intention was to get a quick bite (and some provisions to bring home) from Portos. Portos is a divine Cuban Bakery that's not too close to where we live, but very drivable in a pinch. And we had business in Burbank so we weren't even cheating.

Of course we were deluding ourselves. A trip to Portos takes time and great care and planning. And we always spend lots of time enjoying all the wonderful Cuban sandwiches and pastries. It's a treat to be relished with great relish.

As soon as we walked in we saw... The Photo.

Lucy and The Wardrobe

Mamey Smoothie? GUAT??

The world began moving in slow motion.
Must. Try. The. Smoothie.

So my girls and I ordered sandwiches (Pan con Bistec for me, Ropa Vieja for Lucy, Pan con Lechon for Amy) and, of course, mamey smoothies for all!

Mamey smoothie from portos

We were privileged to visit the Disney Archives a bit later. And we got to touch the wardrobe. You know THE WARDROBE. From "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe!"


So, just to recap: Mamey Smoothies from Portos and the Disney Archives all in one Magical Night. Oh, and the smoothies? To die for!

Everything couldn't have been more perfect. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised to step into the wardrobe to find La Calle Ocho on the other side. (Quick departure into that fantasy....makes me laugh out loud at the thought.)

Or maybe that was wishful thinking? Either way, we got our smoothies and a trip around the Disney Pictures Backlot. Win/Win.

What a wonderful way to spend a summer day. (And night.)


No run-ins with any Ice Queen either, but that's not important right now. Que Rico!