Sunday, April 20, 2008
Habana Outpost was packed to overflowing and (real talk) it was hot, weather(beautiful), people(jam packed), food, yes man, the food as delicious and satisfying as I remember. It was great. Sometime when I'm out eating I think of how easily I could create the meal I'm having.
Not so at Habana, they make a simple thing like a burrito, corn and a corona seem damn near gourmet. That's how I feel, what say you?
In addition to the food, the people and the wait (which was back, more on that in a second) There were a host of eco-friendly groups providing info in the form of guides to eco-friendly city living, "Learn to dispose of your electronics without destroying the environment!" as well as some heavy examples of green living like a classic detroit convertable, that runs on veggie oil.
Eco-info and a converted convertable running on veggie oil
As for the wait, yes it was there and yes as I wrote previously, you need only to expect it, and have somebody to talk to while you wait around like a reality show finalist hoping you're name is called, before the suspense (and appetite) kills you.
My waiting moment came and there I stood patiently by the converted mail truck made to look like an authentic Contempo/Mexican food stand straining my eyes upward and hoping that next corn could be mine. I was one of at least seven others, our heads bobbing side to side, occassionally side steping the onslaught of other folks wandering throug the open air space, all of us waiting. One by one everyone around me got their food. I started to feel like that kid in a group who's never picked for sports. When I asked how much longer, the lovely host whose name is a mystery to me, demurely screamed at the cooks; it was the only way she could be heard over the roar of the crowd and sizzle of the corn, chicken, peppers, etc...
She yelled my name and the cooks looked at their tickets, scanning them and then replying "YEH! OKAY!! COMING!".
The host nonchalantly turned back to me and politely said, "very soon, maybe five more minutes". So I figured I'd go back and tend to my other hot commodity, my seat, which was being loosely guarded by a stranger. I waited at my seat, which of course is too far away to hear my name called, and so I came back to check on my food. And sure enough, it still wasn't ready. The considerate host asked again, screaming to the cooks of course, and then again politely she apologized and said "soon". Soon, I had heard "soon" about three more times. I was noticing people who were behind me in line getting their meals, huge tray-fulls of yellow rice, roasted peppers, grilled juicy beef, marinated chicken... can you see how hungry I was? And I noticed something else, something key, have you guessed it? Yeh, my ticket was in my pocket. This means (if you've never been to Habana, or like me, haven't been in a long enough time as to forget) that there is no direction for the cooks to follow to make your order. What were they saying "YEH! OKAY, COMING!" to? Who knows? Who cares, I was the dope who didn't give my ticket in, so I mentioned to the hostess, yeh I think I know what's wrong and she continued her polite streak by giving me a sympathetic look and later, passing me my tray delicious edibles. So of course the less of the day was make your order clear before expecting anything, that's the ticket.
And as for the crowd and the questions I raised in my previous post, the magic of opening day seems to have had the affect of bringing in old and new. I left in the afternoon (so crowded!) came back later in the evening and as soon as I exited the South Portland stairway I walked into a strong pound from Tyren, (those who know, know when you see Tyren you're among family) I also noticed new faces (to me) and it was reunion day from there especially when the bunch of smartly funny folks, who provided my seat turned out to be the same folks I first and last met on the original opening day back in 2006. Even managed to get my boy from Philly to come through and experience Brooklyn's Habana. (Muchos gracias a ti: Sofia, Paola, cool unknown brotha who held my seat down early, the effervescent Darcy and of course, Elvis for the good time! hope to see y'all all summer-long!)
Considering how much I've been thinking about change good and bad, essential and unnecessary, if yesterday is any indication of the summer to come I will be happy to see Habana Outpost remaining the exact same cozy window from which to view all that does and doesn't change in the current Brooklyn evolution.