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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Colada Cuban Coffee House and Eatery is a fast casual restaurant with old school roots in the heart of Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale.

Owner Alex Recio can pour a mean cup of Cuban coffee and cook up some wonderful old family recipes with a modern twist back in the kitchen as well.

“We started as a traditional Cuban bakery in Hollywood. We’ve been in the business for 35 years, so I grew up working in that bakery. I took my experience of working with traditional Cuban food and tried to apply it in a fast causal type of a setting here,” said Alex.

Colada is smack in the center of Fort Lauderdale’s trendy new Flager Village neighborhood.

“It’s sort of being called the Wynwood of Fort Lauderdale,” Alex said.

The look of Colada is where modern meats tradition. Old family photos fill the back wall with black and white photos of an era gone by.

“One of most unique things in our book nook is a phonebook from Havana Cuba from 1958. It was the year before Fidel took over.  So we get a lot of Cuban Americans who come in here and shed tears as people see their grandparents’ names. For example my grandparents were both dentists back in Cuba and their dentist practice is in that phonebook,” he explained.

The Cuban American inspired menu offers a varied selection of authentic Cuban food and drink, including homemade sangria!

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo begins her tasting with Alex with a classic ropa vieja. It’s shredded beef in a tomato sauce served with black beans and brown rice on this day.

“I love it with the brown rice,” said Petrillo.

“I prefer it with brown rice I’ve been trying to transition away from white rice now we’re in the New Year trying to get our New Year’s Resolutions on,” said Alex.

Next, its Tostones Flatbread, this one topped with shredded pork, mojo aioli, avocado, red onions and pappitos.

“I love the different textures. The plantain is soft, the meat gives it more texture and then the crunches on top,” said Petrillo.

“I also like the different temperatures. So you have a hot with the pork then you also have a cool avocado and slaw,” said Alex.

The Cuban classic beef empanadas do not disappoint.

“It’s just the amount of spice I love it,” stud Petrillo.

“It’s been a family staple of ours for 35 years,” said Alex.

They have a tapas-style serving of shrimp maduro skewers cooked in a mojo citrus sauce with a cilantro garnish, and they manage to save their appetites for an impressive dessert tray. Petrillo goes for the flan cheesecake.

“Oye, that is good, dale!!” she said laughing.

Colada is opened 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and now sit down dinner.

They also have a Cuban inspired brunch on Sundays. For more info visit http://www.coladahouse.com

Lisa Petrillo

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