Did you know that April 8th is National Empanada Day? I had no clue until a recent visit to Cuba Libre for a blogger event. During this event we were treated to some of the fun things that guests will be able to experience during the month of April in honor of National Empanada Day.
This April, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar will celebrate National Empanada Day with an entire month’s worth of the delicious Cuban savory pastries. From April 1 until April 30, guests can enjoy the limited-edition Lobster Empanada, a jet-black version of the famous pastry that is lavishly stuffed with lobster meat and based on a fan-favorite recipe from when Cuba Libre Philadelphia first opened 14 years ago. Then, on Wednesday, April 8, Cuba Libre will honor National Empanada Day with $1 empanadas throughout their Happy Hour, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. The bar will also feature drink specials, including $5 Mojitos and Caipirinhas and $4 Sangria, Wine and Beer to complement the empanadas.
Then, on Thursday, April 23, a limited group of guests will learn how to create their own empanadas with Chef Gonzalez and his talented kitchen crew. Seating in the class is restricted to just 30 guests to ensure that attendees get the personal attention and experience necessary to become empanada pros; tickets are available online for $50 per person, including tax and gratuity, and include personalized instructions and all necessary materials to make Cuba Libre’s beef, chicken and cheese empanadas. In addition, guests will enjoy the restaurant’s signature mojitos, plus complimentary Mariquitas Cubanas, house-made tropical chips served with a trio of dips.
During the event I attended we were able to make our own empanadas, try our hand at mixing their signature Mojitos, and sample the Lobster Empanada and the Mariquitas Cubanas. Holy yum!
We started the evening out by making our own empanadas. We had three fillings to choose from (beef picadillo, chicken, and cheese) and Chez Gonzalez walked us through the whole process. Once we made our empanadas they were taken back to the kitchen to be cooked. After trying my empanada my first question was “Can I make another?” But of course! I made a beef and cheese empanada my first time and followed it up with a chicken and cheese. I have to say that I really enjoyed the beef and cheese!
While our empanadas were cooking we went to the bar to try our hand at making their signature Mojitos. Once again we were walked step by step through the process and ended up with one of the best mojitos I’ve had, plus we had a lot of fun making them.
With our Mojitos in hand we made a pit stop for some Mariquitas Cubanas, house-made tropical chips served with a trio of dips, before heading to our table. We were sitting only a few minutes when I waiter walked up and asked if we would like to try the Lobster Empanada. Of course we would!
I must admit that at first glance the Lobster Empanada looks a bit… odd. The Lobster Empanada is a jet-black version of the famous pastry that is filled with lobster meat. As soon as you bite into this thing you totally forget about the different color of the pastry. WHO CARES! I could have easily eaten my weight in those things.
Finally the empanada I made came out of the oven and was ready to be eaten. I was shocked at how good it looked! I’d never be able to make this happen again at home, but they assured me that it was the egg wash we put on top that made it look that pretty. As I mentioned before, one just wasn’t enough so a couple of us went back to the empanada making station to start on round two.
I really enjoyed my first visit to Cuba Libre and getting to try out all the fun things they have in store for National Empanada Day and the entire month of April. If you have a chance, definitely stop by and check them out. Thanks to Cuba Libre for inviting me out for this great event!