Friday Feast - Caribe Caribbean Bistro

LandandLiving Staff - Friday, March 30, 2012

Ay, Feasters! What a gwan?  .....We're just taken our swollen appetites over to Caribe Caribbean Bistro on Raymond Ave in St. Paul. Caribe, which translates to Caribbean Sea. Opened in April of 2010 at the hands of Tony and Heidi Panelli, who's passion for Caribe and Caribbean food was apparent by the time we were finished. Sharone Lemieux, aka. Dining Room Diva and front of the house manager, did a spot on job describing the menu as if the recipes were hers. Her personality, energy, and hospitality was as if you were in the Caribbean and had me already wanting to come back before I had even tasted the food. Let's get down to business.............

Conch Fritters-Served with banana ketchup and pickapeppa remoulade

Having already tasted Conch, which is extremely tough but has a sweet mild clam flavor, I was worried. The Conch Fritters, at Caribe, were properly tenderized and offered crispy, creamy and chewy textures. The flavor was slightly sweet and seemed to me like the perfect Caribbean junk food with an elegant twist. The sweet and savory sauces were a nice compliment. 3.5 out of 5 forks


Trinidadian sandwich made with fried bread and stuffed with channa, a curried chickpea mixture. Topped with jerked banana and mango chutney and a side of hot pepper sauce.

A lot going on in this popular Trinidadian street food . Sweet, salty and spicy when adding the hot pepper sauce. Flaky, yet chewy. Hot pepper sauce was intense and the mango chutney tasted fresh and gave the dish some sweetness. 3.5 out 5 forks
Grilled Cuban Sandwich

Roasted pulled pork, smoked ham,Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles on Cuban bread.

Whether you eat it or smoke it, everybody loves a good Cuban. Caribe's version of the Cuban was very good. The meat was juicy, I felt the mustard, cheese was gooey, and noticed the crunch of the pickle. I was one of the better cubans I have had. 4 out of 5 forks

Mofongo Special of the Day

Classic Puerto Rican dish made with plantains that are first fried,
then mashed with garlic, salt pork, olive oil, salt, and pepper,
using a mortar and pestle; then stuffed.

I initially thought the server swore at me when describing this Puerto Rican dish. Filling for this dish vary and included pulled pork when we were enjoying it. Very unique dish which came with kidney beans and white rice. The mashed plantains formed a helmet over the pulled pork and rice. The flavorful beans, mashed plantains and rice made this a filling dish.  Pulled pork was nice and moist. Not an overly flavorful dish compared to the other but a fun dish nonetheless 3.5 out of 5 forks.l

Caribe was unexpected treat. The food was good and atmosphere fun and service was good and fun. Don't pass this place without stopping. It is a refreshing and fun culinary treat.

Friday Feast - Los Ocampo

LandandLiving Staff - Friday, March 23, 2012

Buenas tardes y bienvenidos a esta semana viernes fiesta. This week we bring the most authentic Mexican restaurant, self proclaimed, in the Twin Cities. Food and family are very important in my country so I decided to bring my family, and by family I mean brother, to Los Ocampo located on Suburban Ave in St. Paul.

ALAMBRE AL GUSTO-A delicious dish made with your choice of meat,red and green bell pepper, onion, bacon, ham, and mozzarella cheese, over ten small corn tortillas. Limes, radishes, red or green sauce on the side.

This dish had tortillas spread out on the plate and then a pile of meat, bacon, ham, and we chose carnitas, veggies (not necessary), and cheese. I found myself wishing I was hungover. It didn't provide an abundance of flavor but did provide us the opportunity to shove cheesy bacon infested meat into our faces. 3 out of 5 forks

TORTA AL GUSTO-This Mexican sandwich is served with your choice of meat, lettuce, tomato, avocado, jalapenos, onions, beans, and mayo.

We chose to have our torta made with steak. At first bite I noticed it was a bit greasy tasting. Greasy is Spanish for awesome by the way. Bread was flaky and chewy and I liked the creaminess added by the mayo avocado. Being that a torta is a Mexican sandwich, sandwiches being awesome and me being chubby...I enjoyed it. Not the best torta I've had.... 3 out of 5 forks.

TAMALES- 2 authentic chicken tamales in green sauce or red sauce. Served with rice and beans.

Never been served a tamale like this. It appeared enchilada style which was a good thing because it provide much flavor other than the sauce and cream on top of it. 2 out of 5 forks.

Los Ocampos food was just middle of the road for me. The decor was very new and updated and provided a full bar. Service was nice and the menu is huge. They gave us a few different salsas with our chips but the only one that stood out was a light green one that a creamy texture and plenty of heat. Make sure to ask for extra of this.