Picky Palates: Brunch in Havana + OOTD

Picky Palates: Brunch in Havana + OOTD

Salut, mes chéries! How were all your weekends? (Comment below and share with me what you did!) It has been a wild ride of a few days for me this weekend. I had the pleasure of starting it off at Style Collective’s NYFW Weekend where I met some amazing SC Sisters (shoutout to @sincerelyophelia @breakfastattiffanymaries @btswithbrittany @marissa.baum @anewerkatintown @fashionsoffancy check out their blogs and Instagram profiles!). The middle portion of my weekend was a bit rough due to a few personal reasons, but I was able to take some time to myself and end my Sunday with some of my close friends and a lot of laughter. 

My old summer roommates and I (aka the “Hippos” which you might remember them from a my End-of-Summer Lookbook & Journal post) went on another food adventure, so I figured I bring you lovelies along! This time, we headed to NoHo’s cute little street of restaurants on LaGuardia Place, more specifically a restaurant called Favela Cubana*. The restaurant serves Brazilian and Cuban dishes and features an adorable outside sitting area with red benches and strings of lights. We all decided to be a little more dressed up for brunch since the weather is still so nice, so I decided to add a small #OOTD into my Picky Palates post! (Please excuse my shirt, by the way. I gave up fixing it as it kept rising up when I fixed my hair for pictures…ugh 🙄)

*My thoughts and prayers go out to those in Cuba and surrounding areas who are affected by the hurricane this weekend. For those with friends or family in the areas, I pray they stay safe and pray that communities rebuild quickly and bounce back stronger than ever.


My shirt is from Forever 21, skirt is a Phillip Lim for Target piece, shoes are Vera Wang (Simply Vera), and necklace is from H&M. Fun fact, all these pieces were under $20! My sunglasses, as I’m sure you all recognize by now, are from Perverse Sunglasses.

The Review

With the #OOTD out of the way, let’s focus on the real reason why we are here: THE FOOD. If you are curious as to what’s on the menu, you can actually check out their brunch menu here! We started off with a bowl of yucca fries for the table. They were paired with a delicious green sauce which we never actually got the name of. It was savory and had a little bit of a kick to it and complemented the blander taste of the actual yucca fries wonderfully.

While my friends opted for Cuban sandwiches, I decided to go for a different dish called Camarão a Baiana. The dish consisted of pan-seared shrimp, red tomato sauce infused with coconut milk, slivers of bell peppers, Spanish onions, cilantro, and a side of seasoned yellow rice. The table space was very small and I didn’t want to take too much time away from catching up with my old roommates, so I do apologize for the not-so-aesthetically-pleasant photos of the food. However, I will say the photos don’t do the dish justice!

I’m salivating just remembering the taste of the food as I look at these photos again! The shrimp was seared just right; the texture was still firm the taste was sweet and juicy. While I’m a bit picky and don’t enjoy eating onions or peppers themselves, I do enjoy the flavor they add to food. The way the chef cookd the sauce allowed the unique zest and flavorful flares of both vegetables to infuse in the tomato and coconut milk sauce, creating a savory but not too overwhelming or heavy sauce for the shrimp. In addition, the restaurant is generous with this plate, giving me at least 8 pieces of large shrimp that were filling when eaten with the side of yellow rice.

The rice was a hot commodity at our brunch table. In our little Hippos “family,” we always share our food and my friends loved the rice as much as I did. Yellow rice is a large part of Caribbean cuisines. Saffron, annatto, or turmeric is often added to the rice to give it a beautiful color and taste. I usually describe it as a light, aromatic, and warm flavor that doesn’t overwhelm your palate but adds just enough slight spice to the rice to make it not so bland. In this dish, the yellow rice complemented the saltier sauce and helped cleanse my palate a bit from the stronger flavors of the main dish.

After brunch, we each had a little fun taking pictures, goofing around, and of course trying to fit all five of us into a selfie. We all have such busy schedules that hanging out all five of us is always a time we want to document. Unfortunately, most of us are usually sleep-deprived, puffy, and recovering from the night before when this happens, but cute candids are better than no pictures, right?

From L to R: Sassy Hippo, Crazy Hippo, Tiny Hippo, Classy Hippo, Hungry Hippo

I have my final review below for you all. If you ever come to Favela Cubana, be sure to comment and let me know what you ordered/how you liked it! I hope you enjoyed having brunch with the Hippos today! You’ll be seeing more of them soon in future Picky Palates post. Until then, bon appétit, mes chéries!






FOOD: 8.5/10

DRINKS: cannot comment, did not order



Notes: Should you come here if you’re in town? I enjoyed the atmosphere and service greatly! I think that the brunch options are great and perfect for anyone whether they are suffering from a hangover or simply ravishing after a morning workout. The bottomless brunch option is also fantastic, giving you 90 minutes of bottomless drinks of your choice with your entrée or sandwich. I will definitely be back for a bottomless brunch or a different meal (lunch or dinner) one day!





Erica Huang
Erica Huang

Based in New York City, Erica Huang is the creator and voice behind Bouge & Rouge. This blog is a playground of her thoughts where she invites you to join her on her journey through her 20s. Erica shares her lifestyle, fashion and beauty tips, adventures, and personal thoughts with the goal of inspiring others to always persevere and be unapologetically yourself.

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