Best Last Meal on Earth - 2006
El Palacio de los Jugos
Jacques Pépin's choice for a final meal would be "a good piece of bread and some good butter." Ferran Adri? says he would ask for skillet-fried asparagus with olive oil and sea salt. Our ideal last supper involves indulging in anything our heart desires at El Palacio de los Jugos. We would begin with a batido from the jugo portion of the premises. Maybe coconut-mango-guanabana. No need to sweat calories. The juice counter also dishes out greasy, meaty chunks of chicharrones. Make it a double portion. We would take a triple even, except then we wouldn't have room for our appetizer of thick, cheesy arepas. Next stop: The plantain station, where the sturdy bananas are peeled, sliced, and fried frantically, flawlessly, nonstop -- in a closet-size, glass-enclosed room. Best platanos in the city. Plus it's entertaining to watch them being made, and the idea of being entertained at one's last meal is appealing. Juicy lech?n asado, oozing full, robust roast pork flavor, would be the main course, which we would carry to the outdoor tables out back -- along with some yuca in citrus mojo sauce, black beans and white rice (moros y cristianos), and heck, throw in some oxtail stew. We would eat slowly, savoring every delectable bite, just as a host of Cuban families would be doing at the other tables. They know El Palacio de los Jugos is Heaven on Earth -- and thus a perfect setting for our last meal here.