One day after this election season's first presidential debate at New York's Hofstra University, Donald Trump was drinking Cuban coffee at Versailles in Miami.
The Calle Ocho restaurant has long been the place for political hopefuls to visit for a cafecito and a photo op. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson visited the iconic eatery just a month ago, causing a misunderstanding between the restaurant's management and his staff because of scheduling snafus.
It seems Trump has more face recognition than Johnson, because the New York real-estate magnate-turned-politician showed up at Versailles to a rousing welcome.
According to a spokesperson for the restaurant, "Trump’s visit was completely unannounced and unexpected. No one was given a headsup about his visit, and by the time a representative from Versailles managed to get there, he was getting in his car and was driving away."
A video captured by Odalis Sanchez and posted on YouTube shows Trump accompanied by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has become a regular sidekick.
Trump, grimacing and looking uncomfortable, said little during the visit. While someone asked for his order — "Take a colada. What do you want? Do you want guava or croquetas?" — others advised him on what to order. Trump seemed to have little interaction with the other diners at the restaurant.
The Versailles spokesperson confirmed that the presidential hopeful ordered a colada and a croqueta and then commented on how strong the colada was and that the croqueta was "good." It wasn't tremendous, Donald?
He then took a box of pastelitos to go and left, but not before generously leaving an $83 tip, according to WSVN 7 News.
Will his Versailles "trump card" play well with Cuban-Americans in a bid for their votes? A recent poll conducted by Florida International University's Cuban Research Institute shows that the politician needs every Cuban-American vote he can swing to turn the tables. The FIU Cuba Poll, which included Cuban-American residents of Miami-Dade (and was conducted in both Spanish and English), was concluded this past August 12. Findings show that although 53.5 percent of respondents are registered Republicans, only 35 percent would vote for Trump. Hillary Clinton came a close second, with 31 percent of polled Cuban-Americans favoring her. An additional 18 percent said they would vote for neither candidate, and 10 percent remain undecided.
This November's election is a pivotal one for this nation. Will Miami's Cuban-Americans vote for a candidate who has made so many racist remarks against Latinos? And, most important, can they really stand behind someone who thinks Miami's coladas are too strong and its croquetas merely good?
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.