Steve Roitstein is founder of the Afro-Cuban funk band, Palo! and plays keyboard. He also co-writes songs, makes beats, and "washes dishes." He's been in the music business for decades; Roitstein has worked with and performed alongside Latin music stars such as Ricardo Montaner, Willie Chirino, and Celia Cruz.
You can find Palo! all over town, but they has a running gig the first Thursday of the month at De Rodriguez Cuba at Hotel Astor, starting at 8 p.m. You can also hook up with Roitstein and company at one of his Cuban food tweet ups (@gopalo).
Roitstein also likes to make music in the kitchen. Read about the "Juban" sandwich he created with Douglas Rodriguez after the jump.
New Times: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Steve Roitstein: I had a bowl of Cheerios.
What are some of your favorite dishes to cook?
Well, I do my own version of Cuban food. I don't like to use recipes, so once I make a sofrito,
I improvise on that, throw in some kind of protein. I just kind of
take it from there. I'm pretty well known for my roast pork.
What are some of your favorite restaurants?
I love Cuban food. Since we work a lot in Little Havana, I'm around
there a lot. Like, I might be having meetings for one of our events or
something. One of my favorite places is El Exquisito.
Sometimes we'll do what I call a Cuban food tweet up, get a few
people from Twitter and Facebook together. Last month, we had forty or fifty
people show up and eat Cuban food there.
We play at De Rodriguez Cuba at the Hotel Astor. His food is really
intense because he takes traditional Latin food and gives it this whole
spin, brings it to a different level. My favorite thing there is his
interpretation of vaca frita. He also makes something like an empanada
of rabo that's really good.
Rodriguez and I actually collaborated on something for one of our
events. We collaborated on a sandwich, which you can't get there
anymore--it was a one time thing. We called it the "Juban sandwich." It
went through a few incarnations, but it ended up being mostly Douglas's
recipe with a couple of my ideas.
There's actually a video of me and him in the kitchen while he's making the sandwich.
What's in your fridge right now?
Let me see...some leftover vegetables from when I had friends over for the
Hurricane game the other day. We also had a whole bunch of less
healthy things that day, but none of those things are left over. People
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wanted the hot dogs.
What's your favorite fast food or comfort food?
I'm not that into fast food, but my favorite comfort food is macaroni and cheese. I like it really cheesy.