At Adelita's Café in midtown Miami, you can get a taste of Honduran life. Upon entry, you sense the uncomplicated, laid-back attitude characteristic of that culture. Cheerful salsa music, staff chatting with customers, and telenovelas on TV give the small café a relaxed, friendly vibe.
Of course, the place serves typical Honduran fare, from pupusas to baleadas to tacos. I ordered the chicken tacos (three for $4.50), a delicious meal of crunchy flautas filled with chicken, topped with salad, and a thin, savory salsa. I washed it down with my waiter's favorite beverage, jugo de maracuya (passion fruit juice, $2.50). The drink was a little on the sweet side, but the passion fruit was tasty.
I also got to know owner Adela Alcantara and my waiter, Carlos Hernandez, on a more personal level. Their stories swept to the side the thought of judging
food, as I grew more and more inspired. Alcantara came to
the States in the 1982 after a hurricane that year caused famine,
political problems, and ultimately her unemployment. She sought to find a
better future for her family. Coming here with a government visa, she
soon satisfied the small Honduran community's demand for home-style
cuisine by opening a coffee shop in North Miami in 1985. Adelita's in midtown soon followed. The menu is totally Honduran; she sources her
ingredients from her homeland.
Alcantara says the U.S. government should pass a more liberal
immigration law for economic reasons. Undocumented immigrants spend a
lot on consumer goods such as TV sets and airplane tickets. It's only practical
to grant amnesty.
Waiter Carlos Hernandez tells a humbling tale. The voyage
from Honduras to the States through Mexico was, his words, "una odisea" (an odyssey). When Mexicans see Central
Americans, Hernandez says, it's like fish they have to catch.
It took the waiter three tries to get here; he encountered robbers,
corrupt police, and vigilant immigration officers on his way.
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One night, robbers with machetes forced him to strip down and watch his friend get
raped. It was a horrible experience, he says. Hernandez's story makes me thankful I live in a safe, prosperous country. I hope it does the
same for you.
2699 Biscayne Blvd., Miami