August 17, 2021 Journal Entry, from the owner, Lynna M.
"A field that has rested gives bountiful crops"
– Roman poet, Avid –
Dear Guests, I hope that you have had opportunities to rest this summer and enjoy getting out during this short post-vaccinated phase. In July, Lilah and I received a much-anticipated visit from South Florida, from my sister, Nikki, and her family (with us in photos at Sand Harbor Beach)
You may have noticed that several weeks have lapsed since my last newsletter. Whenever I scheduled time to write, inevitably something more pressing took its slot. So here is what’s been goin’ on behind the scenes:
We have been working on getting our catering software application ready to share with you! What started out in 2018 as a quick fix to my tedious replication of excel sheets for creating catering orders and invoices, is now turning into an application that we can extend to you so that you may use it to place customized catering orders for any size party / event / venue!
We have been collaborating with the new owners of the Pilgrim Bakery to create our own authentic Cuban Bread Recipe for our sandwiches! If you think you’ve already had the “Best” Cubano sandwich, in a few months, it might just get better!
And speaking of the “Best” Cubano, just yesterday, August 13th (what would have been my mom’s 83rd birthday) we received the final cut of our latest video: The Making of the “Best” Cubano Sandwich. Produced by Tri Nguyen, photographer extraordinaire, who worked his magic to create a delightful “behind the scenes” video of what goes into preparing our signature sandwich for you!
This month after almost 4 years we are bidding farewell (and happy returns whenever he can!) to Drake Zhao, who will finish up his senior year of college at UC Santa Barbara! If you have regularly visited the Cuban Kitchen, then you have fallen in love with Drake and his hospitality! Yeah, everyone! He’s that lovable!! We will miss Drake, and his shoes are already proving difficult to fill. We invite you to wish him the very best -UCSB is lucky to have him. Good luck Drake!
And as one loved-one departs; another joins us in the form of a bottle, or more than one in a gift box. Finally, you can purchase and share (or keep to yourself) your favorite “qban” sauce in a convenient, environmentally friendly, reusable glass shake bottle instead of a plastic portion cup or deli- container.
And speaking of environmentally friendly… what do YOU think of our new bridgeable packaging? We really do want to know! Please let us know if you like / dislike? Or if plastic packaging is a deal-breaker for ordering take-out? The biodegradable packaging more expensive and part of the reason we must increase prices – that and the price of meat has literally doubled.
Upon the suggestion from one of you, our loyal guests, we are in the midst of applying to be cast on Restaurant Impossible. We hope that if we are selected to appear on the show, that Robert Irvine might help the Cuban Kitchen get back into the black. If you would like to appear on our video submission, please contact us.
We are struggling to keep up with the current menu. We simply don’t have enough staff to produce the extensive variety of menu options and customization, nor do we have enough volume to warrant hiring more staff simply to produce an extensive menu. We may consider offering some menu items on certain days of the week to better manage labor costs, and to limit burn out of our crew. Plus, we are down three key employees now. So if you have a personal favorite menu item, please vote now to keep it as a "daily" menu option versus a rotational menu option.
The visit from my sister and her family in July was a blessing and definitely the highlight of this summer; and while this photo of her visit certainly captures the love and joy in that moment, like any photo it is merely a snapshot of our lives. In the spirit of transparency and to acclimate you to what may be some changes in hours of operation or type of service we offer, it is with a sober spirit that I share the recent setback that my daughter Lilah has experienced with depression. As restauranteurs, it is our job and our pleasure to serve the public; at the same time, this job (especially this past year) comes with other challenges that sometimes makes it difficult to be “on” when you’re truly “off” your “A” game. qba (quick but authentic) Cuban Kitchen has always been my dream. Lilah has been by my side since our food truck days in 2010. And although she continues to believe in me and in our vision of multiple units serving as many people as possible, authentic Cuban food, fast and fresh, it has never been her north star. Lilah is a creative force, a talented writer, and thespian at heart. These skills are visible in her clever marketing for Cuban Kitchen, and in her witty repertoire. Unfortunately, the pandemic, the fear of us losing everything we’ve worked toward and the limitations to socialize and network for her personal growth has taken its toll. She is taking steps to take care of her and is on the mend. She is strong and bright, and I have every faith that she will recover and come out of this even stronger. I wish you good health. Please continue to support us by placing your orders online whenever possible and please continue to tell your friends, colleagues, family and neighbors about our delicious Cuban Cuisine! at qba, a Cuban kitchen -home of the “best” Cubano! Best, Lynna