Thursday, December 30, 2010

Over the River: Habana Blues

I'm not really a "foodie." My food interests tend toward the plebeian.  For example, over the holidays, I was one of the poor unfortunate souls stuck in the New England HellaBlizzard (though, thankfully, not one of the poor unfortunate souls STILL stuck in the HellaBlizzard), and when Mama Lou asked what I wanted her to chef up for some cabin fever comfort food, I said, "Remember that thing you used to make with the Velveeta and the canned tomato soup?"  (It's good. Mmmmm.... )

Anyway, so my food/restaurant posts can always be viewed with a bit of skepticism, I'm sure.

Two nights ago, Roommate and I availed ourselves of cheapo rates at the Horseshoe Casino and did an overnighter.  Casino trips, especially non-Vegas trips, are always a pretty even mix of depressing and fun.  But we found the cheap drinks at the Envy bar and a dolphin slot machine that liked to give us money (pretty dolphins, good dolphins, we like the dolphins), so a good time was had by all.  I'm not ashamed to admit that one of the draws to the casino was the Savannah-toned siren call of Paula Deen's buffet.  And we weren't disappointed.  Good southern comfort food.  Fresher and better done than most big ass buffets.  And (really) a totally cute little Paula gift shop.  Hey y'all!

But, it turned out that the culinary highlight of the trip was not the raw oysters on Paula's salad bar, but the great little Cuban restaurant in New Albany where we had lunch the next day.  Habana Blues is right in downtown New Albany on Market Street.  For lunch, all sandwiches come with either black bean soup or a side salad for just $7.50.  Roommate had the Cuban sandwich, and I had a wonderful grouper sandwich.  And... best of all, the dark, strong, fruity sangria is only $11 a pitcher all day Monday-Wednesday!  Super great deal considering a single glass was $6.  Half a pitcher of sangria-- three glasses or so-- and I was zonked for the afternoon.

What I liked best about Habana Blues was not the great, reasonably-priced food or the good, cheap sangria, but the fact that our waiter clearly LOVED where he worked.  He chatted up the place to us with a huge smile.  Outdoor patio.  Live music til 2am.  DJs on weekends.  And most exciting of all: a dinner paella that takes an hour to cook-- you can call in advance, and they'll start it for you!

Really, when your waiters are as happy as this guy was, you're doing something right.  I'll totally make the bridge trek to visit Habana Blues again-- especially for the paella and definitely during the summer when I can eat outside.


Shiloh Walker said...

hmmmmmm sangria....

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to trying the restaurant! Thanks for posting about it.

And cheapo Horseshoe Casino rates? Was it booked through their regular website or some other promotion? That sounds like it would make a fantastic winter weekend getaway.

M said...


Roommate is on their mailing list, and occasionally they send out promotional rate notices. You can follow them on Facebook; they post the rates there too. Right now you can get 25% off with the promo code 25OFF or 30% off of 2 nights (if you book 2 weeks in advance) with the promo code EARLY30. If you don't mind a little drive, Belleterra Casino is nicer, in my opinion. And they currently have better room rates-- especially for weekdays! xx Lou