In 1962 my Grandparents Gollo & Maruca Echevarria decided they were going to uproot & leave behind their lives in Cuba to look for something better for their children Gregorio & Caridad (my Mom) in the United States.
A few short years later the Gonzalez family (which included my father Serafin) would find their way to New York also as my grandfather Serafin Gonzalez Sr., who wrestled professionally under the name Cruz Diablo found himself without a job because of the Castro regime in Cuba.
My parents met in the early 1970s right after the passing of my grandfather Serafin, married in 1972, had me in 1974 and my sister Michelle in 1975. The newly created family unit (Gollo, Maruca, Serafin, Carded, mini-me & Michelle) moved to Miami in 1975 and settled in the Westchester area to be with the rest of our family who had already also left Cuba in the hopes of something better.
I was lucky to have spent over 30 years with my maternal grandparents who told me about their lives in Cuba, what a beautiful country it was and all about the culture.
My grandmother Maruca cooked and I was introduced to Cuban cuisine through her. She is responsible for my addiction to Black Beans & Rice. And much like many of you feel about your grandmother, I believe she made the Best Flan in all of the land with Lila’s a close second.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my grandfather Gollo was the palate of the family, years before all these crowd sourcing sites existed to find out where to eat. He was the man. He had his ear to the ground and always knew where we should eat or when some restaurant was past its prime. His obsession was Pastelitos and you could find him daily at his favorite bakery La Suiza picking up Pasteles de Carne (Beef Pastries) in the afternoons.
One of my favorite memories was sitting with them and watching the Buena Vista Social Club documentary about the forgotten musicians of Cuba filmed in and around Havana (Capital of Cuba).
In 2001, my Abuela passed away and then a few short years later in 2004 my Abuelo passed on. It was heartbreaking for us.
When my wife Marcela and I began creating Food events I knew that one had to revolve around everything that I grew up with. I wanted to capture the spirit of being Cuban and really wasn’t sure if it would be possible at all. We knew we had to be meticulous about the decor, the food and of course the music…..so Frita Showdown was born.
Frita Showdown is, was and always will be dedicated to not only the memory of my grandparents Gollo & Maruca but to all of those who sacrificed themselves so that their families could have a future and better life in the United States.
Why would I give you this long introduction to Frita Showdown winning The305’s 2014 Best Foodie Event?
This is more than just an event to us and we are very proud to see it receive this accolade.
Thank you to all the restaurants & food vendors, everyone in Team BB who worked on the event and of course to those of you who attended.
See you in August for the 2015 Frita Showdown.