Even after years of friendship, pals can discover surprising new things they have in common, from sharing the same childhood street, to sharing the same childhood father. Discovering a shared passion for restaurateuring, the longtime friends behind Isla Mia Latin Cuisine.
Just off an I-35E off-ramp, Isla Mia's helmed by Cuban & Puerto Rican natives who met 15 years ago as Sprint employees, but only this year realized they both had casual-eatery dreams; the realization's an airy dining room reached via a family photo-festooned entryway, and boasting a square central bar lit by layered red & smoked Plexiglas, plus a pair of hand-painted dominoes tables (shoot the moon, avoid the 'Noid). Face-stuffing starts with apps (fried plantains stuffed w/ beef or shrimp, chicken cracklings, Venezuelan cheese sticks, cream of pumpkin soup), then moves on to entrees like Cuban shredded beef and a trio of pan-fried meats (steak either breaded or w/ caramelized onions, and marinated/spiced chicken); rounding out you/your meal are sides like garlic-sauced fried yucca and ground beef-filled baked sweet plantains, who can't believe they just ate four plates of themselves. Meanwhile, sandwiches come w/ regular or sweet potato fries, and meatily range from the beef/onion/fried plantain El Jibarito to the pork/ham/cheese Cubanisimo, while desserts include vanilla/coconut flan and cheese-slathered papaya -- a fruit legendary for its contraceptive properties, though to really thwart conception, just slather all your meals in cheese.
As for your most passionate pursuit, the bar slings Don Q'd mojitos & margaritas and a bevy of whiskeys, plus Latin-preferred beers like Tecate, Dos XX, and...Heineken (according to the supplier, it's beloved by "Latin Internationals"). Or, go for non-booze like Cuban espressos and the sweet-milk malt "La Morena", or "the brunette" -- just like you, and several other similarly featured kids who grew up down the block.