100 Favorite Dishes: Ropa vieja at Victor's

As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2010, coming this spring, Hot Dish is serving up a hundred of our favorite local dishes. Send your own nominations to hotdish@citypages.com.

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Ariella Schreck

No. 85: Ropa vieja at Victor's

Internet legend has it, ropa vieja -- which translates as "old clothes" -- originated with an old man who had nothing to cook for his family, so he took some old clothes, added some love, and when he cooked them up, they turned into a hearty, beef stew. Well, we'd like to make our own contribution to ropa vieja lore. We tend to think of the rich, tomato-y shredded beef dish as evocative of the comfort of wearing your rattiest, softest most precious hooded sweatshirt leftover from high school or your comfiest, most loose-waisted pants (or as one friend calls them, "soft pants"). Victor's version of the Cuban national dish -- which comes with rice, salad, and soft, sweet plaintains -- is some combination of the two: cooked with love, cloaking you with comfort. It's made even more appealing by the fact that it's the type of dish that could really be from anywhere: straightforward ingredients, mild flavors, hearty takeaway. Slip into something more comfortable with Victor's ropa vieja.

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:

No. 100: Volcano Salad at Tiger Sushi
No. 99: Eclair at Butter
No. 98: Moussaka at Gardens of Salonica
No. 97: "Flappers" at Colossal Cafe
No. 96: Bento Box at Obento-Ya
No. 95: Sausage, salami, onion, and green olive pizza at Black Sheep
No. 94: Crab Cake at the Kitchen
No. 93: Passion fruit cake at Pardon My French
No. 92: Kafé 421 Signature Dips
No. 91: Lutefisk at Landmarc Grill
No. 90: May Day Cafe Croissant
No. 89: Dowjic at Babani's
No. 88: Osso Bucco at the Modern Cafe
No. 87: Chef Shack Hot Dog
No. 86: Adult Mac & Cheese at Good Day Cafe


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