While plenty of Little Havana eateries stay open very late, hungry early birds don’t have much to choose from at the crack of dawn. That’s just one reason I love Arahi’s Bakery, which opens seven days a week at 5am.
The other reason is that its food is yummy and its Cuban coffee is killer-good. Of course there are great, lightweight Cuban bread loaves, baked just hours before the shop opens. Hot breakfasts come with lengths that are toasted and buttered — fragile torpedoes that want nothing but a few shots of sugared Cuban coffee to become a satisfying two-dollar breakfast.
Among sweet pastries, I love the puffy pasteles, filled with sticky-sweet fruit, as well as chivaritos (like a crisper churro), which are crazy-flaky (beware of trying to eat one in the car) and just sugary enough to go with straight black coffee.
Finally, I love this place because it is so truly hospitable. Despite the fact that their English and my Spanish both are minimal, it’s actually fun to try to communicate with the staff. Even when they are harried by the morning rush, which is mostly take-away orders, they go out of their way to make sure those of us seated at tables are well-attended. And when they and I hit an impasse and simply can’t understand one another, they search among regular customers and invariably locate one who knows enough of both languages to translate.
All in all, coming to Arahi’s is a fun experience, not to mention delicious and ridiculously inexpensive.