By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Just a few seconds inside Vero's Latin Fusion, a new take-out restaurant, will leave your mouth watering and your stomach crying out to be filled.
The restaurant, which also serves a limited delivery area, currently offers menu options reminiscent of the food in Spanish islands in the Caribbean and Mexico, and will one day offer a dish from every Spanish country in the world.
It may sound ambitious, but for owner Ricardo Rivera, it's a dream that has been a long time coming and he's willing to be patient and see it through.
Spanish favorites, such as alcapurrias, tostones and ropa vieja are great sellers, but the one dish that is flying off the stove is the Cuban sandwich.
The pork used for the sandwich is marinated 72 hours and then roasted for seven hours. It is then combined with ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and a thin layer of mustard between two hearty sections of bread for an amazing lunchtime trip to Cuba.
"We have customers that say it's the best Cuban in town," said Brenda Rivera, Mr. Rivera's wife and partner.
Inside the small order room the walls are vibrantly colored and decorated with photos of food the restaurant prepares and flags of Spanish countries.
At Vero's Latin Fusion, what you see is what you get.
"The pictures are actually of the food I make and how I prepare them," Mr. Rivera said.
One interesting section on the menu is the offerings specifically for people on a paleolithic diet.
The paleo diet excludes grains, dairy and refined sugar, among other foods, and has an emphasis on meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and at least five dishes on Vero's Latin Fusion's menu cater specifically to those with such eating restrictions.
Both lunch and dinner sized portions are available, and both are extremely generous.
A flavorful and rich dish shared by the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, mofongo relleno, or stuffed garlic plantains, is extremely hearty and delicious.
One unusual item on the menu is ensalada de pulpo, or octopus salad. The dish contains imitation crab meat tender and marinated with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, Spanish olives, herbs and spices.
"People are reluctant to try something new, but when they do they really like it," Mr. Rivera said.
Other special items on the menu include a homemade custard with cake, called flancocho, and predominately Caribbean beverages, a carbonated beverage called cola champagne and malta, a non-alcoholic malt beer.
The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Orders can be made in person, telephoned, faxed, or placed online.
Vero's Latin Fusion is located at 1785 Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach. The fax number is (772) 492-8918. For more information, call (772) 492-8917 or visit www.veroslatinfusion.com.