A series of articles profiling favorite local haunts.
What’s your neighborhood joint?
An afición for cigars — “penchant” lacks the necessary passion, while “fondness” is at least three shades too tame — is a difficult itch to scratch in Bloombergian New York, which, aside from its high property taxes and low trans fats, is almost entirely smoke-free. There aren’t many Cubans to be found, even at the high-end joints in Midtown, which leaves the connoisseur with the alternative of second-fiddle Dominicans. If you are going to buy such things, you might as well go to the source.
Rosa and Rafael Portes, the married owners of the Q Cigar by Portes shop, at Broadway and 214th Street, own 75 acres in Tamboril, Santiago, a tobacco-growing district of the Dominican Republic. There, they plant, cut, dry and age their own tobacco leaves, which are then exported — much as they were decades ago — to the Inwood section of Manhattan. Here, the leaves are rolled by hand into the Jacos, Don Luises and Torpedo Corojos they have been selling in the neighborhood for nearly 20 years.