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Cuban Sandwiches
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  • Cuban Sandwiches

    Post #1 - December 5th, 2008, 7:36 pm
    Post #1 - December 5th, 2008, 7:36 pm Post #1 - December 5th, 2008, 7:36 pm
    Today Erik M and I tried several Chicago versions of the Cuban sandwich (a.k.a. Cubano Mixto) -- our main motivation was to check out the construction of each particular sandwich. While there are clear differences between the quality of the components (jamon, lechon, cheese, bread, mustard, and pickles) from one place to the next, I’ve always thought that the proportions of these ingredients and how much care is taken in the preparation (how crispy they get the bread, how well they’re pressed, the level of melted cheese, etc.) are at least as important. Whether you agree with this or not, today’s tour for me was a real eye-opener.


    El Cubanito
    Image
    Cubanito doesn’t rip you off in terms of quantity but they do in terms of quality. The proportions on this ridged-pressed sandwich borders on being gross, far too much low-grade ham along with a pale and tasteless lechon. This isn’t a horrible version but it’s far from being Chicago’s finest Cubano.

    Cafecito
    Image
    Two things strike me immediately when looking at this photo-- the darkness of the lechon and the ideal proportions of the ingredients. No one ingredient overshadows the rest. The meats here are far tastier than any other. Carefully pressed and assembled, this sandwich is always a treat.

    After trying all 4 places today, in my mind, Cafecito’s Cubano clearly blew away the pack. And at around $5.00, this is one of the cheapest Cubano sandwiches in town.


    90 Miles Cuban Café
    Image
    Erik M hit the nail right on the head when he said, “Son, this thing looks like it got hit by a Zamboni!!!” Exactly.

    90 Miles par-cooks their Cubanos for speed, holds them until needed on the counter, and then later finishes them off by flash pressing them for about 1.5 minutes. This method enables you to do a turbo exit out of there, much like an Indy pit stop. The poor construction of this pickleless sandwich along with its skimpy amounts of lechon, nondescript ham, and several slices of haphazardly thrown-on, unmelted cheese made this thing easily the low point of the day. It didn’t help matters either that they were the most expensive sandwich of the day at $6.50.


    La Unica
    Image
    You always seem to wait for at least 15 minutes for this Cubano, but when it comes, it makes complete sense. La Unica has perfectly crisp, flat-pressed bread and completely melted cheese like no other. The solid ratio of solid ham, lechon, cheese, mustard and pickles makes this sandwich a real charmer. And for $4.50, a real steal.

    It’s always nice to go back to La Unica for a good Cubano and a bowl of garbanzo soup.





    La Unica
    1515 W Devon Ave.
    Chicago, IL
    (773) 274-7788

    90 Miles Cuban Café
    3101 N Clybourn Ave
    Chicago, IL
    (773) 248-2822

    Cafecito
    26 E. Congress Pkwy
    Chicago, IL
    (312) 922-2233

    El Cubanito
    2555 N Pulaski Rd
    Chicago, IL 60639
    (773) 235-2555
  • Post #2 - December 5th, 2008, 7:43 pm
    Post #2 - December 5th, 2008, 7:43 pm Post #2 - December 5th, 2008, 7:43 pm
    Nice photos and nice report Mr. P. I too have found El Cubanito to be rather weak for the reasons you listed as well as the severe lack of pickles.

    Cafecito is certainly a strong contender in the few times I've had it, but it still hasn't beaten Marianao out of my personal top spot. (Actually, I usually go for a medianoche at Marianao rather than the standard Cubano).

    You're right that Cafecito probably has the most superior roast pork, but something about the total combination at Marianao comes together for me as the perfect example.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #3 - December 5th, 2008, 7:44 pm
    Post #3 - December 5th, 2008, 7:44 pm Post #3 - December 5th, 2008, 7:44 pm
    Nice pig shots, Pigmon! Reminds me I need to get to La Unica...
  • Post #4 - December 5th, 2008, 7:56 pm
    Post #4 - December 5th, 2008, 7:56 pm Post #4 - December 5th, 2008, 7:56 pm
    You-- or someone, anyone-- should check out Amira's Trio, which remains the undiscovered entrant in this sweepstakes, even as reviews pile up for others not half as good. A good Cuban sandwich-- she tries to make up for the lack of proper bread by par-baking Gonnella loaves on premises and then scooping a lot of the center out, which works pretty decently, actually, at providing a fresh, not too bready enclosure. But better yet is the Cuban-Rican, a Frankensteinian combination of a Cuban with a Jibarito which works surprisingly well (especially if you choose the bread rather than the plantains for your "bread").

    Image

    Amira’s Trio
    3047 N Cicero Ave.
    773-205-6200
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  • Post #5 - December 5th, 2008, 8:06 pm
    Post #5 - December 5th, 2008, 8:06 pm Post #5 - December 5th, 2008, 8:06 pm
    Nice write-up, Pigmon. I always appreciate your analytical approach and your opinions in these matters. :)

    Over the past few years I've been somewhat underwhelmed by Cuban Sandwiches in general. For example, I went to Cafecito last week and thought the sandwich was good but not great. I thought the seasoned mustard was distracting and the cheese wasn't as melted as I wished it were. I did like the ingredient quality, though, especially the bread. I like La Unica's rendition and its crispiness but the sandwich is often too dry for my taste. El Cubanito's sandwich was well-assembled but I agree with you about the lack of great flavors.

    Lately, I have to say that my favorite Cubanos have been the ones I've made at home.

    =R=
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  • Post #6 - December 5th, 2008, 8:22 pm
    Post #6 - December 5th, 2008, 8:22 pm Post #6 - December 5th, 2008, 8:22 pm
    You took the words right out of my mouth Michael. Mariano is blocks from me. Basically in my way heading home from the train and their Cuban Sandwiches and medianoche haven't been topped in my experience. I know it is out of the purview of this study in pork but I would be remiss if I didn't bring up their killer steak sandwich again. Very simple (steak cooked in highly flavored oil, tomato, salt&pepper, and cheese if you wish) but perfectly seasoned and executed.

    The other wonderful thing about the place is it really is a neighborhood gathering spot. Everyone is treated the same (with respect) and is typically very friendly. I have had conversations with people waiting for my sandwich there that I would never have elsewhere due to social norms and that is a wonderful thing.
  • Post #7 - December 6th, 2008, 1:07 am
    Post #7 - December 6th, 2008, 1:07 am Post #7 - December 6th, 2008, 1:07 am
    Two other excellent versions:

    Cafe Laguardia West
    6818 W. North Ave

    Cuatro (brunch only)
    2030 S. Wabash Ave
  • Post #8 - December 6th, 2008, 9:05 pm
    Post #8 - December 6th, 2008, 9:05 pm Post #8 - December 6th, 2008, 9:05 pm
    Mike G wrote:You-- or someone, anyone-- should check out Amira's Trio, which remains the undiscovered entrant in this sweepstakes..."

    Amira’s Trio
    3047 N Cicero Ave.
    773-205-6200

    As you suggested, Mike, the lack of proper bread, kept this Cubano from being really good. I assume that a mandatory element to any great sandwich Cubano would be an ultra-crispy bread. Unfortunately, this one was floppin' like a break-dancer. Completely unacceptable. Especially since the innards of the sandwich were actually quite good with the construction and proportions done exceptionally well. Nice thick cuts of tasty lechon and jamon, nicely pickled and beautifully integrated melted cheese. Without question, a worthy example, especially since it costs only $3.50, the lowest I've ever heard of in town.

    But this place isn't about the sandwich Cubano. This true mom-and-pop restaurant hit it right out of the park with regard to just about everything we tried. The ropa vieja along and the empanadas were clear standouts. The accompanying fresh mojo chimichurri and red chile salsa put this homey lunch over the top. The two types of plaintains - tostones which were the size of silver dollar pancakes and the maduros - were also first-rate.

    We also had an exceptionally nice cafe con leche (which tasted amazing along with the Cubano, btw). She also spoiled us by bringing out a plate of excellent maduros with a little bowl of leche condensada for dipping because that's what she likes to have with her coffee.

    The owner is as warm as warm could be. She sincerely cares about your food happiness while you're in her "home". The pride in her food was obvious every time she passed by with a new plate coming out of the kitchen.

    Nice find, Mike.
    Last edited by PIGMON on December 7th, 2008, 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #9 - December 7th, 2008, 1:01 am
    Post #9 - December 7th, 2008, 1:01 am Post #9 - December 7th, 2008, 1:01 am
    Mike G wrote:You-- or someone, anyone-- should check out Amira's Trio, which remains the undiscovered entrant in this sweepstakes, even as reviews pile up for others not half as good. A good Cuban sandwich-- she tries to make up for the lack of proper bread by par-baking Gonnella loaves on premises and then scooping a lot of the center out, which works pretty decently, actually, at providing a fresh, not too bready enclosure. But better yet is the Cuban-Rican, a Frankensteinian combination of a Cuban with a Jibarito which works surprisingly well (especially if you choose the bread rather than the plantains for your "bread").

    [image removed for ease of reading]

    Amira’s Trio
    3047 N Cicero Ave.
    773-205-6200

    Thanks for the heads-up. Another place that frequently gets overlooked in the Cubano sweepstakes is Con Sabor Cubano in Albany Park. It's been quite a while since I've been there so I wouldn't be able to do it justice in a write-up, but it was good enough that I told myself I should get back there sooner rather than later. Unfortunately it's just not convenient for me to get up there too often...

    And this may sound like blasphemy, but my biggest problem with La Unica has been too much cheese; makes it a big gooey mess and tends to overwhelm the lechon and ham. I sure do love eating at that place though; if nothing else La Unica has the best people-watching of any of the Cuban sammich shops.

    Con Sabor Cubano
    2739 W. Lawrence Ave.
    773-728-2226
  • Post #10 - December 7th, 2008, 2:40 am
    Post #10 - December 7th, 2008, 2:40 am Post #10 - December 7th, 2008, 2:40 am
    Drover wrote:if nothing else La Unica has the best people-watching of any of the Cuban sammich shops.

    I politely disagree :)
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  • Post #11 - December 7th, 2008, 2:59 am
    Post #11 - December 7th, 2008, 2:59 am Post #11 - December 7th, 2008, 2:59 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Drover wrote:if nothing else La Unica has the best people-watching of any of the Cuban sammich shops.

    I politely disagree :)

    Ah, that would be because I don't go to Marianao any more, having been rather underwhelmed by my handful of visits and wondering why people sing its praises from the hilltops. :|
  • Post #12 - December 7th, 2008, 10:16 am
    Post #12 - December 7th, 2008, 10:16 am Post #12 - December 7th, 2008, 10:16 am
    Over the past few years I've been somewhat underwhelmed by Cuban Sandwiches in general.
    I tend to agree with Ronnie. Also re: Cafecito.

    I had a cubano at Cafecito a week or so ago, with Hat Hammond. He liked it a lot more than I. I agree that the pork carried a nice break with it's nicely reported about mojo, but I found that the crappy Gonella bread just failed the remaining sandwich. Absent a better holding vehicle, I cannot find this sandwich worth returning for
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #13 - December 8th, 2008, 1:54 am
    Post #13 - December 8th, 2008, 1:54 am Post #13 - December 8th, 2008, 1:54 am
    PIGMON, nice work as always. I tried Cafecito recently, and I like what the guy is doing there, especially the toast and cafe con leche. And the place is as it should be-- a cafe' in the best sense. Kids, cops, crazy old guys, professors.

    I just had occasion to visit Tampa for Thanksgiving, and I reset the Cuban-meter. Miami in January will be another good trip for sandwiches. First, the good news. After a long lull for Cuban in Chicago with the demise of several old-wave spots (remnants from a time when Chicago had a good number of Cubans in the City), the cuisine is on the upswing here, obviously. The bad news is, I had a better Cuban sandwich from a grocery store in Tampa than one can get here. Yeah, it's the bread. For me, it truly is like trying to get a good taco in a town without a tortilleria. (Don't get me wrong, though. Tampa's got three or four things, food wise, it does really well. Otherwise, not much going on.) I sort of think I know what it was like for Erik M in his Chicago days as he dug deep finding great Thai outside its natural habitats -- in a tip of the iceburg way, I've done nothing to compare substantively. There's a lot of good stuff going on. But there's something missing. I still love La Unica and Marianao, which not everyone gets, nor should they.

    One really simple tip for the locals that is often missing, but is more necessary than, say, mustard -- butter the bread for pressing, please, both sides if you mean it.

    (PS, Mike's torta above with the oblong squishy bun and the slice of what appears to be steak(!), indeed, methinks a slice of Milanesa, looks tasty, but is not a Cuban sandwich. It could be the Mexican kitchen-sink torta called the Cubana, however.)
  • Post #14 - December 8th, 2008, 6:46 am
    Post #14 - December 8th, 2008, 6:46 am Post #14 - December 8th, 2008, 6:46 am
    (PS, Mike's torta above with the oblong squishy bun and the slice of what appears to be steak(!)


    The one that's pictured is Vicky Amira's invention, the Cuban-Rican, a Cuban and Jibarito mooshed together (there's onions and mayo in there too). It sounds like a monstrosity, but is surprisingly good.
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  • Post #15 - December 8th, 2008, 4:37 pm
    Post #15 - December 8th, 2008, 4:37 pm Post #15 - December 8th, 2008, 4:37 pm
    JeffB wrote:(PS, Mike's torta above with the oblong squishy bun and the slice of what appears to be steak(!), indeed, methinks a slice of Milanesa, looks tasty, but is not a Cuban sandwich.)


    If you're impressed with that "slice of milanesa" on Amira’s Trio’s “Cuban-Rican”(pictured above on MikeG’s post), then check out this pork chop served on their Cubano!:

    Image

    The owner, I believe, is half-Puerto Rican, half-Cuban and appears to enjoy preparing hybrid-latino style dishes such as the Cuban-Rican sandwich. Her take on the Cubano is what I would describe as whimsical but tasty in a non-traditional sort of way.
  • Post #16 - December 9th, 2008, 9:49 am
    Post #16 - December 9th, 2008, 9:49 am Post #16 - December 9th, 2008, 9:49 am
    JeffB wrote:The bad news is, I had a better Cuban sandwich from a grocery store in Tampa than one can get here.


    If you could specify good places for food (Cuban or otherwise) in Tampa, I'd appreciate it (a new thread would be fine ;). I'm going to be there in Jan and would love a good sammich!
    Leek

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  • Post #17 - December 9th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    Post #17 - December 9th, 2008, 1:35 pm Post #17 - December 9th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    leek wrote:If you could specify good places for food (Cuban or otherwise) in Tampa, I'd appreciate it (a new thread would be fine ;). I'm going to be there in Jan and would love a good sammich!


    Lee,

    Do a search. There are a few good threads already. Specifically for a Cuban, a visit to the Columbia at lunch time is well worth it.

    Image

    Columbia Restaurant
    2117 E 7th Ave
    Tampa, FL 33605
    (813) 248-4961
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #18 - December 9th, 2008, 2:11 pm
    Post #18 - December 9th, 2008, 2:11 pm Post #18 - December 9th, 2008, 2:11 pm
    Lee, Steve's right. Tampa has been very well covered. I don't have a bunch to add to what I've rec'd prior. Much of that is here in this really good series of threads. http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=12760

    Da Beef's sandwich shop, Brocato's is great. In Ybor, in addition to Columbia, the Tropicana is tops.
  • Post #19 - December 9th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Post #19 - December 9th, 2008, 4:33 pm Post #19 - December 9th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    I've tried a few Cubans around town but haven't liked them much, including most recently Cafecito. The Gonnella or Turano bread is just horrible, though that's a complaint I have about many sandwich places in Chicago. There were two tiny pickles and the flavors just didn't come together for me. (I do like the idea of a small, independently-owned shop near my office, though, so I'll definitely return to try their other offerings.)

    My first exposure to Cuban sandwiches was in Tampa and Key West and it was an entirely different sandwich. None had mustard and the most recent (Five Brothers in Key West, 4-plus years ago) came pressed with mayo and lettuce and was the best I've ever had. As to the crispy factor mentioned above, I remember reading an article in a local Tampa paper about the controversy between those who preferred their Cubans pressed v. not pressed. It's interesting that Cubans in Chicago are pressed to death and dressed with mustard, makes me wonder if different cities have different versions of Cubans like they do pizza.
  • Post #20 - December 9th, 2008, 5:04 pm
    Post #20 - December 9th, 2008, 5:04 pm Post #20 - December 9th, 2008, 5:04 pm
    Fraggle, your memories are your own, but mustard is an extremely typical (though not required) element of Cuban sandwiches. It's not anything to brag about, believe me, but I grew up in Cuban cafeterias in Tampa the way some folks around here grew up in beef stands. Lettuce and tomato (added after pressing, one hopes) is non-traditional and surely not original (as the sandwiches were sold in the morning to cigar and sugar mill workers for lunch), but increasingly an option offered in FL.

    As to Cubans being different in different cities: yes, that's true. There are two relevant cities in the US, Miami and Tampa. In Tampa, there's Genoa salami on the sammy.

    All of this leads me to an almost unthinkable admission: the horrible chain, Cheesburger in Paradise, sports a passable (for a chain, in a Chicago 'burb) Cuban. I learned this at a kid's b-day party in Arlington Heights(?) or nearby recently. The sandwich includes OK roast pork, real Swiss, terrible ham, OK salami and, most important, bread that is somewhat closer to Cuban than what one usually sees north of Orlando. I assume the group that owns the chain has someone ship frozen "Cuban" bread that is baked at the restaurant.

    PS, as has been documented before, the Cuban bread from Tampa and Miami, while closer to each other than other breads, is different. In Tampa, the not-pressed option is often given. But in Tampa, the bread is pretty special and delivered daily.
  • Post #21 - December 9th, 2008, 5:16 pm
    Post #21 - December 9th, 2008, 5:16 pm Post #21 - December 9th, 2008, 5:16 pm
    Fraggle wrote:I've tried a few Cubans around town but haven't liked them much, including most recently Cafecito. The Gonnella or Turano bread is just horrible, though that's a complaint I have about many sandwich places in Chicago. There were two tiny pickles and the flavors just didn't come together for me. (I do like the idea of a small, independently-owned shop near my office, though, so I'll definitely return to try their other offerings.)

    My first exposure to Cuban sandwiches was in Tampa and Key West and it was an entirely different sandwich. None had mustard and the most recent (Five Brothers in Key West, 4-plus years ago) came pressed with mayo and lettuce and was the best I've ever had. As to the crispy factor mentioned above, I remember reading an article in a local Tampa paper about the controversy between those who preferred their Cubans pressed v. not pressed. It's interesting that Cubans in Chicago are pressed to death and dressed with mustard, makes me wonder if different cities have different versions of Cubans like they do pizza.


    It's like my wife, who grew up in Miami, always expects chopped onions for her black beans ("every place served them that way"), but seldom gets such cebellos here even after repeated pleas.

    On a related, but un-related note, while Dearborn MI has a wealth of great Middle Eastern restaurants, few (if any) make a great hot sauce ala Salam. In Dearborn one is more likely to get the white garlic sauce (toum) than any red or green type of sauce.
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  • Post #22 - December 9th, 2008, 6:23 pm
    Post #22 - December 9th, 2008, 6:23 pm Post #22 - December 9th, 2008, 6:23 pm
    Re black beans: chopped onions and a caddy with olive oil and vinegar are required. One problem in Chicago compared to FL is that neither the employees nor the patrons of Cuban cafes in Chicago know what to expect about such things. Similarly, I guarantee your chances of getting the correct condiments with posole in FL are very low.
  • Post #23 - December 11th, 2008, 4:48 pm
    Post #23 - December 11th, 2008, 4:48 pm Post #23 - December 11th, 2008, 4:48 pm
    I tried Cafecito a couple of nights ago for the first time, and went back yesterday for lunch. Yum. The first night I had the Cubano with a side of heart of palm salad and a roasted eggplant salad. Everything was fantastic - the sandwich was well-balanced and the lechon in particular was astoundingly tasty. Sides were great - the eggplant in particular was a stand-out. The woman behind the counter (Mona, I think) was super helpful and made the recommendations on the side dishes.

    The next day I dragged a coworker down and half-starved, I ordered two sandwiches, a Cubano and a Steak Chimichurri. The Cubano wasn't as good as the one the night before - it hadn't been heated through as well and so the cheese hadn't oozed and bound everything together. The steak chimichurri however was spot-on - just greasy enough, hot all the way through, and soaked with delicious chimichurri sauce.

    -Dan
  • Post #24 - December 13th, 2008, 1:17 pm
    Post #24 - December 13th, 2008, 1:17 pm Post #24 - December 13th, 2008, 1:17 pm
    I tried a cubano from Cafe Laguardia West yesterday. This particular version contained low-grade mortadella and what seemed to be your standard american baloney. It also had the standard ham, cheese, and lechon making it one meaty sandwich. I didn't like it much--perhaps mortadella is a legitimate variation, but bologna? And to add insult to injury, instead of pickles, it had a couple Vlasic Stackers laid in.
  • Post #25 - December 13th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    Post #25 - December 13th, 2008, 1:35 pm Post #25 - December 13th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    trixie-pea wrote:I tried a cubano from Cafe Laguardia West yesterday. This particular version contained low-grade mortadella and what seemed to be your standard american baloney. It also had the standard ham, cheese, and lechon making it one meaty sandwich. I didn't like it much--perhaps mortadella is a legitimate variation, but bologna? And to add insult to injury, instead of pickles, it had a couple Vlasic Stackers laid in.


    trixie-pea, not trying to one-up you on Cubano horro-meter, but last fall I had a Cuban sandwich in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that used hot dogs instead of baloney. The worst part: I was so hungry, I ate more than half of it before balling it up in disgust and disposing of it.
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  • Post #26 - December 13th, 2008, 1:53 pm
    Post #26 - December 13th, 2008, 1:53 pm Post #26 - December 13th, 2008, 1:53 pm
    trixie-pea wrote:I tried a cubano from Cafe Laguardia West yesterday. This particular version contained low-grade mortadella and what seemed to be your standard american baloney. It also had the standard ham, cheese, and lechon making it one meaty sandwich. I didn't like it much--perhaps mortadella is a legitimate variation, but bologna? And to add insult to injury, instead of pickles, it had a couple Vlasic Stackers laid in.


    This is puzzling - they have always been excellent for me. Was at least their pork delicious and homemade? It is their house-cooked lechon and crispy fresh bread that impresses me. Can't speak to the Vlassic, but that's a funny catch. Salami and mortadella seem to be canonical if not archetypal meats in Florida and Cuba - I've had a salami version in Miami (and it looks like the one Steve depicted above may be carrying some?) Thanks for giving it a try either way. I think it may actually be cheaper than $5. Their simple lechon sandwich is also very tasty, with grilled onions; I order salsa on the side and drizzle with olive oil they keep on the table.

    As I've mentioned in other threads, the Cuatro brunch cuban (my other recmomendation) is non-standard but excellent. It employs a homemade aioli, roasted pepper, and a smoother, tangier cheese. It's listed as a medianoche as at some other places (some make a distinction between these two sandwiches based on meats or crusty vs. soft challah-y bread, and others don't). It's expensive but you get a big portion and fried plantains or other side; it's more akin to a Prairie Grass riff on benedict than a humble corner sandwich.
    Last edited by Santander on December 13th, 2008, 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #27 - December 13th, 2008, 3:37 pm
    Post #27 - December 13th, 2008, 3:37 pm Post #27 - December 13th, 2008, 3:37 pm
    David Hammond wrote:trixie-pea, not trying to one-up you on Cubano horro-meter, but last fall I had a Cuban sandwich in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that used hot dogs instead of baloney. The worst part: I was so hungry, I ate more than half of it before balling it up in disgust and disposing of it.

    Strangely enough, my very first Cubano was at a brewpub in Marshfield WI (formerly Central Waters brewpub, now Blue Heron, though I don't know if they're still "tied" to the Central Waters brewery), and I thought it was exquisite. I also thought at the time it was one of their own creations that they had thrown together and given a sort-of exotic name ("wow, a 'Cuban' item here in the middle of Bumblesnot Wisonsin!"), and only later did I come to realize that this was a common item in the world of Cuban cuisine.

    Now that I've had several Cubanos from around the city I'm curious to try theirs again. That said, their menu indicates they couldn't help Wisconsinizing it by using grilled onions and horseradish mustard. I'm sure that would offend some of the purists out there ("what the hell do they think it is, a Cuban bratwurst?? :evil: "), but I kind of like the idea of giving it a little bit of a German/Wisconsin kick since you're out in the middle of Nowhere, WI anyway. Some of the best dishes around came from hybridizing foreign and local influences (taco arabes anyone?) so the idea, in this circumstance, seems kinda cool. I think I'd order it without the onions though.

    Dammit, now I'm in a mood for a Wisconsin brewpub road trip.
  • Post #28 - December 14th, 2008, 4:24 pm
    Post #28 - December 14th, 2008, 4:24 pm Post #28 - December 14th, 2008, 4:24 pm
    Years ago I ordered a Cubano and Mojito at Brookfield Zoo. The Mojito imbibed, with minor complaint, but the sammy was inedible, anathema, and vulgar.

    Miss B spent the rest of the afternoon worried that I would eat one of the animals.

    What was I thinking?

    -ramon
  • Post #29 - December 14th, 2008, 4:38 pm
    Post #29 - December 14th, 2008, 4:38 pm Post #29 - December 14th, 2008, 4:38 pm
    Drover wrote:That said, their menu indicates they couldn't help Wisconsinizing it by using grilled onions and horseradish mustard. I'm sure that would offend some of the purists out there ("what the hell do they think it is, a Cuban bratwurst?? :evil: "), but I kind of like the idea of giving it a little bit of a German/Wisconsin kick since you're out in the middle of Nowhere, WI anyway. Some of the best dishes around came from hybridizing foreign and local influences (taco arabes anyone?) so the idea, in this circumstance, seems kinda cool. I think I'd order it without the onions though.


    The Cuban sandwich itself, like most Cuban food, is a hybrid. But it's a set form. It's not a category, such as "panini," hogie, etc. It is a particular kind of sandwich. There are many "Cuban sandwiches" including the pan con lechon, medianoche, Elena Ruiz, croqueta completa, etc., but only one Cuban Sandwich, which has several necessary ingredients and a few optional ingredients. The democracy of the dead, as they say, has made it so. One can put Velveeta and slices of brat on a tomato, mozz, and basil pizza, but it won't be a Margherita; Goldschlager added to a Manhattan kills the drink's existence as a Manhattan.
  • Post #30 - December 14th, 2008, 4:42 pm
    Post #30 - December 14th, 2008, 4:42 pm Post #30 - December 14th, 2008, 4:42 pm
    Drover wrote:Strangely enough, my very first Cubano was at a brewpub in Marshfield WI (formerly Central Waters brewpub, now Blue Heron, though I don't know if they're still "tied" to the Central Waters brewery)


    Wow. I've been there. It's actually a pretty decent brewpub, and IIRC I enjoyed the grub too (a French Dip and the whitefish sandwich, I believe), especially considering my other option was spaghetti and meatball night at the local supperclub (missed the fish fry by a night, unfortunately).

    The only other notable thing about Marshfield that I recall was this place:

    Image
    image from flickr user unimaginative_me

    Okay, back to cubanos now.

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