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Cuban Sandwiches
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  • Post #121 - April 2nd, 2017, 5:19 pm
    Post #121 - April 2nd, 2017, 5:19 pm Post #121 - April 2nd, 2017, 5:19 pm
    Had the Cuban sandwich from Cohiba this afternoon.

    Bread very so-so, not enough pickles, but the ham & pork were really good quality so an enjoyable sandwich, especially in light that I haven't had one in quite awhile.

    I now really have a jonesen to get to Tampa for a good one, which thankfully will be towards the end of this May.

    Cohiba
    2835 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (773)935-8866
    http://www.cohibarestaurant.com/
    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #122 - April 3rd, 2017, 5:18 am
    Post #122 - April 3rd, 2017, 5:18 am Post #122 - April 3rd, 2017, 5:18 am
    It hasn't been mentioned under this thread (own brief thread link below), but Taste of Cuba on Touhy in Lincolnwood (100ft west of Wholly Frijoles) has an authentic reliably very good take.

    I can't vouch for the bread, probably not the pure version for the same reasons seemingly nowhere else has it. This version is well put together w/ proper ratios of ham, pork, Swiss & pickles. It doesn't come apart after a bite.

    Be forewarned that hours are limited, 11a-7p (8p Fri/Sat).

    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=33506&p=466511
  • Post #123 - April 3rd, 2017, 3:18 pm
    Post #123 - April 3rd, 2017, 3:18 pm Post #123 - April 3rd, 2017, 3:18 pm
    Has anyone been to La Unica recently? I haven't been in years but enjoyed their version previously.
    "And if you don't know, now you know." -BIG
  • Post #124 - April 3rd, 2017, 6:26 pm
    Post #124 - April 3rd, 2017, 6:26 pm Post #124 - April 3rd, 2017, 6:26 pm
    mkess wrote:Has anyone been to La Unica recently? I haven't been in years but enjoyed their version previously.


    I try and I try, but I'm just not a fan of Cuban sandwiches. That said, on a recent maiden voyage to La Unica, the sandwich was as solid as I've had, more balanced than this one in Tampa, but on a par with a recent trip down there to West Tampa Sandwich Shop. That is to say, pre-assembled sandwich grilled to order on nice-enough crusty bread with luke warm innards and not-melted cheese.

    More successful at La Unica was the garbanzo bean soup, which while hard to get over its Trump-ish day-glo orange hue (some sort of super annatto?) was chock full of garbs, not cooked-to-death cabbage, and bits and bobs of assorted cured pork products. Nice stuff on a cold afternoon.
  • Post #125 - April 4th, 2017, 7:22 am
    Post #125 - April 4th, 2017, 7:22 am Post #125 - April 4th, 2017, 7:22 am
    Regarding the garbanzos, yeah, lots of annotto seed. The brand name Bijol is popular. I think the day glo hue at La Unica these days possibly reflects a Colombian or Peruvian influence in the kitchen. They love yellow/orange stuff. Look at their pops. The dish is actually pretty plainly linked to the Iberian potajes and some yellow evokes the original saffron which isn't much used and I doubt explains the orange at La Unica. But it's a prestigious color for sure. Very classy.
  • Post #126 - April 15th, 2017, 2:12 pm
    Post #126 - April 15th, 2017, 2:12 pm Post #126 - April 15th, 2017, 2:12 pm
    Woke up in the mood for Cuban sandwiches today and decided to do a side-by-side-by-side of 3 versions in Logan Square . . .

    Image
    Kerely's
    Generous, nicely proportioned and well-made. This sandwich, $7.99 with fries, is ample and overall, completely respectable. The pork itself was a bit bland and dry.

    Image
    90 Miles Cuban Cafe
    This sandwich, $11.00 with choice of fries or mariquitas, is a bit of a mess. There's not much cheese to speak of, either. Do they get extra points for grilling the pork and the ham before constructing the sandwich? I'm not sure if that's legit or not but I think it ended up drying out the pork more than it enhanced it. In any case, it's sloppily constructed, difficult to eat and pretty skimpy, too. The mariquitas (not shown in this picture) were crispy and tasty, though.

    Image
    El Cubanito
    This sandwich, $7.00 including tax, is the least expensive of the 3 shown here. And it may be the least photogenic, too. Quantity-wise, it's right in the middle of what I know to be El Cubanito's range. I've have had bigger sandwiches there and I've had smaller ones, too. Still, it's well-proportioned (plenty of pickles, though they're not visible in the picture) and the pork was moist and nicely seasoned. On this day, this was the winner.

    =R=

    Kerely's Cuban Cafe & Pizzeria
    2934 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618
    (773) 394-4040

    90 Miles Cuban Cafe
    2540 W Armitage Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 227-2822

    El Cubanito
    2555 N Pulaski Rd
    Chicago, IL 60639
    (773) 235-2555
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #127 - March 6th, 2019, 12:07 pm
    Post #127 - March 6th, 2019, 12:07 pm Post #127 - March 6th, 2019, 12:07 pm
    Since there isn't a dedicated thread for this restaurant, this seemed the next-best place to put it...

    All three locations of Senor Pan have officially entered CFRDW™ status ("Closed for Remodeling" Death Watch). Claimed re-opening is April 1st. Skeptics shall be watching...
  • Post #128 - March 7th, 2019, 7:14 am
    Post #128 - March 7th, 2019, 7:14 am Post #128 - March 7th, 2019, 7:14 am
    cubano.jpg Versailles' Cubano


    This beauty was from our January trip to south Florida, to Miami's Little Havana and the Versailles Restaurant, made famous in Jon Favreau's foodie movie 'Chef'.

    Best Cubano I've ever had bar none, ingredients totally in balance. A treat.

    Versailles Restaurant
    3501 SW 8th St.
    Miami, FL
  • Post #129 - March 7th, 2019, 8:45 am
    Post #129 - March 7th, 2019, 8:45 am Post #129 - March 7th, 2019, 8:45 am
    Publican Quality meats is currently running Zingerman's D-$'s cuban conundrum, all March as part of their sandwich swap. Had it yesterday, though not as good as at Zingerman's, still a damn tasty sandwich.
  • Post #130 - March 7th, 2019, 8:45 am
    Post #130 - March 7th, 2019, 8:45 am Post #130 - March 7th, 2019, 8:45 am
    The Versailles sandwich shows good proportion, pressing and bread. Note the thicker cuts of ham and lechon - really only possible with high quality meats, sort of like the hand cut pastrami from that place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan made famous by When Harry Met Sally. (Kidding: I’d never heard of 2014’s Chef before, though I like the cast, while 50 year old Calle Ocho anchor Versailles has been some kind of famous for decades.)
  • Post #131 - March 7th, 2019, 11:12 am
    Post #131 - March 7th, 2019, 11:12 am Post #131 - March 7th, 2019, 11:12 am
    The Cuban sandwich at Jibarito time in Des Plaines has always held up well with the right amount of ingredients.


    Jibarito time formerly Santiago's
    Oakton and Webster streets
    Des Plaines,IL
  • Post #132 - March 12th, 2019, 8:32 pm
    Post #132 - March 12th, 2019, 8:32 pm Post #132 - March 12th, 2019, 8:32 pm
    boshow48111 wrote:Publican Quality meats is currently running Zingerman's D-$'s cuban conundrum, all March as part of their sandwich swap. Had it yesterday, though not as good as at Zingerman's, still a damn tasty sandwich.

    Purists will scoff, but it's absolutely delicious.
  • Post #133 - March 12th, 2019, 8:53 pm
    Post #133 - March 12th, 2019, 8:53 pm Post #133 - March 12th, 2019, 8:53 pm
    bweiny wrote:It hasn't been mentioned under this thread (own brief thread link below), but Taste of Cuba on Touhy in Lincolnwood (100ft west of Wholly Frijoles) has an authentic reliably very good take.

    I can't vouch for the bread, probably not the pure version for the same reasons seemingly nowhere else has it. This version is well put together w/ proper ratios of ham, pork, Swiss & pickles. It doesn't come apart after a bite.

    Be forewarned that hours are limited, 11a-7p (8p Fri/Sat).

    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=33506&p=466511

    Taste of Cuba has moved from Lincolnwood to Irving Park next to Beograd Cafe. BTW these are the same folks who own Cuba312 in Roscoe Village.

    Mima's Taste of Cuba
    2925 W Irving Park Rd
    (773) 654-3075
  • Post #134 - March 17th, 2019, 7:30 am
    Post #134 - March 17th, 2019, 7:30 am Post #134 - March 17th, 2019, 7:30 am
    Cuban at Cubano Brothers in Elk Grove is certainly in the field of best Cuban sandwiches in Chicago.

    Thread on Cubano Brothers: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=44906
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #135 - March 17th, 2019, 6:07 pm
    Post #135 - March 17th, 2019, 6:07 pm Post #135 - March 17th, 2019, 6:07 pm
    I know next to nothing about Miami's offerings (I haven't been there in decades), so when my son, who's visiting there now, recently asked me for some recommendations, I was grateful for the recent chat here about Versailles. For the first time I can ever remember, I'm actually jealous of a picture of something he ate . . .

    Image
    Cubano @ Versailles in Miami

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #136 - April 29th, 2019, 2:26 am
    Post #136 - April 29th, 2019, 2:26 am Post #136 - April 29th, 2019, 2:26 am
    Drover wrote:Since there isn't a dedicated thread for this restaurant, this seemed the next-best place to put it...

    All three locations of Senor Pan have officially entered CFRDW™ status ("Closed for Remodeling" Death Watch). Claimed re-opening is April 1st. Skeptics shall be watching...

    A little behind schedule but true to their word, all three locations have recently re-opened.
  • Post #137 - April 29th, 2019, 8:13 am
    Post #137 - April 29th, 2019, 8:13 am Post #137 - April 29th, 2019, 8:13 am
    Just thinking back on my first Cuban sandwich...

    On Roosevelt in Cicero a little Cuban place opened up in an old bar, nothing fancy, just a panini press. Limited menu as you could imagine.

    Even though this was preLTH days I stopped by to check out the new place and try their food. I always try the signature item and the Cubano was it.

    Even though it was simple made with deli meats and cheese the bread was special and the whole thing came together very nicely with a good balance.

    We were visiting at least once a week with this new found love.

    Well they didn't last long and we were able to track down other restaurants to sate our need.

    That is the origin story. How about a story on too much of a good thing?

    At North Ave and Oak Park Ave (where Cafe Hoang currently occupies) a western outpost of a popular Bucktown restaurant Cafe Laguardia (Permanently closed) had opened. We had visited a few times and finally made our way around to their Cuban Sandwich.

    Beautiful, thick cut bread, hand sliced premium ham, chunks of freshly roasted pork and topped off with a brown mustard. Piled so high it was a challenge ot eat. Fantastic but thinking back on the simple sandwich I decided simpler is better.

    Sometimes better is not necessarily better.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #138 - April 29th, 2019, 8:25 am
    Post #138 - April 29th, 2019, 8:25 am Post #138 - April 29th, 2019, 8:25 am
    Edgebrook Diner had a Cuban on their specials menu yesterday. Mr. X ordered it and from the couple of bites I had, I can say it was very good. I believe it had egg on it so not exactly traditional.
    -Mary
  • Post #139 - April 29th, 2019, 8:33 am
    Post #139 - April 29th, 2019, 8:33 am Post #139 - April 29th, 2019, 8:33 am
    The GP wrote:Edgebrook Diner had a Cuban on their specials menu yesterday. Mr. X ordered it and from the couple of bites I had, I can say it was very good. I believe it had egg on it so not exactly traditional.

    I am far from an expert but...
    Bread
    Sliced Ham
    Sliced Pork
    Sliced Cheese
    Mustard
    Thin sliced Pickles
    Bread

    Toasted
    ... is what I believe to be traditional.

    (edited to add pickles)
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on April 29th, 2019, 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #140 - April 29th, 2019, 9:08 am
    Post #140 - April 29th, 2019, 9:08 am Post #140 - April 29th, 2019, 9:08 am
    I think you have add mayo and pickle slices. I slowed cooked a port butt a few months ago in orange juice, lime juice and garlic. I then made carnita's with it. There was enough left that I took on the Cubano for the first time. I bought a loaf of crusty french bread and hollowed it out. I then applied mayo, swiss, ham, pickle, the shredded pork butt, provolone, and slathered mustard on that side of the bread. Melted butter in a fry pan and put a cast iron pan on top of the sandwich with two 32 oz cans on the pan to apply pressure. Flipped after a while and applied the same pressure. I would say it looked much better than any of the above pictures and my guess it tasted better that any of those. The ingredients were top notch and the process was perfect is probably why.
  • Post #141 - April 29th, 2019, 10:02 am
    Post #141 - April 29th, 2019, 10:02 am Post #141 - April 29th, 2019, 10:02 am
    Puckjam wrote:I think you have add mayo and pickle slices.

    Not traditionally in my experience.

    While yours sounds delicious this is meant to be a simple sandwich. What you have done is akin to adding those ingredients to a hotdog and calling that traditional. :) Similar to Cafe Laguardia in my post above.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #142 - April 29th, 2019, 11:20 am
    Post #142 - April 29th, 2019, 11:20 am Post #142 - April 29th, 2019, 11:20 am
    Panther-

    Thinly sliced pickles are standard on a Cuban sandwich. The pickles at Edgebrook Diner might have even been homemade. They added a great acidity and crunch.
    -Mary
  • Post #143 - April 29th, 2019, 11:30 am
    Post #143 - April 29th, 2019, 11:30 am Post #143 - April 29th, 2019, 11:30 am
    Panther in the Den wrote:
    Puckjam wrote:I think you have add mayo and pickle slices.

    Not traditionally in my experience.


    We hashed this out to (near) death upthread a few years ago. But "everything" in Tampa, at least, includes mayo, lettuce, & tomato. Maybe Miami keeps it slimmed down or perhaps we should check ideas like "traditional" and "authentic". Foods like these evolve.

    As I state in that thread, I don't think I'm the biggest fan of this sandwich. Our go-to in Tampa is West Tampa Sandwich Shop, which on GNR-ian vibes alone is a must stop for me. But I can't say I've ever had a Cuban there that's exceeded a B-. I find even the better examples of this sandwich are a bit too salty (its the ham) and in need of more lube.

    That said, I had a truly awful one at Cafecito's Streeterville outpost a few weeks ago. And the offending element in that sandwich is typically my favorite part– the lechon, which was dry, spent, thinly sliced like lunchmeat, and woefully piled high. Bad stuff. D-.
    Last edited by Jefe on April 29th, 2019, 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #144 - April 29th, 2019, 11:37 am
    Post #144 - April 29th, 2019, 11:37 am Post #144 - April 29th, 2019, 11:37 am
    Had a tip-top Cuban sandwich last week at Mima's, a newish Cuban joint on Irving Park. Jibarito hit the spot and tostones terrific.
    MimasCuban1.jpg Mima's Cuban Sandwich


    Mima's Cuban Sandwich, count me a Fan!

    Mima's Taste of Cuba
    2925 West Irving Park
    Chicago, Illinois 60618
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #145 - April 29th, 2019, 11:56 am
    Post #145 - April 29th, 2019, 11:56 am Post #145 - April 29th, 2019, 11:56 am
    The GP wrote:Panther-

    Thinly sliced pickles are standard on a Cuban sandwich. The pickles at Edgebrook Diner might have even been homemade. They added a great acidity and crunch.

    In hindsight you are right about the pickles. I will edit my post above to include them.

    I don't remember mayo although I love mayo. Mayo and mustard?
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #146 - April 29th, 2019, 7:17 pm
    Post #146 - April 29th, 2019, 7:17 pm Post #146 - April 29th, 2019, 7:17 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Had a tip-top Cuban sandwich last week at Mima's, a newish Cuban joint on Irving Park. Jibarito hit the spot and tostones terrific.
    MimasCuban1.jpg


    Mima's Cuban Sandwich, count me a Fan!

    Mima's Taste of Cuba
    2925 West Irving Park
    Chicago, Illinois 60618

    They've been around for years; they used to be in Lincolnwood about 3 doors down from Wholly Frijoles.

    BTW they're the same folks who own Cuba 312 in Roscoe Village.
  • Post #147 - April 29th, 2019, 8:28 pm
    Post #147 - April 29th, 2019, 8:28 pm Post #147 - April 29th, 2019, 8:28 pm
    Sula has more on Taste of Cuba and its connections in his column this week . . .

    at chicagoreader.com, Mike Sula wrote:First it was Jorge Soler. Back when he played right field for the Cubs, he really liked the churrasco plate at Cuba 312. Soler told Javier Baez and Willson Contreras and Pedro Strop, and before long all sorts of Latin American players and coaches started hanging out at Billy and Jamie Alvarez's Roscoe Village restaurant. Then they discovered the couple's first restaurant, Taste of Cuba, in Lincolnwood, which served a more traditional, homier menu. That was until the couple shut it down and reopened in Irving Park in February, in a narrow space formerly home to a succession of taquerias and hot dog stands (including a satellite of the once-ascendant La Pasadita empire).

    Mima’s is where Cubs go for Cuban

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #148 - April 30th, 2019, 10:37 am
    Post #148 - April 30th, 2019, 10:37 am Post #148 - April 30th, 2019, 10:37 am
    The Cuban sandwich at Cafecito is the best one I've had in Chicago.


    Going to give Taste of Cuba a try since it's right down the street from me.
  • Post #149 - May 2nd, 2019, 9:53 am
    Post #149 - May 2nd, 2019, 9:53 am Post #149 - May 2nd, 2019, 9:53 am
    OK. Cuban sandwich stuff gets me out of my LTH slumber, even now. Here’s the orthodoxy. A lot of experience and research has gone into this over the years.

    —Required ingredients:

    Cuban bread (almost an instant and universal disqualifier; are “tacos” in Germany made with lavash really tacos?).

    Ham - a good baked city ham is best, but boiled Krakus style is common.

    Swiss/Emmenthaler.

    Sour pickles (Mt. Olive is a typical choice).

    Lechon, pulled or sliced, though more of the latter these days. This typically makes or breaks the sandwich, usually breaks. Run from any place using the old deli “roast pork” coated in paprika.

    Yellow mustard.

    —Established traditional options:

    Genoa salami (once required in Tampa, fading as a standard item there; but see the highly regarded Little Bread in Miami, which includes it).

    Butter/margarine. Both sides.

    Mayo-often mixed 50/50 with yellow mustard, a universal Cuban condiment.

    Sliced turkey (Tampa addition that exists more in historical legend than reality; kept alive and relevant by the great Wright’s in Tampa).

    Lettuce and tomato (originated in Tampa, now also common in Miami, including Versailles; with mayo, this is a “deluxe” - I dislike this, but it’s very common in the places that define the sandwich).

    Bacon and/or fried egg. Mostly Miami, sometimes designated as “super”. Predates the trend to put an egg or bacon on everything.

    Shoestring “fries” from a can. Everywhere on everything in Miami for some reason. No.

    Pressed is a choice, not a requirement. If the bread is mere hours old or less and good, why would you? - see also bagel toasting. Otherwise pressing hides a multitude of problems and improves what can be a clunker of a sandwich.
  • Post #150 - May 2nd, 2019, 10:45 am
    Post #150 - May 2nd, 2019, 10:45 am Post #150 - May 2nd, 2019, 10:45 am
    I see those shoestring fry thingies on Cuban steak sandwiches fairly often; haven't seen them on a conventional Cubano. Personally I like the texture they add.

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