Thursday, November 4, 2010
A Sad Cuban: The Cuban Sandwich Cafe
For my readers far and wide who are unfamiliar with the Cuban's ingredients, the traditional sandwich consists of fresh Cuban bread, seasoned, roasted pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and yellow mustard. After layering, the sandwich is pressed flat in a sandwich press, thereby melting the cheese and crisping the bread to a delightful, noisy crunch. Over the years, the sandwich has been bastardized to include lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise, so many establishments inquire if you would like these additions and also ask if you wish to have it pressed. If you don't get it pressed and add all of the other toppings, just order a sub from the Publix deli and call it a day. But don't call it a Cuban!
The president of the Columbia Restaurant, Richard Gonzmart, was so obsessed with re-creating the Cuban sandwich of his youth that he embarked on a quest to locate the perfect oven for roasting pork. He purchased a $30,000 combination steam and heat oven, which he had installed in his landmark Ybor City restaurant, where he now claims to serve the authentic Cuban sandwich, complete with the roasted pork of his dreams, imported peppercorn-filled Genoa salami, and fresh ham marinated in sour orange and garlic.