RAVE! Havana Roadhouse Cuban Sandwiches - in the frozen food section
I'm a big fan of the Cuban sandwich. For me, all other sandwiches pale in comparison. So when I saw Havana Roadhouse Cuban Sandwiches in the frozen food section of my local supermarket, I figured this is either going to be "just O.K." or terrible. I was wrong on both counts, it was exceptionally good.
The sandwiches came 6 to a box and measured about 5'' long by 1.25'' inch wide (snack size). In a nice bit of branding with a nod to pop culture, i.e. the Cuban cigar, the sandwiches resemble mini Cuban cigars with one end rounded end and the opposite end is square cut (as if the cigar had been prepped for use by cutting off the end prior to lighting.) There is even a paper band a few fractions of an inch from the end to simulate the paper band on a cigar.
The cooking time was 15 minutes at 400 degrees, which gave the bread the perfect degree of "toastedness" and bonding of all the flavors. What really did it for me was the bread, it was really tasty. It's the actual Cuban bread the recipe calls for. Beyond the bread, I enjoyed the fact that the cheese got all "melty" and bonded with the pickle so the two flavors melded. The meat was nicely warmed to the "just right" point. The pickle slices were lengthwise cuts so that the entire pickle slice spanned the length of the sandwich. Best of all, the sandwich was in its purest form -- there was no mustard or mayonnaise on them, some restaurants will add mustard or mayo but it's not part of the actual recipe.
On a scale of one to five, with five being excellent, I give this product a score of 5.
I found these at the local Harris Teeter and tried the larger ones (two per box). Much more substantial than the minis and with a drink and side, make a decent light lunch. I agree, the bread makes it: the right crispiness on the outside and density on the inside. The fillings were lunch-meaty, but not overly processed. As far as frozen sandwiches go, this is one of the better ones. Much tastier than the frozen White Castles and breakfast croissanwiches. But I've had shrinkwrapped cuban sandwiches in Tampa gas stations that were much more satisfying.
I wish they just sold the bread in a 12" loaf and I could provide my own baked ham, roast pork loin, pickels, and cheese. Next to muffaletta bread, cuban bread is pretty hard to find. At least around Washington, DC.
I guess I'm the only one so far that has had a first-time positive experience with this product.
I will admit though, the other day I did have a bad pickle/cheese experience, similar to what a previous poster had. The pickles were too juicy in the particular product, resulting in a few small pickle juice wet spots on the bread. It also caused the cheese flavor to be over-powered by the pickle flavor. I didn't find it unpleasant but it was very noticeable.
I still maintain that for what the product is, it's a five. I guess that means there is more for me. :-)
Hmm. Count me in as very skeptical until I've tasted this stuff. I'm a bit put off by all of the marketing fluff and investor information, as well as the fact that one of the 3 or four things this "Cuban Themed" company sells is Colombian arepas, called "corn bread sandwiches." The Powerpoint investor relations pitch is particularly interesting, with its "Latinization of America" theme, its Simpsons-esque bullet-point slide connecting fast foods to ethnicities ("Pizza-Italians; Hamburgers-Germans; Hot Dogs-Eastern Europeans") and its focus on "aggressive marketing." When I read your post, I though it should have a disclaimer, maybe.
I must say, the bread in the photos absolutely does not look like Cuban bread. On the other hand, the iCuban guys, irritating as they often are, do seem to know what they are talking about and gave the product a qualified thumbs-up. Considering the abysmal state of most Cuban sandwiches outside of South Florida, this might be an ok thing.
PS, not to raise a dead horse, but mostaza is a perfectly acceptable albeit optional condiment on Cuban sandwiches, as is butter.
Now if they could just add a South Philly pork Italian.
re: ChowFun (derek)
Well...definitely not a five in my book.
They're absolutely tiny -- two of them make 3/4 of a decent snack. Also, to me, they taste primarily of pickle and cheese, and baked picklecheese is not a real pleasant taste. Not much meat to them, and no roasted garlicky pork goodness in any way. Overall, not terrible, but far from satisfying. I've eaten about half the package, and the last several times I've opened the freezer looking for a snack, I just haven't been able to bring myself to cook another.