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Cuban sandwiches

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  • deb tysall Jun 22, 2006 03:54 PM
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My friend has been trying to find great Cuban sandwiches in L.A, can anyone help? He means the ones that are wrapped in foil and pressed. The pressing is an important factor here. Some have honey butter as well. It goes without saying that it should be pulled pork!

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  1. Never seen a cuban with pulled pork, roasted pork/sliced. Do the do the pressing with the foil all, never seen it done that way? I am curious, where do they do it like this? You might try Tropical Cafe on Sunset at Silverlake Blvd. I enjoy ther Cuban sanwiches more than Portos.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      pulled pork on a cuban sandwich?
      No, always roasted pork.
      And honey butter?
      Not authentic at all.
      People rag on Porto's (two locations, glendale and Burbank) but I like their Cubans.
      Also try Xiomara on Melrose.

      1. re: jp

        No kidding? Xiomara has cubanos? Do they do take out?

        1. re: David Kahn

          not sure re takout, or if they're on the menu at that locale...I think they are at lunch...or sunday Brunch?

          1. re: David Kahn

            check the website

            Link: http://www.xiomararestaurant.com

        2. re: Burger Boy

          My friend has left to go get frozen yoghurt, from Angeline, in Beverly Hills.....I will get more info from him, upon his return....and after I have devoured my yoghurt!!!

          1. re: Burger Boy

            My friend has left to go get frozen yoghurt, from Angeline, in Beverly Hills.....I will get more info from him, upon his return....and after I have devoured my yoghurt!!!

            1. re: Burger Boy

              I think the OP meant "pulled pork" as in shreaded pernil. Not pulled BBQ pork. I've never had a version with honey butter though.

            2. My favorite comes from a market on Venice called El Camaguey Meat Market 10925 Venice Blvd. You order them from the meat counter, and it's take out only. I think it blows away Tropical and Porto's.

              It's only my opinion, I could be wrong.

              3 Replies
              1. re: stuartontour

                I will try to go tomorrow.

                1. re: Burger Boy

                  me too!

                2. re: stuartontour

                  Tried El Camaguey yesterday, and I was disappointed -- the sandwich had a little pork but was mostly ham. Is this usual? (Not what I expected)

                3. The only time I've seen them in foil is take-out, in Tampa. And that's AFTER the pressing.

                  And I've never seen pulled pork, only sliced roast pork.

                  Where is your friend from where they serve sandwiches like that? Not judging, just curious.

                  1. n
                    Normal Garciaparra

                    There's a Hole-In-The-Wall Cuban restaurant in the Historic Filipinotown district on Temple and Lake streets, one block west of Alvarado, on the north side of the street. I totally forgot the name but it's next door to the Cuban market on the corner. I had a medianoche there once and it was pretty damn authentic.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                      Normal Garciaparra, the "Hole-in-the-Wall Cuban restaurant in the historic Filipino district" is La Caridad:

                      La Caridad
                      2137 W. Temple
                      Filipinotown
                      (213) 484-0099

                    2. Best Cuban Sandwich in the OC, DES SIMONES. On Golden West and Edinger. You will Love it. :)

                      1. There is also Mimi's on Temple just west of Alvarado. Yummy sandwiches and a great deli!!

                        1. Oinkster has the best pulled pork sandwich in my opinion...but it's not pressed and probably not "cuban"

                          1. Baracoa Cuban Cafe in Atwater is pretty good- no honey butter, but certainly pressed and with pickles...me, I like their bistec empanizado.

                            Here's a link to Cuban places in the LA Times

                            http://www.calendarlive.com/dining/cl...

                            1. I've seen Cuban toast made with an oil dressing involving a light blast of mojo criollo (citrus garlic marinade) *somehow* - it was put through one of those griller/toaster things where the bread comes out the other end on a little conveyor belt. That and some guava jelly was one of the best foods I've ever had. It was in South Florida at a hole in the wall Cuban joint. I haven't found good Cuban out here (wouldn't even really put Versailles way up there). And I don't know if it's authentic per se, but Rum Jungle in Vegas does one of the best Cuban steak sandwiches ever. I keep wanting to go back just for that.

                              1. maybe try el cochinito next door to alegria on sunset.

                                my friend had the cuban sandwich last week, and he said it was tasty. i had the lechon sandwich, which was pretty good.

                                El Cochinito
                                3508 W Sunset Blvd
                                Los Angeles, CA 90026
                                (323) 668-0737

                                1. An authentic Cuban sandwich is as follows:

                                  - Cuban bread (authentic - made with lard)
                                  - Serrano ham (thinly sliced)
                                  - Roasted pork (thick slices, not shredded or pulled)
                                  - Yellow mustard (never ever, ever, ever mayo - at least not for the real thing)
                                  - Swiss cheese
                                  - Sliced pickles

                                  The outside of the sandwich is lightly buttered and placed in a flat press (the press is wrapped in foil, not the sandwich), then cut diagonally. Salami, lettuce and tomato may be added, but they are rare variations on the true original.

                                  Since moving from Miami, I've been loking for a taste of home here, but haven't quite found the perfect one yet. Xiomara's is tasty but too pricey. Porto's is pretty good, but their Cuban bread isn't quite right.

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: mcmachete

                                    As a born and raised Miamian, what you describe above is a "Cuban Sandwich" for sure. However, I am wondering about whether the orginal poster's friends wanted the Cubano or whether they want a "Cuban style sandwich" of which there are more legitimate options such as the Medianoche, the Elena Ruz, the Pan con Bistec (which is not pressed), etc.

                                    I have yet to find the Cuban place here that does everything well - for example Portos is generally good but their cafe cubano is lacking (essential I think to the Cuban bakery experience).

                                    1. re: mcmachete

                                      Have you tried Havana Sandwich Company in El Segundo? My bf is Cuban and their Cuban sandwich is probably his favorite that he has had here in California. His favorite was back in New York and hasn't been able to find a place here that comes close to it.

                                      1. re: Tari

                                        I'll have to check it out. I'm Cuban, and therefore very particular.

                                        His favorite place was in New York? He must have never been to Cuba or to Miami (particularly Little Havana, Sweetwater, Miami Beach, and Hialeah)!

                                        1. re: mcmachete

                                          You should try the lechon at El Cochinito - it's very passable as are their arroz con frijoles.

                                          Also, the ropa vieja at La Cubana in Glendale is excellent but their frijoles are very subpar.

                                        2. re: Tari

                                          Havana Sandwich Company is El Segundo is great.

                                          -----
                                          Havana Sandwich Co
                                          229 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245

                                        3. re: mcmachete

                                          I'm married to a person from Tampa - what's your take on the diff between Miami Cuban sandwiches and Tampa ones? I've been told there's a difference.

                                          I love 'em all, but I just don't know from authentic. I like the ones at Portos, also the place in Culver City, en Rincon Criollo, but I don't know whether they're authentic.

                                          1. re: gsw

                                            Tampa generally adds mayo (along with shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes), which for many Cubans (including myself) is basically sacrilege.

                                            I haven't tried Rincon Criollo, but it sounds promising - I'll have to check it out when I'm down that way.

                                          2. re: mcmachete

                                            The Crowbar and Kitchen in Corona del Mar serves a Cubano sandwich with almost exactly these ingredients. I've never had it, but since everything else there is pretty darn good, I would guess that this would be a terrific place to have one.

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              I decided to to a search for La Cubana in Glendale. I don't know how long they have been closed but look for them to reopen. And yes, the Cuban sandwich is on their menu but it does include mayo.http://www.lacubanarestaurant.com/ind...

                                              1. re: Fru

                                                Ack! Stay AWAY from La Cubana. EVERYTHING i had there was awful(believe me, i'm cuban! :).. When I was there, I couldn't believe how terrible they were. There's better places in Hollywood.

                                                Re: cuban sandwiches, im pretty easy to please. I don't mind if it's slightly tweaked from the original version.

                                                funny story: I went to Big Mike's Sandwiches in Hermosa and saw their cuban sandwich on the menu. It had salami in it. I told the guy behind the counter, who ended up being Big Mike himself(!), that it wasn't an authentic cuban sandwich. He acted very miffed and said that's how they do them in Miami. I told him I was born in Miami and go back every year and have NEVER seen salami on a cuban sandwich. We looked at each other in silence for a few seconds and that was it.

                                                It's kind of fun to be combative sometimes! ;)

                                                1. re: Low Blood Sugar

                                                  Here's some combativeness. I haven't been to La Cubana in years and didn't even know they were closed but their one bright and shining star was their ropa vieja. Everything else was mediocre to worse - the arroz con frijoles were abyssmal (equivalent to bad tortillas at a Mexican restaurant in importance), their yuca was inedible, even their maduros were limp and insipid. And yet, they totally mastered the ropa vieja in a way that very few restaurants in Miami can even pull off (tender, rich, tomato-y).

                                                  1. re: oro3030

                                                    ha!
                                                    I had a similar experience during my single visit to Versailles on La Cienega. I ordered the Rabo Encendido (figuring that if they could nail Cuban Ox Tail, they'd be worth another visit!). Well, the ox tail was *excellent.* Not quite my grandmother's but it was very good. However, the easy stuff (rice, beans, yuca, plantains, even the Mamey shake) they butchered. Shame.

                                                  2. re: Low Blood Sugar

                                                    I have never seen salami in a Cuban sandwich, but I have heard about it online. I'm sure it's tasty, but I'd personally skip it.

                                                    Johnny's at Sunset-Gower Studios (hardly cuisine) offers a Cuban sandwich without pork (worse than adding mayo!). When I told the lady it wasn't Cuban, that it was just an overpriced ham and cheese sandwich. I too, of course, had to speak up about it...

                                                    1. re: Low Blood Sugar

                                                      I had lunch at Havana Sandwich Company in El Segundo today and, among the menu items, noted a "Miami Cuban" which was described as including salami; I stuck with the "Original." It was pretty good, but I prefer the cheese to be more melted into the other ingredients and I thought that the roast pork was a tad dry. The Cuban fries were disappointing.

                                              2. There's a good new-ish cuban bakery on the corner of Inglewood Blvd and Rosecrans(sort of the border between El Segundo, Manhattan Beach and Hawthorne)called Veraduro(??)Bakery. All of their food is pretty good and they have very friendly service