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Cuban Sandwich Emergency

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  • ChileAss Jul 20, 2005 01:55 PM
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In the Mission? In SF? In the Greater Bay Area?

I don't have to got to New Orleans, Miami, or Havana - do I??

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Sol Food in San Rafael has 3 sandwiches daily, one being a Cubano. I have not yet eaten it because I am addicted to their chicken, but judging by the authenticity and quality of the rest of their food I am confident it will be good. Note: no sandwiches on Friday

    1 Reply
    1. re: eddie

      Bette's Ocean View Diner is now serving a Cuban sandwich in the "to go" side.

    2. Disaster averted! All I had to do is use this board like I am supposed to - search. I am on my way to El Nuevo Frutilandia...

      Sweet. Two blocks away.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Clueless

        Hi, we need to ask you to please pick a nametag and stick with it- it helps us get to know you. Use of multiple nametags is against our posting rules, so please decide what name you want to be known by, and start using only that name to post. Thanks.

      2. r
        Robert Lauriston

        The best mediodia I've had in SF in recent years was, strangely enough, at Bacar at dinner on Bastille Day. Whether it's a regular menu item I don't know.

        Second-best is Los Flamingos (151 Noe): only flaw is the roll they use is too big and too thick. Third-place, El Nuevo Frutilandia (3077 24th), nothing specific wrong, it's just gone downhill from its former perfection.

        I have not yet tried Laurel's (205 Oak), in classic Cuban fashion the place keeps being closed when I go there.

        16 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          t
          the tablehopper

          don't waste your time on laurels for a medianoche--I was beyond disappointed. the sandwich was barely toasted/pressed, the cheese wasn't even close to melted, and the pork came with disgustingly huge hunks of gristle. at least the accompanying fries were good.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Where would you put La Taza's in that hierarchy?

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              r
              Robert Lauriston

              I can't remember La Taza's. In general the food wasn't memorable, but it's a fun place to hang out with friends, drink wine, and listen to music (son on Sundays).

              Finally tried La Bodeguita del Medio's last night. Just about perfect. Unfortunately it was the only dish we tried that was very traditional, everything else was fusiony. Good if you like that sort of thing, but not very Cuban.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I've referred my Cuban-American hairdresser to La Taza for the music, hope he likes it. He recommended the cuban sandwich at Asia de Cuba, but warned me about the high price. That's the first positive thing I've heard about the food there, anyone else tried it?

                He also mentioned a place in the Mission that's hardly ever open for a cuban sandwich. Couldn't remember the name, sound familiar?

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  There's a place on 16th and Harrison that was a cheap Indian buffet for years and recently turned sort of Cuban. I think their focus is on music. Name is escaping me, but it is down the street from Safeway.

                  1. re: rworange
                    r
                    Robert Lauriston

                    "Sort of Cuban"? Is it still sort of Indian, so maybe we could get a tandoori pork sandwich with mango pickle?

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Ok, the sort of snarky remark made me look up the restuarant.

                      EL RINCON 2700 16th St. (at Harrison)

                      Here's the menu from the Bay Guardian. Cuban/Mexican.

                      They SAY the hours are noon to 2am, yet I have never found it open when I was in the area in the afternoon. That's why I thought of it when Melanie mentioned a restuarant that wasn't open. I think they focus on the music at night. Seems like I asked about this before on the board and the reply was that the Indian guy still owned the place.

                      Link: http://www.sfbg.com/menus/elrincon.html

                      1. re: rworange
                        r
                        Robert Lauriston

                        I didn't mean it to be snarky. Just hoping for the best, like when Zante took over the pizzeria.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          You mean at Cortland and Mission? When did Zante take it over? It was Zante's in the early 80s when I worked around there.

                          1. re: Shep
                            r
                            Robert Lauriston

                            Zante's took over that pizzeria in 1986. When I lived nearby a couple of years later they had separate Indian and pizza menus, hadn't yet fused the two.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Well...I worked off Bayshore at the bottom of Cortland 1981-84, and we had Zante's pizza a couple times a month. I wonder if there even is a "Zante"? Again, this was the place corner of Cortland and Mission.

                              1. re: Shep
                                r
                                Robert Lauriston

                                Let me rephrase that: Dalvinder Multani took over Zante's in 1986. They didn't add Indian pizza to the menu until two or three years later.

                    2. re: rworange

                      FWIW, I had a Cuban sandwich from El Rincon a few months ago, and it was horrible. Mind, it was my first ever Cuban sandwich, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but the ham was a gristly mess, and it was prepared with indifference by the grill guy.

                    3. re: Melanie Wong
                      r
                      Robert Lauriston

                      I think any Cuban would be happy with the music at La Taza on Sunday nights. Same band plays Wednesday nights at Cafe Rouge.

                    4. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Hard to find good son in the Bay. Is this the space that used to house the late Thornhill Cafe?

                      1. re: Shep
                        r
                        Robert Lauriston

                        Yes. Son is Sunday nights only. Other nights it's latin jazz and "Andalusian bellydance."

                        Link: http://www.latazadecafe.com/Map_Cuban...

                2. Probably a lot further than you want to go, but La Bodeguita in Palo Alto has excellent Cuban sandwiches. If all else fails, you can take Caltrain to the California Ave. station -- it's just a few blocks away.

                  La Bodeguita del Medio
                  463 S. California Avenue

                  1. I haven't tried it, but apparently the most popular item on the (now discontinued)lunch menu at Tamal is the cubano sandwich. I think it's available for dinner though it's not on the menu.

                    Tamal
                    Howard & 12th

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: katya
                      r
                      Robert Lauriston

                      Tamal's is sort of a fusion improvisaion on the theme of a mediodia. Some people might like it but it won't satisfy a craving for the classic.

                      Same goes for the ones at Cafe Lo Cubano and By-Rite.

                    2. La Taza de Cafe in Oakland also has great cuban sandwiches. Other great tapas too. I love their chipotle albondigas and their bollitas dulces.

                      Link: http://www.latazadecafe.com/

                      1. Contreras Market at 861 Rincon in Livermore.
                        It's got all the ingredients, it's griddled to cheese-melting hot, it's big and messy. It ain't Mami's torta, but if you're marooned in the Tri-valley, it's what it is.

                        Several of the local taquerias also offer one form of torta cubana or another, as do, periodically, the two taco trucks at Isabel and Vineyard.

                        1. c
                          ChowFun (derek)

                          Here's a link to a Sunset Magazine review of 5 places...

                          Link: http://www.sunset.com/sunset/travel/a...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ChowFun (derek)
                            r
                            Robert Lauriston

                            Those are all fusiony places, except for Habana Cuba, which I've been wanting to try for ages. Menu looks absolutely traditional but San Jose's a long awful drive.

                            When talking about a mediodia, "welcome liberties" is an oxymoron.

                            Link: http://www.998cuba.com/