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Jul 19, 2008 09:45 AM

Cuban Sandwich @ Deli-Pan (Morgan Hill)

From the outside, Deli-Pan looks like just any ol' Mexican panaderia. But underneath that exterior lurks the heart of a Cuban cafe.

Deli-Pan Panaderia facade -

I stopped here in Morgan HIll for a driving break in March when traffic on 101 was a bear. None of the panes dulces in the case held much appeal, and tortas, tacos and burritos on the overhead menu didn't either. But then I spottted ropa vieja on the board, and asked the proprietor if he made Cuban sandwiches. He asked me what I wanted on it, which started to make me doubtful, but then he explained that many of his customers order a torta cubana and he was trying to be determine what would suit me. I rattled off, "Roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickle, and a tiny bit of mustard, and oh, you do butter and press it, don't you? And, what kind of bread do you use?" This put a wide grin on his face that grew even broader when I ordered a mamey milkshake. "You like the real Cuban flavors!", he exclaimed.

He pointed to a tray of rolls in the case, saying that he used those to make the sandwich. These are called bolillos, but are more cylindrical in shape rather than torpedo-like and have more moisture and a denser crumb. He also bakes a Mexican bolillo, but he apologized that he doesn't make a softer Cuban bread.

So how's the sandwich? Very good, I'd say. The thinly-shaved pork was on the dry side and not as garlicky as Gozo Gozo's. I liked that the cheese was softened but not completely melted. The yeasty bread and firm pressing more than makes up for the shortcomings of the meat.

Cuban sandwich -

I was the only customer at late afternoon and had a chance to talk with the owner a bit. He doesn't make a guava and cheese pastry. I asked him about cafe con leche. He told me that it's not on the menu, but he has a handful of customers that request it in the morning, so he has the special beans here for them. He said that he'd had a seafood place here before, but this Mexican bakery format did a better business. His daughter had moved to Miami recently and his grandson had finished high school here, so he would be retiring and moving to Florida himself after he builds up this business enough to sell it.

Enjoy this place while you can, Morgan Hill.

Deli Pan
17865 Monterey St, Morgan Hill, CA 95037

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  1. He asked if I was from Cuba . . . Cubano truck sf 7/19/o8
    And you wonder why they think you are Cuban-Chinese?

    2 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Heheh, I've still not found one to match my platonic ideal. A few years ago, Jim Leff stopped somewhere near the ballpark to pick up a "good but not great Cuban sandwich" on my way to the airport for my snack on the flight home. This was my first taste of a Cuban sandwich, and if I'd not had that experience before trying the ones out here, I wouldn't be nearly as passionate about it. I've not found any out here that have the same amount (or any!) of garlic and sour orange marinade on the roast pork.

      If you read this thread on General Topics, you can be Cuban too!

      1. re: wolfe

        Coincidentally, my brother was there on Sunday. There's a new sign up offering pupusas. I was worried that it might have already changed hands, but no, he recognized the lady from before. However, she told him that her husband wants to move to Miami and asked if he knew anyone who wants to buy their business. So, sounds like the timetable might have moved up.

      2. My brother stopped here tonight on his way to Salinas to pick up a Cuban sandwich, $5.75. The same folks are still here. Sandwich the same, but I think it's better with a touch of mustard (I had a bite of what was left).

        William reports that there was a sign up to "order your pork leg here". If this means pernil and you've tried it, please tell us about it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          not really related, but That's It Market on 23rd and mission, which was featured on Anthony Bourdain, has the worst torta cubana ever.

          1. re: vulber

            Are you saying that it was bad because a torta cubana is not a Cuban Sandwich or it was a poor example of a torta cubana?

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              it tasted terrible; like very poor quality meats (or good quality meats that were old/not properly stored)