I became addicted to Cubans following a conversion to meat during my pregnancy and a trip to Florida [best Cubans] 8 years ago. I used HiLo's bread but homemade is much much better. I use Steven Raiclen's "Miami Spice" recipe. Lard is encouraged. It is worth it. I have a bread machine so obviously- not too much time involved. Don't forget the string!
And- don't forget sour oranges for the pork if you can find them.
Re: El Oriental. Their mofongo rules but I think Miami dishes up a mean Cuban. [Admittedly- haven't tasted either in two years!]
Good, good info miiki!
Especially, since your references are Miami-centric as opposed to those heretics in Tampa. Here is a terrific in-depth article on all things Cubano; http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Sandwiches/CubanSandwich.htm
If you're into self-flagellation you may also enjoy looking at this Boston board thread; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/358316
And also this split of that thread in General ChowhoundingTopics;
I'm not sure how authentic they are, but the South Bay Stop & Shop's in-house bakery has rolls they describe as Cuban and that work pretty well for me. I did a pork roast over the weekend and have been eating them for the past couple of days. (And I agree with Harp00n's Cubano rankings.)
Powella and pondrat are both spot-on. Hi Lo Foods is the only place that I'm aware of in the area that has authentic Cuban bread and it's baked fresh daily. With El Oriental De Cuba just down Centre St., it makes for a great option to build it yourself or buy the most authentic (read greatest) Cubano in the area. Yeah, I can hear the Chez Henri people shouting already which is, BTW, my runner-up favorite.
Hi Lo Foods
450 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
El Oriental De Cuba
416 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Cuban Bread contains lard which keeps it softer and moister on the plancha (sandwich press). I'd stay away from french loaves if you're trying to keep it authentic. I used to get something close to this bread at a Caribbean grocery store on 126 just south of Framingham center. I've also had luck with the smaller loaves at the Framingham Baking Company on Waverly Street,