Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eat: Tasty, Tasty Cubans (Review)

To begin, I must declare ... I love sandwiches. If the term sandwichophile exists, it applies to me. I am perpetually on the hunt for my next favourite sandwich, and I guarantee that if you are present when I find something new and exciting, you will witness a happy food dance like none other.

Last year, during my first visit to New York City in over 15 years, I was luck enough to tryout a few amazing restaurants. One of them was a pretty average appearing Cuban restaurant called Guantanamera. I had never tried a Cuban sandwich but faced with an authentic Cuban restaurant, I had to give it a try. I must confess, it was (foodie) life altering!

Now, there is a lot of debate about what goes into a Cuban sandwich. I can attest that during my search for a Cuban sandwich recipe, the ingredients varied greatly. Mayo or no mayo. Roast pork or deli sliced pork? Cuban bread or dinner roll? etc., etc., etc. Guantanamera's Sandwich Cubano is described as a classic pressed Cuban sandwich of roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. What it really is, from a taste perspective, is this wonderful amalgamation of hot, cold, chewy, gooey, tangy and fatty perfection. Sandwich Nirvana.

I was back in NYC this past weekend. Leading up to the visit, I repeatedly requested that we go back to Guantanamera for that sandwich. My level of persistence must have been eye roll inducing. Thousands of world class restaurants at my disposal and all I wanted was this sandwich! I got my way; we stopped there on our last day for lunch before we left town. I worried it would not live up to my nostalgia but it was perfect. The only hitch was the nasty hangover I was battling from the night before (also well worth it). My stomach was not being very agreeable and I could not bring myself to eat the whole thing!!! I was devastated!! I was not going to waste this unicorn of a sandwich! I doggie bagged that bad boy all the way back to Montreal. That's right, half a Cuban was smuggled in our car, over the border, into Canada. And when I had the second half yesterday, standing over the sink in a shame inducing snarf-fest of happy dance/foodgasm moans, I was just as in love with it. Makes me regret not smuggling a few more Cubans back with me into Canada!

Cubano Sandwich @ Guantanamera