Sandwich Cubano: Born in Cuba, Developed in Key West

SandwichCubanoSaborCubano.jpg
Like a Cuban cigar, a decent Cuban sandwich can be tough to find.

A take on mixto sandwiches in Cuba and an invention of cigar workers in Tampa's Ybor City in the early 1900s by Spanish, Italian, and Cuban immigrants fleeing poverty to seek new lives in America, the main ingredients of the Cuban sandwich (along with pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard) take cues from each group: glazed ham from the Spaniards; bread and pork from the Cubans; and salami from the Italians.

When done right and avoiding blasphemous ingredients such as lettuce, mayo, and tomato (which dilute the flavor), this recognized and revered sandwich can be a traditional treat. And there's a decent one to be had right here in the Valley.

You can find a good Sandwich Cubano ($7.50) at Sabor Cubano, the restaurant serving tasty Cuban comfort food on West Camelback Road in Phoenix.

Sabor Cubano's version, closer to South Florida's rendition, in which the salami is omitted, provides a nice contrast of bread (in this case French, not Cuban) with the melted fats and of the meat in addition to notes of sharpness from the mustard and pickles, saltiness from the ham, and the subtle flavor of Swiss cheese.

Doing what history has taught it to do, the Cuban sandwich fills you up fast and has been called "a Latin-flavored equivalent of New Orleans' po' boy." Simply satisfying.

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Location Info

Sabor Cubano - CLOSED

2030 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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8 comments
charlie_oscar
charlie_oscar

very easy to make on a george foreman grill or any panini press...  Just buy fresh italian bread or the mexican style bread that is lite... sliced pork, ham, pickles mustard... too easy

DontTellCarmenChenal!
DontTellCarmenChenal!

Sabor Cubano is good. But nottin beats waking early in the mornig to "5 Brothers Grocery" on Southard Street, Key West, away from all the touristy stuff. Their cafe con leche is pure speed but taste delicuous with a Cheese Toast. All kinds of fun people hanging out. Great fun! 

jliven23
jliven23

That looks delicious...definitely going to give it a try! I promise I am a normal sized male but I think I could easily down two of those. (edit: nevermind...I didn't see the salad on the plate)

After La Barquita last week and now this....your weekly suggestions are mapping out my lunches Laura!

Dominic Armato
Dominic Armato

"When done right and avoiding blasphemous ingredients such as lettuce, mayo, and tomato (which dilute the flavor), this recognized and revered sandwich can be a traditional treat."

I'm completely with you on omitting the veg and mayo, but they're surprisingly popular even in the Cuban bakeries in Tampa.... sometimes referred to as a "Super".  There are a lot of Tampa Cubans who will fight you on the "blasphemous" characterization  :-)

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