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Old 04-21-2012, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
1,389 posts, read 2,264,333 times
Reputation: 993

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The Cuban Sandwich Crisis: Tampa V. Miami For The Win : The Salt : NPR

Quote:
Call it the Cuban Sandwich Crisis. Two cities, Tampa and Miami, are locked in a battle to claim the Cuban sandwich as its own. It's a battle for hearts, minds and bellies. And you get to weigh in. Read on!

For the uninitiated, a Cuban sandwich is shredded pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and dill pickles – served either cold or hot-pressed on Cuban bread. Think of it as the ham-and-cheese for the guayabera-wearing set.

Tampa's version includes salami, and it might have a swipe of mayo, depending on who's making it. Each city uses differently-shaped bread. Those are about the only substantive differences.

Now, most food historians agree the sandwich was invented in Tampa's Ybor City, but that's not the end of our story.

On Thursday, the Tampa City Council officially renamed the Cuban sandwich the "Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich."

Thus, the gauntlet was thrown.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado had this reaction: "Oh. Wow. Tampa certainly has a tradition, but salami is for pizza."

So our Florida newsrooms — WLRN in Miami and WUSF in Tampa — have decided to settle this debate, with your help. We are engaged in an air war and a cyberbattle to determine, "¿Quien es mas macho?"
We argue our respective cases here, in 300 words or less.
So, who has the better claim? Read on, then vote for yourself.

Tampa's Case
By Scott Finn, member station WUSF
Miami is trying to steal the sandwich from Tampa. And yes, after the Cuban revolution, Miami became the undisputed capital of Cuban America.

Cubans in Tampa have a different history. They came to Tampa a century ago to make cigars.

They brought along their bread – with its crispy crust that breaks into a million crumbs, and its sweet, airy middle.

(It's so good, La Segunda Bakery in Tampa says they ship thousands of loaves to Miami every day – including to Miami-Dade County Schools.)

But in Tampa, Cubans quickly mixed with others – like Italians. Their Genoa salami is an ingredient that's missing in the Miami version of the sandwich.

Miami's mayor might say, oddly, that salami belongs on pizza – but its salty greasiness is the perfect foil for mustard, pickle and Swiss cheese.
Tampa's Cubans married those Italians, Spaniards and others and formed a pan-Latin community – and a pan-Latin sandwich.

One more thing: Greater Miami is also home to Oneal Ron Morris, the unlicensed "doctor" arrested after allegedly injecting caulk and fix-a-flat tire sealant into the rear ends of her patients.

What, you might ask, would drive people to a quack like Morris? Walk around South Beach in Miami, and you'll feel so paranoid about your body you might be tempted to do radical things.

But when I go to the beaches around Tampa, I walk away feeling pretty good. We're a let-it-all-hang-out sort of place – think "Margaritaville," not "Miami Vice."

Just like the Cuban Sandwich. It's not fancy, or beautiful. It grew out of the need for cigar workers in Tampa to have an affordable lunch.
Miami can keep the haute cuisine and the plastic surgery. Give me white-sand beaches, a hot pressed Cuban sandwich, and an ice cold beer – in other words, Tampa!

Miami's Case
by Dan Grech, WLRN Miami Herald News
I walked into El Pub Restaurante in Little Havana and was immediately greeted in Spanish by a hyperkinetic Cuban woman. The smell of locally baked Cuban bread was thick in the air.

She ushered me into a seat at the counter and slapped down a paper placemat with an illustrated map of Florida. Orlando had a drawing of the Magic Kingdom. Cape Canaveral had the Spaceship Endeavor. Miami had a rooster, two dominos and a smiling man in an historic guayabera shirt. I forget what Tampa had.

My waitress put a sweating glass of ice-cold water on my placemat and took my order.

"Un sandwich cubano, por favor," I said. "Y un café con leche."

"Ah, qué bien hablas español," she cooed.

"Y una croqueta de jamón," I said.

She gasped in joy.

A man behind a Plexiglass divider crafted my sandwich. He wielded a two-foot long serrated knife, long enough to cut down a tree.

He split a loaf of Cuban bread, smeared a pat of room-temperature butter, wiped the knife against his white apron, carved from a slab of dripping roast pork, wiped his knife again, added slices of sweet ham and queso suizo, wiped, smeared yellow mustard, wiped, then expertly flipped a single pickle slice into the air. It arced like a LeBron James three pointer and landed—swish—onto the open face of my Historic Miami Cuban Sandwich.
I didn't need to tell him to hold the salami.

He put the bulging sandwich into a hot press and put his full body weight into its compression. Thirty seconds later my steaming sandwich emerged. It was meat-lovers heaven in a flaky crunchy shell. He cut the sandwich diagonally and slid it toward me.

I've never been to Cuba, but I know what it tastes like.
Never had a Cuban in Miami but I certainly have had some killer ones around Tampa Bay.
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Lincoln County Road or Armageddon
4,414 posts, read 6,564,968 times
Reputation: 6166
Wonder how many times the gentleman from Miami wipes his knife on his filthy apron before he actually washes it. I'll take Tampa's version-I like the combining of Cuban and Italian ingredients. Besides, the Miami version apparently has only one lonely pickle slice.
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Ormond Beach Fl
161 posts, read 394,677 times
Reputation: 163
The Tampa Cuban Sandwich is legendary. I moved from Tampa in the 80's and have been craving a Cuban sandwich since. No where can you find one even close. mmmmmmmmm I may have to plan a trip to Tampa now that I think about it lol
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Tampa Bay`·.¸¸ ><((((º>.·´¯`·><((((º>
4,687 posts, read 7,531,963 times
Reputation: 13643
I have had some very good Cuban sandwiches in Tampa. I will stick with the Italian addition , it makes it yummy!!
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:15 PM
 
16,900 posts, read 36,635,558 times
Reputation: 22604
Definitely Tampa has the best - and my favorite are the ones that include the delicious Cuban mojo pork!
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,630,926 times
Reputation: 1169
I've only tried them so far in Dunedin, and haven't seen any with salami yet! But they are damned good. So next winter I'm going to make a study, and hopefully will get to try some in Miami as well (there's this nice little Cuban place that i found in South Beach.) I like hot-pressed, for sure.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 12,247,436 times
Reputation: 3619
Honestly, I don't care if the sandwich has salami or not since the flavor of salami blends in quite well and I can't really tell if it has it or not unless I look. Salami does make the sandwich look more attractive, though, balances the colors a bit. I like my Cubans with pickles, mustard (I like the mayo/mustard mix best), simple ham - (not sweet honey ham or salty ham, just a nice neutral ham), a nice swiss cheese not too tangy, and real mojo roast pork. I like the bread pressed which creates a different "bite" than toasting. A toasted Cuban tends to tear up the roof of my mouth, but a pressed Cuban doesn't. I can taste and feel the difference when French or Italian-style loaves are substituted for pan cubano. Since Tampa is getting all official with the recipe, "Cubans" made with sliced deli pork instead of mojo pork should be outlawed in this town! And absolutely no lettuce or tomato! People who ask for lettuce and tomato should be given directions to the nearest sub shop and booed down the street! No Cuban for you! LOL. OK, I am kidding. Mostly.

As for the Miami versus Tampa Cuban sandwich ownership, clearly Tampa wins here historically. Which is not to say that you can't get a decent Cuban in Miami now, but of course there are regional differences and everyone has their preferences. People who grew up with Miami style Cubans probably prefer those. Poor fools.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:09 AM
 
16,900 posts, read 36,635,558 times
Reputation: 22604
Quote:
Originally Posted by tilli View Post
Honestly, I don't care if the sandwich has salami or not since the flavor of salami blends in quite well and I can't really tell if it has it or not unless I look. Salami does make the sandwich look more attractive, though, balances the colors a bit. I like my Cubans with pickles, mustard (I like the mayo/mustard mix best), simple ham - (not sweet honey ham or salty ham, just a nice neutral ham), a nice swiss cheese not too tangy, and real mojo roast pork. I like the bread pressed which creates a different "bite" than toasting. A toasted Cuban tends to tear up the roof of my mouth, but a pressed Cuban doesn't. I can taste and feel the difference when French or Italian-style loaves are substituted for pan cubano. Since Tampa is getting all official with the recipe, "Cubans" made with sliced deli pork instead of mojo pork should be outlawed in this town! And absolutely no lettuce or tomato! People who ask for lettuce and tomato should be given directions to the nearest sub shop and booed down the street! No Cuban for you! LOL. OK, I am kidding. Mostly.

As for the Miami versus Tampa Cuban sandwich ownership, clearly Tampa wins here historically. Which is not to say that you can't get a decent Cuban in Miami now, but of course there are regional differences and everyone has their preferences. People who grew up with Miami style Cubans probably prefer those. Poor fools.
Reps for you!
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
4,678 posts, read 9,454,553 times
Reputation: 1960
There is a gas station at the corner of Forbes Rd. and 574 in Dover that has a little kitchen inside that makes some pretty good pressed Cubans.. everytime I'm home I make a visit to Dover to get one..

It's, IIRC, a Marathon gas station called 7 star.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Wake County, NC
2,983 posts, read 4,377,966 times
Reputation: 3526
I like both versions, but prefer the Miami style if it's made with real roast pork(not the deli crap another poster mentioned). My favorite places in Tampa Bay are Brocato's and the Airport Variety Store.
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