There are two prominent claimants to the title of Home of the Cuban Sandwich in the U.S., and neither is the District of Columbia. Naturally, one is Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The other is Ybor City, a historic district located just north of downtown Tampa, Florida, notable for its roots as a cigar-producing company town and as a first stop for immigrants arriving from Cuba and elsewhere. Ignoring the obvious disagreement over the true birthplace of the sandwich itself, the rival locales agree on these base ingredients: roasted pork, ham, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread. Otherwise, Ybor’s inclusion of salami, a result of the presence of Italian immigrants in the area, would seem to be the lone sandwich-related point of contention.
Although we’ve done an unhealthy amount of reportage on the Cubano on this blog, it has all been courtesy of my brother Chris, a Tampa resident and author of our Gulf Coasting column. We have yet to spotlight any of the fantastic versions available here in Our Nation’s Capital, meaning that until this week I had no excuse to eat numerous heavy, pork-laden sandwiches in a single weekend. This situation has now been happily resolved, and so, with some help from our resident Cuban sandwich expert and without further ado, here is a somewhat random sampling of a few of our favorite Cuban sandwiches in D.C. Continue reading