The progenitor of the Cubano existed simply as a default sandwich in 19th century Cuba that existed for hundreds of years": Cuba, a land fused with Spanish, Indigenous and African cultural influnce, existed in Colonial times eating a byproduct of colonialism:
"Cubans the ham which was brought by the Spaniards, and the cheese that was also brought by the Spaniards. Also at the time of the discovery, the original inhabitants of Cuba, the Taino/Arakaks, were making cheese. The traditional Cuban sandwich had evolved into the delicacy we know today, however not in Tampa, but to the Cubans in the island who took better than 400 years to make this delicacy perfect and allow all of us to enjoy the fruit of their expertise in sandwich making."
When Cubans started widespread immigration to Tampa in the post Castro days, kitchens catering to Cuban factory workers took a variation of the queso blanco, and added Genoa Ham (likely from the influence of nearby Italian Americans) Pickles (from their Jewish neighbours) and Swiss Cheese (presumably from the seldom-herd of Swiss-Floridian Diaspora).
I had the opportunity to sample a variation of the the Sandwich at the Freshwood Grill in Kensington Market.
Freshwood is small chain, with locations in Roncesvalles, North York and Kensington that has a solid menu of burgers, sandwiches and the like.
The cuban, which is sold 2-4-1 on Tuesdays is served with roast pork, bacon, swiss cheese, pickle on a delicious tortilla and will run you under 10 with sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo.
The flavors of swiss cheese, roast pork and the smokiness of the bacon gave a beautifully layered taste. However this particular pork roast seems to have overcooked aaThe flavors of swiss cheese, roast pork and the smokiness of the bacon gave a beautifully layered taste. However this particular pork roast seems to have overcooked and left an unncessarily gritty aftetaste. The balance was definetly there on this sandwich,
I should also note that I was originally given a steak and cheese wrap by accident, which was delicous if somewhat less conducive to a rich historical narrative.
Cubano @ Freshwood
- perfectly toasted tortilla
- resisted temptation to become mushy
- overcooked pork roast