So, after taking the morning at the jury pool to find out which two weeks this year I will be on-call for jury duty, I was ready for lunch.
I think I've blogged about Stein's on Magazine Street near Jackson Avenue before, but here it is again. Last time I focused on the tongue sandwich. We had that again. It is quite good. In fact, for the first time visitor to Stein's, I would recommend this sandwich: tongue, seeded rye (toasted), swiss, mustard. If you go in and order it just like that, you won't have to have problems remembering all the choices. It's a delicious sandwich, and the tongue is prepped and sliced in such a way as to not scare away the first-time consumer of this wondrous muscle.
The real reason we went today is because Friday is Cuban sandwich day at Stein's. I've had a few Cuban sandwiches in the city -- Margaritaville, Butcher -- and a few elsewhere -- Puerto Rico, the bar at the Paradise Inn in Pensacola Beach. I sort of consider myself a growing expert, much like one of my favorite fictional characters, Dexter Morgan. Of course, while New Orleans is considered by some to be the most northern of the Caribbean cities, we are lacking in Cuban influence, completely unlike Miami. But I do believe the Cuban is becoming something of a sandwich and deli standard across the country, given to its excellent balance of two meats, melted cheese, mustard, the sourness of the pickle, and the spice of the peppers that are supposed to be present.
Today's sandwich had very high quality ingredients; that can't be denied. The bread was the perfect combination of a crust that is just crunchy enough, but not hard, and substantial enough to hold up to the juices of the pickle and roast pork. Unfortunately, a flavor profile was missing: the peppers, and to me, these are totally necessary. I don't know if they left them off by accident or they were out or that's just how they make them at Stein's, but I needed them on that sandwich. Without, it's just a lot of meat on a bun, and I prefer more bite and heat to my food.
So, as of right now, in my limited Cuban experience, the sandwich that reigns is the Cuban at the Paradise Inn Bar in Pensacola Beach. I will continue my quest, and keep you updated. If anybody would like to sponsor my trip to Miami to do further research, please don't hesitate to contact me!