The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Cuban Sandwiches and a Serious Eats Round Up

cuban sandwich WIIIN!!!

I hadn't eaten the cuban sandwich from El Castillo de Jagua in over a year when I tried it again about two weeks ago. Thankfully, it's still an awesome combination of a pile of pork topped with a slice of ham, gooey cheese, and tart pickles in a mayo-smeared roll, grilled and pressed to a crisp. The last time I had the sandwich the pork was more shred-like and threatened by dryness—the newer version featuring fat meat chunks oozing with sweet pork juices is better. Few sandwiches this satisfying and filling exist for under $5.

More win

Unfortunately, as I don't work near El Castillo de Jagua, it isn't my go-to cuban sandwich joint. Milanese is a suitable replacement for only being a few blocks away from my office. Their sandwich is filled with pork of the shredded sort, resulting in a few dry, chewy slabs of compacted pork among the mostly moist filling. Also, at $6.50, it's more expensive than El Castillo de Jagua's. But it may also be larger than El Castillo's, and for the area, it's a good deal for lunch. Besides that it' know, delicious, because it's hard to mess up roast pork + ham + cheese + mayo + pickles + toasted bread. I'd pick it over the Chipotle around the block any day.


El Castillo de Jagua
113 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

168 W 25th St
New York, NY 10001

Other Words That Have Spurted Forth From My Fingers

If you're not a regular reader of Serious Eats, here are some of my latest reviews. You really should read Serious Eats; they pay my bills and is the main reason I don't update this blog more often. Because I'm up until the wee hours of the morning doing something work related! Heehee! (It's not really their fault; I tend to procrastinate until 1 a.m.)

I mean, I love my job; I just miss sleeping. How does the saying go—"I can sleep when I'm dead"? But if I'm dead, I won't be conscious to enjoy it. What's the point of that?


McDonald's Cheeseburger vs. McDouble vs. Double Cheeseburger: This is what I get for being a burger writer: McDonald's specializes in burgers and it is now my duty to report on such burgers when they are of national interest. Raphael told me I should blog about the McDouble, the new double cheeseburger that only has one slice of cheese instead of two. Shocker! (My conclusion: Just get the double cheeseburger; the McDouble is worse.) McDonald's burgers hold no special meaning to me. Although I grew up eating at McDonald's, their burgers were probably what turned me off to burgers when I was little—because they kind of sucked. I always got the four-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal; no part of me would ever desire the burger option.


McDonald's Filet-O-Fish: Yea or Nay?: The Filet-O-Fish, on the other hand, is a total nostalgia bomb. I love the Filet-O-Fish. I mean, I fucking love it. I really do. (I only swear when I mean it.) And I don't even feel bad about it. I'm past that. The combination of fried fish stick patty and tartar sauce and processed cheese food in a diminutive squishy steamed bun is just perfect for when I want...uh, that. Whatever that is. I know it's junk food—I hadn't eaten a Filet-O-Fish in nearly a decade—but it's junk food that makes me happy.

Toast! Everyone loves toast! TOAST!

Serious Eats Gift Guide: Toast-Related Accessories: Everyone had to pick a gift guide. I ended up with "toast" to narrow down the overpopulated field of "food-related novelties." Maybe next year I'll do "waffles."

Garlic Burger
It's a beaut. Aside from the pale tomato slices.

The Garlic Burger from Hon Cafe in Chinatown: A burger in Chinatown? Wha? I, too, was skeptical. But no longer, for a burger in Chinatown is bound to be made of beef mixed with pork and other tasty seasonings you won't find in most burgers, like soy sauce. I got a nice reblog on Grub Street; maybe someday I'll get my own tag. A girl can dream. (Hey, Adam has one!)


Katie K / December 13, 2008 12:25 AM

You mean you haven't gone to Havana Chelsea for the Cuban sandwich they're famous for? It's not that far from where you work.

Christina / December 13, 2008 1:27 AM

Chuck Norris doesn't sleep. He waits.

=p It doesn't work for me, though.

Those sandwiches are all awesome, if I could I'd eat one now. I like the three pickles on the side of the one plate.

chocolatesuze / December 13, 2008 10:05 AM

heehee fillet o fish buns always look so soft and bouncy! *bounce* im curious, do americans always have the pickle on the side? never inside the burger?

roboppy / December 13, 2008 11:18 AM

Katie: OMG I forgot..about that place. I'll check it out next time; thanks for the reminder. I rarely walk that way on 8th ave.

Christina: I thought the pickles were funny. The pickles are inside


Pickles tend to be inside the burger. Are you talking about the side pickles with the cuban? That doesn't usually happen.

G / December 13, 2008 1:13 PM

I feel sorry for you Robyn having to eat a Micky D burger. Those things a nasty. The garlic burger looks much much better.

Congrats on finding a place! :)


SuperChomp / December 13, 2008 2:56 PM

MacD's -Mmm, reconstituted. I sometimes get a craving for their burgers. Must be the nostalgia, as it's definitely not the same as a beef craving, nuh-uh.

Beef mixed with pork! Hahaha, what's with all the Chinese injokes lately? I'm lovin' them (not in a MacDonalds kind of way though....)

redrhino / December 13, 2008 6:44 PM

Hi Rob-O!

I used to "LOVE" McDonalds cheese burgers. I would eat them by the bag. I would also scarf as many filet o fish as my tum-tum could handle.I died a little the day I found out how bad McDonalds food really was. Instead of trying to explain it,I am posting some links to youtube video that "SHOWS" you how bad it is.

McDonalds Hamburgers don't age.

McDonald's 4 Year Old Cheeseburger

Let us lower the flag to half mast. :(

Kathryn / December 13, 2008 8:42 PM

McD's Filet-o-Fish, I have to say it, revolts me. I'm pretty sure I said this on SE as well (I didn't realize you wrote that article!), but the thought of McDonald's mass-producing fish totally and completely skeeves me. Dunno why it's any worse than their beef, but it is. I haven't seen the toast gifts yet, but guess where I'm heading now! =)

roboppy / December 14, 2008 12:44 AM

G: Micky D burgers make me sad. Garlic burgers make me happy.

SuperChomp: Yeah, that can't be a beef craving since McD burgers don't really taste like beef.. ;)

NAOmi: Thanks! :)

redrhino: Oh yeah, I know about the frighteningly long/nonexistent rotting period for McD burgers. But I can't say I'm surprised. It's just..semi food? Hah.

Kathryn: I don't find the mashed fish patty any scarier/worse than the beef. Possibly less scary, although I don't know why.

Mila / December 14, 2008 10:33 AM

Robyn, it's all your fault. I saw your piece on the filet o fish a week ago and it got into my head and this evening I had McD's delivered (we have 24 hour delivery here!) and added a fish-wich to my regular order, and I ate it all!!!!! It was yum. :D
I'll suffer later.

I wish someone would make a great cuban sandwich here though. And a banh mi, and a great cheese sandwich... lots of great sandwiches missing in my life :(

FN / December 14, 2008 2:15 PM

TGWAE - get on the 1 train to 125th and get a Cuban at Floridita. Have a coconut flan and cafe con leche for dessert.

roboppy / December 15, 2008 8:25 AM

Mila: BWAHAHA, oh what influence I have over you.. ;) My coworker almost bought a filet-o-fish too because of my post, but the line was too long at McD and she was like, "The only point of eating fast food is that it's fast!" No fishy for her.

I haven't had a bahn mi in ages. :(

FN: OOOOAAAHH OK!!! I will do your bidding. :)

Carl / December 15, 2008 10:16 AM

McDonald's doesn't specialize in burgers. They specialize in making money. The food's an afterthought!

And oh my gosh, that cuban looks outstanding. How come no places in Rochester have cubans? Eh, I bet they do, I just don't know about it. Anyway: jealous!

Kate / December 16, 2008 10:21 AM

MMMMM that Cuban sandwich looks muy deliciosa!!

I am sorry, but those fish sandwiches...blehh.
I will eat pretty much anything...but that...that is a hair past my limits.

@ Carl: Check out Richport Pastries and Bread. I heard that they at one time served a great Cuban. Not sure if they still do.

Julie / December 16, 2008 5:49 PM

Yeah, I think I first saw a Cuban sandwich on a PBS show, and I was determined to find one, even telling myself I'd find Chicago's Cuban district the next time I visited (I couldn't find it). Luckily, there's a Cuban restaurant close to home, so I fulfilled that dream. And yeah, I like those filet o' fishwiches, too!

roboppy / December 17, 2008 12:05 AM

Carl: Sounds like you should have a cuban-making parttyyyy.


Julie: Yay love for the fish!!

Consumerista / December 18, 2008 7:43 AM

OMG I LOOOOOVE Cuban Sandwiches. There was a really fun Cuban restaurant in Jersey City last time I was there (years ago), I think it was called the Hard Grove Cafe and it's right by Grove St station maybe?
x AJ

roboppy / December 25, 2008 3:37 PM

redrhino: I need those chicken nuggets, or whatever they are.

Consumerista: I've only been in Jersey City like..twiiice. But I shall look up Hard Grove Cafe!

Charles: When I'm at a restaurant, there's no setup worth describing aside from having steady hands. :)

dick / December 31, 2008 12:38 AM

I always order my burgers on Kaiser rolls for that reason. Most of the burger buns are just like eating Wonder Bread and that stuff is just gummy tasting and sticks to your teeth.

When I was a kid in Ohio they had a chain whose name I can't remember that made a burger and put it on a really good rye bun with onions. Wonderful. I haven't found rye buns around here in Queens or I would try to make that one at home. They made the burger thick rather than flat and overcooked and the onions were fried but not burned. Good stuff.

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