Eat Here, Not There: Cuban Sandwiches

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ProfessorSalt.com
DeSimone's Cuban Sandwich


Can you get a proper medianoche sandwich in Orange County? Orange County, Florida, certainly. Here in our Orange Acres? Not so many places make this specialty.

You know where you can easily find one? Quiznos. No, really, stop laughing. In this edition, we pit the Quiznos Cuban sandwich against the one at DeSimone's Deli & Bakery in Orange.


First, DeSimone's Cuban sandwich. It has the classic ingredients: slices of lechon, or roast pork; ham; Swiss cheese; a smear of mustard; and sweet pickle sparely laid upon a roll. It's smeared with butter and pressed, like a panino, between two hot griddle-plates until the cheese is melted, the flavors of the sandwich meld, and the works squash like someone sat on it.

How's it taste? Just fine. The house-baked Italian roll takes on an even crisper texture from the griddling, but it lacks the slightly sweet profile of the Cuban rolls one finds in the specialty sandwich shops of Tampa. That specific bread and its lack of availability here is the one niggling flaw of an otherwise-solid medianoche made in our fair county. We wish there were a bigger Cuban-American community that would support a specialty Cuban restaurant instead of a Cuban + Italian + "Continental" or whatever hybrid that's apparently needed to survive here.

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ProfessorSalt.com
Quiznos' Pork Cuban Sandwich

Next up: the Quiznos Pork Cuban. Its ingredients? Pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, yellow mustard and mayo: the wrong protein, the wrong pickles and too much goo. The bread? Same choice of Quiznos breads, run through the toaster, just like every sandwich made there.


Quiznos' pulled pork consists of nasty gray shreds of pork flooded in so much salty, commercial meat broth extract that the texture reminded me of a toddler's saturated diaper after squatting in a cheap, plastic backyard wading pool.

What also doesn't belong on a medianoche? Mayo. My Quiznos sandwich had so much mayo and yellow mustard that nasty goo oozed out the sides with every bite. It's supposed to be a sandwich you can eat on the go, steering the car with your knee while you're on the phone with your bookie. How you gonna pay attention to the road with all that nasty goo dripping on your shirt?

You knew the winner of this faceoff long before you got to the line about the diaper, didn't you? Sweet Jesus, the things we eat for Stick a Fork In It so you don't have to. The clear winner: De Simone's.

DeSimone's Deli & Bakery, 6850 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 847-0922; 2279 N. Tustin St., Orange, (714) 637-7000; desimonedeli.com.

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Location Info

DeSimone Delicatessen

2279 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant


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27 comments
User1
User1

"How you gonna pay attention to the road with all that nasty goo dripping on your shirt?"

Wow, I can not believe you're even a writer. Learn how to make a complete sentence before posting this kind of crap. 

obbop
obbop

"too much goo"

And additional similar comments further into the review have assisted in today's never-ending struggle to limit my daily caloric intake so as to assist in re-obtaining my once girlish figure.

Or sumpthin' akin to that.

Skulks off further into the depths of my shanty atop the cultural backwater of the Ozark Plateau where road-kill obtained-by-Pa and kettle-cooked by Ma 'possum stew is devoured by a tassel of younguns' that no one is truly sure who they belong to.

Y'all drop on by, yah' hear?

Jim Beam
Jim Beam

I always liked the Cuban sandwiches at Habana Cubana on Beach and Ellis.  They were on the unadvertised menu behind the bar, ya had to be in the know.  Unfortunatly its gone now but DiSimones is still up the street! 

TedBKissell
TedBKissell

This one was definitely a mismatch. I go to the HB DeSimone's, and as a 12-year resident of South Florida, I can say unequivocally that they make a very tasty sandwich cubano.

It's not a medianoche, though. The sandwich cubano the medianoche have the same fillings, but the bread is different. The sandwich cubano uses crusty "pan cubano," which is baguette-like, and the secret ingredient is LARD, which is why it's so savory and delicious when you squash it in a sandwich press. That's the kind DeSimone's approximates--very well, but without the pan cubano. The medianoche uses a sweet, soft egg bread, which gives a totally different, salty-sweet experience. One site says that if you can't get actual medianoche rolls, challah will do.

... And I haven't eaten lunch yet. [rumble-rumble-rumble]

Carrion Fairy
Carrion Fairy

Well no shit DeSimone's is going to annihilate Quiznos!

Keenan
Keenan

This is an online food blog for a magazine that gets its advertising money from marijuana dispensaries and "escort services".  If you are looking for perfect sentence structure and grammar read the New Yorker.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Not only is Shuji a writer, he's a great writer. You? You can't even reach the level of weak sauce.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

Thanks for the clarification, Ted. That reinforces the chicken / egg idea of a specialist sandwich shop that uses  the right breads and great lechon without first having the demand for it.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

Have to be honest and say I haven't had anything really great at Felix's. They've been the lone Cuban restaurant in OC for decades, but it feels like they're skating by on that monopoly for way too long with too little effort to step up quality.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

Love Porto's for the guava-cheese tarts. They make a good Cuban sandwich too. It's strictly speaking not an OC shop, so I have to give my nod to DeSimone's.

TedBKissell
TedBKissell

Thank YOU for letting me play the part of the Annoyingly Cubanized Gringo. Guy I knew in Miami described people like me as "aplatanados." (Plantain-ized.)

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

There IS that place up on Harbor Blvd., about as far as you can go before you hit whatever town it is you hit when you leave OC on Harbor Blvd.... but I don't know if they have a Cuban sandwich.

Jmcguinness
Jmcguinness

But surely you must find their Cuban sandwich preferable to Quizno's and therefore a better match up for this comparison?

Doc Nervous
Doc Nervous

A writer in Arellanoland who makes a lighthearted joke at his own expense instead of getting defensive? Deeply troubling. A coupla you good-sized boys step over here and give me a hand, but be careful. He could be on early release.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Someone call the doctor... the editor's been bananafied again.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

I like that word "aplatanados" it has a sound to it !.....

Morecheeseplease
Morecheeseplease

Just don't go to DeSimone's for anything with bacon on it, they are a bacon-less sandwich shop!

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

That would be Moro's, which does have a Cubano that I haven't tried.

Jmcguinness
Jmcguinness

Thanks for clearing that up, I didn't realize that was the point of the column. I should have.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

Yes, true. If this were Dueling Dishes story instead of Eat Here, Not There, I'd play it that way. EHNT is more about a dish you can get all over the place, which is why I chose Quiznos.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Also, I don't love their Cuban sandwich. I think the one at Tropicana (also in Downey) is better.

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