We are in Miami, after a nightmare arrival in the sunshine state we retreated to the hotel where we took refuge in the hotel lounge, Pure Verde before withdrawing to our hotel room for much needed rest. This is where we slept the sleep of the
well-traveled travel weary.
Morning is quick, as midday approaches there is only one thing on my mind… Cuban Sandwiches. A near perfect culinary delight, an exploration of pork duality, salty ham topped with unctuous roast pork, enveloped in buttery, melted, Swiss cheese tamed with acidic ball park mustard and neon green pickles, floating in a cloud of airy Cuban bread. I can’t wait.
According to food minded folks @ Yelp located just a stone’s throw from the Hyatt @ 155 E Flagler St I’d be able to find Havana Coffee and Tea company, and there I can find a Cuban sandwich. A short walk on a gloriously sunny Florida day in search of a Cuban sandwich sounds like a great plan, civilizations have been built on less solid foundations. As of this posting their website has been suspended but here’s a link to their Yelp page. http://www.yelp.com/biz/havana-coffee-and-tea-company-miami-2
The brief walk across the molten streets in the harsh yellow glare of the callous Florida sun and I’m there. A small unassuming niche in a wall of businesses the glass door to the Havana Coffee and Tea Company is flanked by two small bistro tables and chairs, currently populated by four cigar smoking Cubans who ignore me as I enter the small space.
My eyes adjusting to the comparatively dim, appropriately trendy, bistro lighting, the comfortable aroma of coffee hugs me and assures me I’m in a good place. After perusing the menu that consists of breakfast, pastries, desserts, sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee and teas. One of four friendly baristas takes my order for a Cuban sandwich and a café con leche, as they idly chat amongst themselves. In moments I’m seated, sipping comfortable coffee at a small bistro table. Variously reading the paper or pretending to while listening to the local’s gossip with the baristas, the wait is short, my sandwich arrives.
Expertly flattened and griddled the airy white bread and its no frills contents are unmarred by frivolous additions like sprouts or avocado, it is a textbook Cubano. Perfect. Slightly salty, fatty and simultaneously mustardy and acidic this sandwich floats within its own griddled yeasty container. Served alongside crispy fried plantain chips and some mayo concoction called fuacata sauce, you can’t buy a better experience, comfortable, relaxed atmosphere with superior food and coffee. The slowing of time while here does not go unappreciated. Unplugged from the computer, the paper a willing companion, I sip my coffee and enjoy a meal, life uninterrupted. The paper reads: Aaron Hernandez is guilty, the phones says nothing.
The only marring of this experience was a bold and determined fruit fly, resolutely hovering, dodging, bobbing and weaving, waiting, for a lapse in my defenses in order to snag a bite of this delicious sandwich. Who can blame it? As this sandwich is a perfect example of the genre, in the relaxed wood paneled ambiance of a place that feels like it wants you to be there. Such a place is the Havana Coffee and Tea Company. If you get the chance you should go, order the Cubano, you won’t be disappointed. Say hi to the fruit fly for me.
Coming soon: Still in Miami we see what all the Daniel Boulod hype is all about as we check out his Bistro Moderne, we hope to see ya’ there! – Pot and Pan Handler