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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Little Cuban Culinary Experience

When we travel and I don't care where it is I want to experience the local cuisine which is directly opposite from my husband who prefers to stay with the tried and true.  Honestly he went to Cuba and seriously never at Cuban food?  In fairness he did bring back a Cuban coconut made by one of the Cuban women and he brought me back Cuban vanilla but he never ate an actual Cuban dish!  There is a  good sized Latino where our vacation home is so finding a Latino restaurant is not difficult.  We had to do laundry since we were waiting on our washer and dryer and right beside the laudromat there was a Latino restaurant.  There is no point in sitting in a laudromat if you can multitask enjoying a nice meal as well!

Tropico Latino Restaurant is located at 5100 US HWY 98 in Lakeland, Florida.  It is small but packs a lot of atmosphere and they are ever so friendly!  The prices are definitely something to talk about as they are well under a lot of the local restaurants. Our meal cost $13.36 plus $2 tip.

We started our meal off with Cafe Cubano (left) for my husband and Cafe Con Leche (right) for myself.  The Cafe Cubano was rich and robust while the Cafe Con Leche was smooth, creamy and sweet.  Heaven I would go back there just for the coffee!  It was a true delight :)

Cuban sandwich
A couple of months ago I blogged about my new panini press (panini grill, sandwich press).  A panini press is a fancier version of a sandwich maker that allows you a greater variety as to what type of sandwich you can make.  I've been on the look-out for more sandwiches that I can make in th panini press.  Both of the sandwiches we ordered were made using a sandwich press.

My husband ordered the Cubano (Cuban sandwich).  The sandwich consisted of ham, roasted pork, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard and Swiss cheese on Cuban bread.  The sandwich was then grilled using a sandwich press.  The Cubano was originally created in cafes serving Cuban workers in Cuba or Cuban communities in Florida.  It remains a very popular sandwich in Miami, Florida.  The Cubano tradition has pickles on it buy my husband ordered his without.  He declared the Cubano quite tasty!

chimuchurri aka Dominican burger
I ordered the Chimichurri (Dominican burger).  The sandwich had a burger pattie, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions with a tangy tomato, mayonnaise and mustard blend sauce.  It had been grilled using a sandwich press.  This sandwich was a little messy to eat but quite tasty.

Both sandwiches would be very easy to make at home.  Neither have fancy ingredients which makes them easy sandwiches to put together.  The Cubano in particular would be a great way to use left-over roast pork.  If you don't have a sandwich press you can get the same results by placing the sandwich in a hot fry pan then place a heavy weight (eg. heavy skillet) on it.  When the first side is golden brown flip the sandwich replacing the weight until the bread is flattened by about half. 

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