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Get Me A Sandwich

March 18, 2011

So, I know that banh mi is the sandwich du jour in the foodie world but for some reason I just can’t get into it. I don’t know why, really, seeing as how it’s super cheap and involves cilantro. But, when it comes to foreign sandwiches, I prefer ones from my favorite food region: South of America. (I know that it could be blasphemous to lump Central American, South American, and Caribbean food together under one umbrella, and I do know that each cuisine is unique, but I’m referring more to the general flavor and spirit that ties them together.)

My first experience with a South of American sandwich was the chacarero, from Chilé. The warm roll is smeared with avocado spread, and then piled with meat (steak, traditionally). This is all topped with Muenster cheese, green beans, tomatoes, and hot sauce. It is delicious. I first discovered it at the eponymous Chacerero in Boston, and I still daydream about it. Thankfully, I found – crap! Um. Well. That sentence was supposed to be “Thankfully, I found apparently the only restaurant in all of New York City that also makes chacarero.” But I went to see what it was called and discovered that it has closed since I last ate there. NOOOO! This is so depressing. Give me a minute.

Alright, back. I cried a little, and then I did some furious Googling to see if that really had been the only place to get chacarero in New York and discovered two other places that have it, both in Queens. One is San Antonio Bakery #2 in Astoria, and the other is JC & Family (a Brazilian restaurant, hrm) in Woodside. San Antonio doesn’t have a website or a menu, so I don’t know what theres is like, but the one at JC doesn’t have the Muenster cheese, and I really like the Muenster cheese. Boo. I can’t believe I’m about to say these words, but, New York, I’m disappointed in you.

Anyway, I was introduced to another South of American sandwich tonight at Tina’s Cuban Cuisine in Midtown West. I found them through another Tenka deal, and decided to try them out for dinner. Now, I know this may be a weird theory, but whenever I walk into a restaurant that serves that authentic, homestyle-type food, I always get a little suspicious when it’s totally sterile. I don’t want it to be filthy, of course, but I want it to be a bit rough around the edges. So, I didn’t have high expectations when I walked into sparkling Tina’s, but they did not disappoint. I got the roasted pork sandwich, and it was simple yet scrumptious. Served on a baguette, the sandwich is merely a hefty helping of meat (other options were fried pork, grilled/baked/breaded chicken, steak or fish, all with different toppings), some mayo, grilled onions, and some salsa verde on the side. The pork was so tender and juicy and the toppings were perfectly proportional, totally hitting the spot. Although, looking back I wish I had gotten “The Cuban,” which is the traditional Cuban sandwich of pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayo, and mustard. I wasn’t too hungry at the time. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to have another Cuban sandwich adventure. SIGH.

Now, I’m hooked. I want a sandwich from every country South of here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    March 18, 2011 4:55 am

    I almost freaked because I went by the Province St location of Chacarero here in Boston and it was closed! Luckily the Arch St one lives on or else I too may have cried.

    • March 18, 2011 5:00 am

      Oh my god, you scared me for a minute there. I’m so mad, I’m actually going up to Boston soon but only for the weekend so I won’t be able to go there and now it is all that I want.

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