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Where to find it: A Cuban Sandwich 

One of the foods most sought after by the people who relocated here from the Miami area is the Cuban sandwich. Recently with the increased popularity of all pressed sandwiches, the Cuban has made its way onto the menus of chain fast-casual restaurants.

The ingredients of a Miami-styled Cuban sandwich must be authentic to achieve the taste. One primary ingredient is the slow-roasted pork; the other is pan con lechon, Cuban bread. (Suarez Bakery in Park Road Shopping Center bakes pan con lechon.) The other components of the sandwich — thinly sliced ham, Swiss cheese and dill pickles — all contribute to the taste. Similar to the Cuban sandwich is the medianoche. The difference is the bread, as slightly sweet egg bread similar to challah is used.

Dave Mueller at his doll-house-sized Mueller Sandwich & Salad Co. (119 Huntley Place in Myers Park, 704-940-6880) is making a top-notch Cuban ($8 with a side). Although the complete repertoire of "traditional" ingredients is not used, the result is stellar. His slow-roasted pork barbecue (not sauced), together with ham and Swiss cheese, is scattered with dill chips and slathered with his "secret" mustard mixture, then pressed into Jamaican Coco bread. Coco bread is similar to old-fashioned Southern yeast rolls, but with a hint of sweetness from coconuts — hence the name. Thus the Mueller Cuban has a similar taste profile to a medianoche. Mueller uses a press to heat these sandwiches on a grill. While not "authentic," the taste of Mueller's Cuban sandwich seems to ring true for the Cuban ex-pats in town.

Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: tricia.childress@creativeloafing.com or 704-522-8334, extension 136.

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