28 Dec Food Network Star Says One Of America’s Best Sandwiches Is In NJ
WEST NEW YORK, NJ — Where can you find the hands-down best Cubano, or Cuban sandwich, in America? That would be La Pola restaurant in West New York, which has had just one man behind the counter since 1978 (the owner, Belarmino Rico), making the absolutely perfect combination of ham, pork, pickles, cheese, mayonnaise and mojo sauce on toasted flat bread.
The determination was made by Carl Ruiz, a Jersey-born chef and Food Network star who said he’s eaten more than 500 Cuban sandwiches across the U.S., from Tampa and Miami and everywhere in between. And La Pola in West New York is the best, Ruiz told Star Ledger food columnist Pete Genovese.
The declaration that the best Cuban sandwich resides in Jersey prompted a heated social media reaction, with many skeptical of the claim and even the city of Tampa’s official Twitter account chiming in, claiming that they have the best Cubano.
According to the NJ.com article, Tampa is “the king of Cuban bread,” but La Pola’s sandwich is still the best.
Ruiz also told NJ.com that too often restaurants today make their Cuban sandwiches with pulled pork — blasphemy — and they are “overmustard-y and over pickle-y.”
He also told the NJ.com columnist a fascinating history of the Cubano: “The Cuban sandwich, he says, “wasn’t designed for Cubans. It was designed for tourists in Cuba. As tourists started coming into Cuba, the Cubans said, we’ve got to make sandwiches the Americans like. What do they like? Mustard. What else do they love? They love that sweet ham. And Americans put cheese on their sandwiches. What cheese can we get that we don’t have to refrigerate? Swiss.”
Original article on NJ.com: