Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Torta Cubana: Everything But the Kitchen Sink

It came with mayo, melted cheese, pickled jalapeno peppers, lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado, eggs, beans, bacon, sliced hotdog, smoked ham and milanesa (a slice of breaded fried beef) all in a huge bun. In short, it appeared to have everything but the kitchen sink. It was huge and it was called a Torta Cubana, which I mistakenly thought meant it was a Cuban sandwich. I now realize after some research that it is basically Spanish for a sandwich with everything.

With paint, a mix of everything produced a muddy brown that looks very unappealing. However, when you toss all these ingredients together, it was like biting into a rainbow of flavors. I eagerly dug into my sandwich and got about 3/4ths of the first half down before I started feeling full. I should have quite but I kept going and polished off the first half of the sandwich. The girls were still picking away at their meals so as I waited, I kept thinking about that rainbow of taste sitting right there in front of me and grabbing pieces of it here and there. Before too long, I had the bun off and was eating individual layers savoring the tastes as individuals. By the time the girls finished, all that was left of my Torta Cubana was a bun and piles of miscellaneous condiments. I was in pain.

We had found this sandwich and a myriad of other ethnic foods at the Global Market in Minneapolis. We had been expecting a market where raw ingredients and cultural trinkets were sold in multitudes of small shops lining small tree lined streets. Instead, there was one large building in a block of smaller less prosperous looking businesses such as a beer & cigarette shop and seedy looking loan stores. The ground floor of the large building was crammed full of various fast food versions of countries from around the world with a few stands selling cheap trinkets that I'm sure were made in China. There appeared no logic to the arrangement of what went where and it was a maze. After we had received our food, we ended up walking down various aisles and dead ends before finding an alcove with a few tables that were empty.

Although the food was excellent and I would stop there again for the food, the overall experience was a disappointment and the only one of the trip. I would just plan on getting your food to go and driving to some park to enjoy it. I would suggest walking to a park to be environmentally friendly but in that neighborhood, I wouldn't want to linger, especially after nightfall.

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