The first thing you notice is the butter. The paper beneath the sandwich is as transparent as a greasy windowpane. It slicks your fingers, then your tongue, before presumably hitting your arteries. But all you’re thinking is, “Damn, this sandwich is making me happy.”
I was in the mood for a medianoche. And I found one that hit the spot at Cubasi Bistro. But the moment I ordered my sandwich, I doubted my decision. The smell of garlic pouring from the kitchen was clearly coming from other dishes. Should I have gotten the ropa vieja? The codfish al ajillo?
But it was too late, my sandwich was coming. A server brought me a cup of mamey smoothie on the small, shaded patio. The frozen fruit melted quickly on that balmy evening, bit by bit revealing the unique flavor of the tropical treat that I would most closely compare to a persimmon with a bit of guava.
My doubts were allayed as soon as that buttery sandwich appeared. At first, I thought I had accidentally been brought two medianoches. In fact, the sweet egg bread on which my sandwich was served had started out about the width of a hot dog bun and had been split to make room for the raft of sandwich fillings.
If you’re a fan of Cuban sandwiches, you’re probably also a medianoche lover. The fillings are the same, the only difference is the softer, sweeter bread. The name, which means “midnight,” refers to its popularity as a late-night snack among Havana club-goers.
Those fillings revealed themselves one by one. First, I tasted the pickles and yellow mustard. Then the nest of tender strands of roasted pork unraveled, salty and fatty in the best of ways. After the ham, finally came the milky, nutty flavor of the melted Swiss. After a few bites, my brain was able to process it all together in a single buttery, tangy bite. And I no longer doubted my decision. // 22000 Dulles Retail Plaza Unit 100
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