Home » Food » Restaurant » critique » Joining in on the Search for the Perfect Q-ban Sandwich – Take One

Joining in on the Search for the Perfect Q-ban Sandwich – Take One

Marco and Linds over at Sorryless have been on a quest to find the perfect Cubano sammy. ‘Course they are way out there in Pennsylvania – a good 8.5-hour drive for me – so there ain’t no way I can play with them direct-like, so I am crashing their party from way over here in the Great White North …

I mentioned my latest adventure plans to my friend Julie who was more than willing to keep me company. Now… we were supposed to do this weeks ago, but you know how that goes. Life gets in the way and all that. Neither here nor there. We finally made it.

Turns out, there are a lot more places making Cubanos than I ever expected. I even solicited my Latina friend, Naira to see if she had an opinion. Despite her boyfriend being Cuban, she had NEVER been… Sigh. She did suggest a place and we shall be trying that place next. I was wanting to be nice to Jules and pick a place ‘twixt us so I chose La Cecilia, just outside of Little Italy on Bélanger Street.

I parked a few blocks away on purpose. Figured I’d need to walk off the extra calories and this is a ‘hood I don’t really know. Turns out it is more Latino than Montreal’s official Quartier Latin What up wit’ dat? I heard more Spanish a-speaking here than I ever did in the Berri area… Our colourful character (see below) confirmed this to us… He said this ‘hood had more Latino-influenced establishments than they did. Apparently, Mtl Blog agrees.

Julie needed to leave by 2:30-3:00, latest, to drive her son to his grad (ball), so we didn’t have all that much time, but really? How long does it take to eat lunch? We met in front of the restaurant at around 12:45.

Such a tiny place! We liked that. The owner (we presume) spoke in an extremely heavily Spanish-accented French. I made the mistake of saying hello in Spanish and he let ‘er rip… Señor! No habla l’español (though I can understand if spoken s-l-o-w-l-y). Second good sign.

I explain to him that we are on a mission to discover wonderful Cubano sandwiches and probably would have taken some kind of appetizer but we were able to take a “combo” of sandwich with soup or salad or fries and a drink. We both opted for the salad. As for the drinks, Señor Chef/Owner suggested a “Maracuyá drink”, or, as they call it, in his native Dominican Republic (uh-oh, not so good sign), “Chinola” – turns out that this is the term for Passion Fruit blitzed with milk into a sorta milkshake if, you please.

Absolutely delicious!

This character came in. What a hoot and a half. Obviously an employee (could be family, who knows?) and said that it was all wrong… How can you have a Latin-inspired restaurant such as this and have no music? Up on a chair he went and turned on the music. Ahhh… now it was perfecto!

Talk about adding colour to the joint

Along comes our sammy and “salad”. Um. OK. I had explained to Julie what the components are supposed to be, which is why she jumped on the bandwagon to have one: pork, ham, cheese (I won’t get mad if it’s not Swiss, but it better have flavour), pickles and mustard on a pressed bun.

I’ll start with the salad. Cut up iceberg lettuce, a few slices of tomato “artistically” placed on top and a little container of bottled Italian dressing. I couldn’t even take a picture. I know, I know, I should have. Hang on… lemme see if I can replicate it… Ya. Never mind. I am positive you can picture it.

The Cubano. Yes. Bread was pressed and nice and crunchy. Pork was the equivalent of pulled pork – I’m not too bothered by it because it was so tasty. Found a small slice of ham in the second half of my sandwich. Cheese? Was there cheese? Pickles… Yoooo hoooo? Where are you? They must have been held hostage by the cheese… I think there might have been some caramelized onions, but that may be because of the pulled pork. There were a few little pieces of lettuce but not even enough to give it crunch… There was some mustard on the bread. Wasn’t there? Yes, there was. A very light coating.

My expectations were not sky-high high… but they were higher than what we got. While the sandwich was missing too many ingredients to qualify as an Autentico Cubano in my books, it was tasty. That Maracuyá (or Maraculla, as another patron spelt it for me) drink was the BOMB. Don’t even talk to me about the salad. Combo, my ass. Next time I’ll splurge on soup or fries… In case you did not bother clicking on the link to the restaurant, here is what they show their salad and sammy to look like…

Which goes to show that I did NOT look at the pics because… does that look like a Cubano to you? Does it? No, it does not. So… my bad for choosing the joint.

I will score it a 4/10. NOT for the Cubano, but for the drink, the friendly owners/employees and the fabulous company. Plus, Jules did say she would accompany me on my next Cubano hunt which will be sooner rather than later. (Jules is more generous than I… giving it a 6 – but then, she had nothing to compare it to.)

Me and my beautiful friend, Julie

B, I think you hexed me this morning when I told you the name of the joint we were going to…

78 thoughts on “Joining in on the Search for the Perfect Q-ban Sandwich – Take One

  1. Q,

    The search goes Canadian! And umm . . we didn’t even speak of tariffs! Yet . . .

    I. Love. This.

    The “Search” post is a unique endeavor which you made your very own. You researched the heck out of us, and EVEN became the first to like a post no one did! And the research shines! It’s your flavor, your spirit . . it shines through in this.

    And I am humbled that you would endeavor such a thing. I truly am. It makes me smile from ear to ear.

    And I did NOT hex you! LOL.

    Okay, just for that, I’m going classico . . since the sammy decided not to do the same . . .

    Peace, friendly drinks, great company and most of all . . . this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That could be a whole ‘nother adventure, Sascha! I know Marco and Linds are trying to decide on their next “search for the best”…
      Yeah.. we are a “tad” far apart…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d have to join Sascha with the veggie version, but if you ever head to the Philadelphia/S. Jersey region, I’m sure you could find a great Cuban sandwich. Of course, you’d probably be busy trying the cheesesteak sandwiches instead, or maybe both. 🙂
    That drink you had sounded delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh, not heard of a Cuban Sarny. Have they not reached our shores yet? Or do I live so far into the sticks I haven’t heard glimmer of them. But that milk shake, not that sounds gooooooood.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG, You live in Montréal? I lived in Montréal from 1991 to 2003. My parents and all my siblings live on the south Shore of Montréal, Brossard. I lived in Little Italy 1996 until I moved to Chicago. And if I move back I’d live by Marché Jean-Talon again, or by Atwater Marché. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holy maccaroni, Sawsan! This world is a puny place indeed… I live in Boucherville, what 10 minutes from Brossard? I adore Little Italy and the Marché Jean-Talon and Atwater Market and… ok… I often go into town. Might even consider moving there one day – once I get rid of my kids… I mean, once they move out…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on sorryless and commented:
    It’s been a while since me and Linds B went off in search of a primo Cubano, so Imma reblog this here ditty done up by Dale at “A Delectable Life”. She’s off in search of her own perfect Cuban sammy up there in Canada, and the results are . . . . wait for it . . . yeah, you guessed it, delectable. What? It’s the name of her blog, gimme a break!
    Anyways, Dale has served up a hot pressed bit of crunch and punch, with some shimmy and shake added in for good measure.
    Order up!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Enjoyed this post. I have mixed memories of a Cuban sandwich i got on Ronald Reagan Avenue in Little Havana (near Hialeah i think, just West of Miami). This was in the eighties-early nineties.

    It was just a stand, really, with lots of locals taking up the bar stools, speaking a mile a minute Spanish, and the sound the espresso machine and smell of strong Cuban coffee and sandwiches on a grill. Delicious. You can definitely get a good Cuban sandwich in that part of the world! And i dont recall lettuce ever being involved. 😊

    Afterwards we walked back to the car, only to find that my nice 35mm Pentax camera had been stolen from inside a locked glovebox inside our locked car. So as i say, my memories are mixed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Andrea.
      It’s so funny because until a couple of years ago, I had no clue what a Cuban sandwich was! Then I watched Alton Brown make on on Good Eats. Then I decided to make my own (I cannot lie… it was GOOD) – and there was no lettuce 😉

      Oh no! That is such a horrible thing to have happen. To not only have it stolen, but to have them break into your car to search for it? So. Not. Cool.

      I’ll definitely be checking out a few more places before I wrap up this series… 🙂 Because, why not?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh boy, more Cubano sammy reviews! As a longtime vegetarian, you can imagine this is foreign territory (even more so than it being done in Canada) but it’s still fascinating to see what carnivores consider good eating. BTW, isn’t iceberg lettuce illegal yet? It should be. Even among flesh eaters. Happy future adventures in the search for a decent Cuban sandwich.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why thank you, kind lady!
      I am, definitely, an omnivore…
      And, shocker… I know, I know, I should not admit this… but a nice thick layer of iceberg does give a sandwich fabulous crunch, don’t you think? I mean it tastes of absolutely nothing but CCCCCCRRRRUNCH!

      Liked by 1 person

          • Of course not… And no offense taken. I think some want some texture in their sandwich… meat and bread, or tomato, for that matter, makes for a pretty silent bite. That said, to each their own!

            Liked by 1 person

          • No comments on that – fool – I withheld my true thought. I so know there are more Americans who are on the ball than there are blind worshipers of the Church of Lies.

            Liked by 1 person

          • So diplomatically put for that knuckle dragging cretin. You’re far more generous than I am but that just underscores what I’ve heard about Canadians being so nice. 😁 Trust me when I say there will be years of mea culpas with this hateful and stupid bozo from your neighbors to the south.🤡

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ha ha ha! Trust me… I have used much, MUCH harsher terms for that Blowhard. And, well, yes, we can be quite nice…
            It’s gonna be interesting, to say the least…

            Liked by 1 person

          • I keep hoping Trudeau and other world leaders will tell him to go pound sand in no uncertain terms. He is such an embarrassment. It’ll take a generation to undue what this clueless monster has wrought. He’s has systematically destroyed the ‘institution’ of the presidency, never mind his politics. *sigh* Will you guys help us with building a wall around him? Oh wait, I was thinking it was going to be like Mexico paying for the southern wall. His ignorance is breathtaking in scope and obviously beginning to impact my otherwise good judgement.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I fear Trudeau is liked almost as much as Trump is… here, that is. We will all admit to being very happy when he said NO to Trump last time… and I have to admit he was more than gracious when that asshole showed up late at the G7. I still, optimistically, hope Trudeau will start to show his father’s strength…
            There were so many memes going around with all the other leaders looking down at the Buffoon….
            When are you guys gonna FIRE him anyway 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • We keep hoping Congress grows a pair to truly and effectively investigate him. If nothing else, give him the bad press that drives him nuts (or nuttier than he normally is). As a naturalized American, I have to say I admire Trudeau from afar despite what the ‘homies’ might think. Keep your fingers crossed there is a significant change in the mid-term elections to stem his potential for ongoing damage. Frankly I’m not sure I have the stamina to last another 2 years with him not being otherwise contained somehow!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • So do we… from afar. We just don’t understand the whole thing. Others have been impeached for what seems like nothing when compared to what this one has done and keeps doing.
            Maybe it’s time to get that Collegiate thing cancelled?
            And, honestly, I.still have hopes for our guy. He did embarrass the shit out of us when he went to India…
            I honestly feel for you and for the rest of the world while he remains in power.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Trust me, a fair number of us don’t understand the absurdity that is this nut bar. Unfortunately we will have to wear this stain of shame for a very long time. It was astounding that hatred for a woman candidate was more significant than the possibility of electing a p*ssy grabbing reality star. She was not my favorite candidate but she was imminently qualified and wouldn’t have jeopardized our world standing like he has.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I do hear you. It is amazing the hatred sent her way… we could not totally understand up here…
            But choosing him? I can even – just a little bit – understand wanting change and thinking he was offering it. He did talk big… I am sure more than a few are sitting there thinking… how did I fall for this bullsh*t?

            Liked by 1 person

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