Branding matters. Ever since I saw a retired trolley driving down on the road advertising Crispy Cuban sandwiches, I swore that I would one day eat one of their Cubanos. I finally caught up with Cuban-American owners Perry Santos and son Joe in Playa Vista. Their trolley parked in a turnabout outside of The Bluffs, a 500,000 square foot steel and glass compound for techies and creatives that now dominate lowlands beneath Loyola Marymount University.
Crispy Cuban launched in 2015 and the family’s hoping to open a Los Angeles storefront. In the meantime, you’ll have to diligently check their Facebook feed to pinpoint their current location. As I learned, it’s worth the trouble to try one of their sandwiches.
Their six sandwiches include one with ropa vieja and five Cubano variations. The classic Crispy Cuban ($9.50) features slow roasted pork, house-cured ham, Swiss cheese, tangy thin-sliced dill pickle and mustard butter on a crispy pressed Cuban baguette. Tampa Cuban adds Genoa salami. Midnight Cuban comes on a sweet Cuban roll. Juban adds pastrami and a side of pineapple coleslaw. Con Culo! is the largest sandwich with extra pastrami.
The Santos family strays from tradition in two ways. Most sandwiches incorporate untraditional ingredients, and they cut each sandwich length-wise. It wasn’t immediately clear why they decided to flip sandwich presentation, but flavor’s unaffected.
Perry Santos later weighed in on the sandwich slicing decision, saying, “When I was a kid, my grandmother used to take us on food adventures. Over the course of a year, we went to dozens of Cuban sandwich places in NY, and we one day hit on the BEST. It was a place called La Cochinita and they cut their sandwiches lengthwise as we do. Copy from the best!”
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.