CUBAN SANDWICH FESTIVAL
Where: Centennial Park, 1800 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa | When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday | Tickets: Free; www.latin-times.com
Jeff Houck's Picks: To taste some of Tampa's best Cuban sandwiches, start your journey with these stellar examples:
The Columbia Restaurant – In Ybor City's earliest days, The Columbia had a window along Seventh Avenue where customers could drive up and get a sandwich. You can still get a taste of those years with a Cuban made according to an old family recipe that includes imported salami with peppercorns.
Brocato's Sandwich Shop – Patience during hectic lunchtime hours at this landmark on East Columbus Drive pays off in the form of aircraft carrier-size Cubans that easily could feed two people. Get a stuffed potato or a devil crab and take the leftovers home.
West Tampa Sandwich Shop – The warm and sometimes raucous West Tampa neighborhood atmosphere is as delicious as the sandwich. Be sure to order a bowl of garbanzo bean soup, and get an empanada with picadillo to share at the table.
Interbay Meat Market – MacDill-area diners know this South Tampa neighborhood market for its meaty, crispy Cubans and perfectly sloppy cheeseburgers. Sit on the picnic benches outside and enjoy your meal. You won't be able to resist eating before you get to your car.
La Cubanita – If you like your Cuban with more of that drippy, succulent, delicious roast pork, the Alex Special at this eatery's locations on Lumsden Road in Brandon and on Lithia Pinecrest Road in Valrico will hit the spot. Bring a bib and extra napkins.
Wright's Gourmet House – A six-time champion of the Tampa Tribune's best Cuban sandwich contest, this sandwich features seasoned, roasted pork, ham, Genoa salami, turkey breast, pickles and Jarlsberg cheese with mustard.
We asked readers for their favorite Cuban sandwich spots:
@Santos_Dat_Dude – "Roberts Meats, 3435 S. West Shore Blvd., Tampa."
@jenjenjen731 – "Aguila Sandwich Shop off Hillsborough Avenue. There's a reason that place is always packed. Also, Mambo's Cafe off Armenia Avenue."
@buccobruce83 – "The Konvenient Food Mart at South Himes Avenue and Cherokee Avenue in South Tampa! Great Cuban sammich!"
@KeepDwightGirl – "Alessi Bakery in Tampa."
@JulesBTV – "Arco Iris on Columbus Avenue in Tampa."
@MJH3bucs – "The Floridian on Treasure Island."
@JoeBucsFan – "La Teresita on Columbus Avenue in Tampa.
@LorieBriggs – "Silver Ring Café in Riverview, La Septima in Brandon and, surprisingly, Subs N Such in Lutz."
@StPeteFoodie – "La Ideal Sandwich Shop in West Tampa."