Pulling a fast one in our search for the perfect Cuban sammy


Bobby Flay ain’t gonna be down with this latest episode of our search for the quintessential Cubano. Neither is Rick Bayless, Giada, Cat, Guy, Rachael, Rocco or Jamie. And most certainly not Dead Fidel, who haunts my crib every time I bastardize a mojito by switching out rum with bourbon. Soooo, it’s a good thing none of these peeps read the blog.

Linds B likes to think we’re doing “the Lord’s work,” in our sublime and tasty search for the definitive Cuban sammy . . . and who am I to argue with such a devout perspective as this? So with that being said, we ventured into the desperate places for this expedition, as the erstwhile apostles that we are. No hipster cafes or grunge bars, no five star grilles or ethnic landmarks . . . not this go round. Nah, we decided to go all CliffsNotes, by doubling down on the dubious enterprise of a fast food version of a sacred standard. We chose the Cowboy hat . . the House of Meats . . the big A . . yeah, that place. Arby’s.

Now, before you summon your best Tony Montana four lettered variations and shake your head in disgust, lemme ‘splain.


Sure, a ton of fast food establishments have run out their takes to the Cuban sandwich, and yes . . most everyone of them has failed horribly. But Arby’s is a favorite place, even if we don’t frequent it out of respect to our major arteries. Arby’s has all the requisites to which we look for in our search: Flavor, meats and curly fries. Hey, we don’t ask for much, but when we do . . it best include curly fries.

McDonald’s came up with its own version, which along with McSpaghetti, McLobster,  McVegan and McDLT rates as the worst idea since Liza Minelli married that Liberace groupie. Hooters introduced a Cuban sandwich, and the only reason it took so long for the patrons to figure out it wasn’t very good is because, well . . it’s Hooters. And let’s not forget Subway, who rolled out a Cuban sandwich for a limited time that wasn’t nearly limited enough.

Fast Food For Thought Intermezzo: 

Linds B introduced me to a fast food hack that changes everything. For fifty one years of my life, I’ve been using those paper condiment cups wrong! Mind . . . officially blown. But don’t take my word for it, check out the new way of doing business on a wholesale level. The truth IS out there . . .

So the list of fast food fiascos- as per the Cuban sammy- is extensive. But it wasn’t about to deter me and Linds B, so when a mutual friend let us know about the Arby’s offering, we replied in unison “On it!”. After which we did our best Ricky Ricardo and got to stepping.

The blueprint for the Arbys Cubano follows the standard application to a tee. Pork, ham, swiss, pickles and mustard. And lemme just say, ample amounts of pork and ham. I mean . . did you get a load of that pic? It looks like a ham jail break, which is never a bad thing.

The Verdict

We didn’t carry great expectations into this particular expedition. We just wanted a meat stuffed vessel that was going to immobilize us, after which we could chase regret and anguish with curly fries and fountain drinks. Thank you Arby’s because you came through! As for a report card? The pork and ham were tasty, the Swiss was just kinda hanging out (no melt to it), and the pickles were in the witness protection program on most bites. The mustard, or whatever in the hell it really was, worked well to bring the whole thing together. The bread wasn’t pressed, because it’s Arby’s.

We scored it a 4.75 out of 10, with a curve of one point added for being the one fast food version that didn’t completely bastardize the iconic sandwich. Plus, the curly fries . . those buggers always merit good food faith.

All things considered, we enjoyed the experience. This break from tradition has only served to strengthen our appreciation for the real thing. It was the culinary equivalent of having an affair, after which you confess everything and vow to make things better than ever with your significant other. And we vow to never let our roving eyes tempt us into a fast food Cubanito fling again.

Unless Jimmy Johns comes calling . . .





63 thoughts on “Pulling a fast one in our search for the perfect Cuban sammy

  1. As someone who’s trying to jump start some momentum for a diet, I have to say the photo had an impact. It helps to hear it rated less than 5. Nevertheless, for a ham-lover who hasn’t had ham since Christmas, that doesn’t look half bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. B,
    That was a fun read! You know how to entertain your audience. Cuban sammies are not big here in Quebec and we don’t even have any Arby’s!
    However, I not only make ‘am, the pickles ain’t playing hide ‘n’ seek and the sammy is pressed. Just sayin’. Should all a y’all end up in Montreal, I’ll be open for bidness!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s probably been about 30 years since I’ve been to an Arby’s. I’m hoping it will be another 30 years before I go back. But, you know, I feel like maybe I should try to make a Cubano sandwich this weekend. See what I can do with the thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not a fan of the curly fries. They always seem extra greasy. That pointless comment aside, I think your score should have started on a curve. It’s Arby’s for goodness sake. Give them a chance! Of course, what do I know. I only go to Arby’s on Sundays because the damn Chick-fil-a is closed and I like their chicken tenders (Arby’s, that is).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my…where to begin? I appreciate your efforts in the hunt for the perfect sammy, but even as a long-time vegetarian the whole Arby’s idea kind of makes me retch and that’s WITH the vegetarianism aside. Notwithstanding the appearance of their signature meat with it’s plastic looking Barbie look, all of their meat alone makes shiver. When eating fast food, best to stay in the fries category and bypass whatever those grayish, brownish slices are supposed to be. Better luck next time in your quest when the meat is actually real and not from (B)Arby’s world. 😲

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whaaa???
      Chili’s does a Cubano and nobody told me???!!!
      Imma have to bring this to the attention of Linds B, because it’s impossible for yours truly to believe that we missed out on this one. Our research department peeps best not buy any green bananas . . .
      Okay, we don’t have a research department, but still . . .


  6. hi – as noted – I read this before buyt was not logged in…
    and I love your writing and at least you were trying with an open mind.
    Hey – it could have been a 10 out of 10 – just never know.
    And I hope to try this sometime this year – but in the past – the meat from arby’s has not agreed with me (think they add stuff to flavor their meats…)
    hope you have a nice day

    Liked by 1 person

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