by Nicki Wood
You see it here: crunchy-tipped golden shreds of roast pork, seasoned mayo and pickle. Instead of a Cuban loaf, this is made like a panini which is a better solution than grilling, as the result is crisper and less oily.
I love a Cuban sandwich mostly for the rich roast pork and the tang of Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle.The Latin Wagon's sandwich omits the usual sliced ham. Ham on a pork sandwich always struck me as much of a muchness, so its absence doesn't bother me.
It does brings up a topic that's always lurking in my head: How many of the basic elements can be missing from a dish and it still retain that identity? For instance, if a banana split is missing the whipped cream, but has everything else, you'd still call it a split. But what if it's a split banana plus ice cream and whipped cream? Is it still a split? Or does should it have sauces?
At the other end is fettuccine alfredo, which over years on restaurant menus accumulated a multitude of toppings: my favorite example was blackened chicken over spinach fettuccine alfredo. I would argue that it's no longer fettuccine alfredo; it's blackened chicken over creamy green pasta.
Generally, what's your pet peeve in the "identity crisis" of menu items? And more specifically, is a Cuban a a Cuban without the ham?