QUBANO

Av. Hildago near Matamoros Isla Mujeres
Mexico

Open For Lunch and Dinner
Monday - Saturday

God was willing.

After my first lunch at Qubano I told owner Vivian I would see her soon. She answered in a New York accent that belies her Cuban heritage, "God Willing." With God's encouragement I returned the next day.

Qubano's sandwiches are amazingly good. On the left, Teston - Vivian's invention for a customer who couldn't eat bread and whose wife would ""kill me" (Vivian) if she gave him a real sandwich. She came up with the idea of slicing plantains lengthwise, frying them like testones and using that as bread. Works perfectly, though maybe a tad greasily, but nothing wrong with that. More to lick off my fingers. The Teston is filled with marinated chicken and caramelized onion. Everything is brushed with Mojo sauce - sour orange, garlic and onion - just before serving.

There are cuban sandwiches and then there is Vivian's cuban sandwich. She roasts the pork and saves the juices and fat. Once ordered, she saut├ęs the pork with a bit of the fat and juices. Makes for a juicey sandwich, full of flavor.

Sides include yuca fries and Hungarian potatoes, Vivian's mother's recipe - sliced potatoes, eggs, onion and sour cream. "You have to try them." I did.

Vivian's other innovation, or perhaps a neighbor's, a puppy who hosts the outdoor dining room. When not chewing on a slipper, tossing a doll in the air or napping, the pup greets customers and puts up with their petting and fawning. Probably a good balance to Vivian's New York attitude. February 2009

Update 2012. As good as I remember. Had to order Vivian's cuban sandwich, along with a side of fresh cut fries. And a new adiction, watermelon water. Qubano's has moved to a new location on Avenue Hildago.

Update 2013. Sometimes change is good. Qubamo's new locaion on Avenue Hildalgo, They are now open for dinner and they now have a liquor license. The liquor license means Vivian can serve her take on the mojito - granulated suger instead of syrupy sweet simple syrup - a great mojito, not as sweet as the others hereabouts.

VIvian is also doing Friday specials. Last Friday, one of my favorite dishes, Arroz con pollo - TGIF.

Great location too, now. Right on Hildago, Isla's walking street. Lots to watch between courses.