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Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Tag: Powerhouse Brewery Puyallup


Cuban sandwiches, take one: Blazing Onion, Chambers Bay Grill, Powerhouse Brewery and Panera serve puckery sandwiches full of pork

The Cuban at Chambers Bay Grill is made with pepperjack cheese and a jerk spice aioli.

Think of the Cuban sandwich as a pork-filled, puckery, grilled cheese sandwich.

A traditional Cuban, popular in the southeastern United States, is made with crusty bread grilled on something called a plancha press (a flat-top version of a panini press) or simply grilled.

All Cubans – or at least the good ones – have one thing in common: Two kinds of pork. Thick, chewy ham gives the sandwich an unctuous bite, while roasted, shredded pork adds a luscious layer of texture and flavor. Cheese glues together the sandwich’s porky textures and lends a rich edge.

I’ve seen the Cuban sandwich here with Swiss, gruyere, jack or cheddar, although traditional Cubans are made with Swiss.

And here’s an essential component for a Cuban: Pucker and crunch in the form of pickles and mustard. Without that? It’s just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Depending on the source, the Cuban sandwich was born either as cafeteria cuisine or it was a favorite sandwich of sugar mill workers that dates back to 1930s Cuba or earlier. It’s a sandwich that’s gained popularity in the southern part of the country for many years, but it didn’t seem to really blip onto Tacoma’s sandwich radar until last year.

I’ve seen every configuration of Cuban sandwich, including a porkless one at ­Asado made with fish (can you even call that a Cuban?) and another at Panera made with chicken. I’ve even found one at the Ram that was in burger form.

Today and tomorrow, I’ll take a look at nine restaurants that serve their own interpretations. You be the judge of authenticity, but here are the details of whether they’re worthy of your dining dollars.  Click “more” to read about today’s four sandwiches.

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Bar Burger Noshdown: Hundreds of napkins, plenty of heartburn and 20 bar burgers you should eat before you die

The bacon cheeseburger at the Beach Tavern in Tacoma.

Bar noshing doesn’t get any better than a big, cheesy gut bomb of a burger. It’s the anytime accompaniment to a cold pint at your favorite watering hole.

I’ve spent the past six months touring South Sound bars, taverns and pubs in search of perfect bar burgers. (Yeah, I know it’s a tough gig I’ve got here.) What follows today through Friday is my report of the top 20 bar burgers I wrapped my hands around.

I compiled this report largely based on recommendations from TNT Diner blog readers. Other recommendations came from chefs and foodies about town.

Here are the bars I’ll be writing about:
Tuesday: Powerhouse Brewery, Cliff House, Matador, Blazing Onion and Beach Tavern.
Wednesday: Engine House No. 9, El Gaucho, Katie Downs, The Parkway, Ram
Thursday: Crown Bar, Harmon, Bite Restaurant, West End Pub, Cheers South Hill
Friday: Asado, Maxwell’s, Pacific Grill, The Hub, The Right Spot

I set up a burger mission statement from the beginning. Read more »