Best Cuban Sandwich

Mama's Latin Café

Sometimes you can't get to Havana -- or even Miami. Sometimes, this five-table, 8-month-old splinter of a café at the western end of the Southland Shopping Center is as far as you make it for a Cuban sandwich fix so satisfying you'll wonder why Mama isn't front-page news. Oh, there are lots of breakfast items (topping out at $4.50) and soups ($2 to $3) and croquettes ($1.50) and the usual Cuban-y things on the menu -- like you care. What you came for is what you'll pull up your barstool to the blue plastic malachite countertop for: ham pork and thinly sliced Swiss cheese and pickles and mustard, all between bread ironed flatter than Bubba's forehead, blending neatly to form a taste as unique as a kiss. The low-overhead prices are much more in line with those of Havana than South Beach (where a Cuban sandwich can run $9). Although you hear mostly Spanish among the customers, gringos are welcomed by the capable staff. Mira. That means you. Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day but Sunday, Mama's packs 'em in at lunchtime, so drop by nearby Big Lots until the rush dies down. Either way, you're on to one of the real bargains in town.

 
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