Sandy’s Cafe at M and M Laundromat, Key West, Florida

When Nancy and I are in Key West, we usually end up eating at our co-grandparents’ along with Mike, Liza, and Ella, and Lily. David and Sue Boyd are lovely people and sensational hosts. Wonderful as they are, duty calls me relentlessly. I needed to do research for the Blog. Regular readers will guess that the research included Cuban sandwiches.

I’d had a good Cuban sandwich at Kim’s Kuban on a previous trip, and I was looking forward to further research, beginning with Sandy’s. I’d heard a lot about it, including from my Indian Springs classmate, Al Hudson, who spent a lot of time wandering around Florida eating. Al is a font of wisdom. So off Nancy and I went for our first lunch in Key West.

Here’s picture of Sandy’s I took one evening a couple years ago.

Sandy’s shares a building with the M&M laundromat. It’s a good concept. People who are doing their laundry have time on their hands, so what do you do? You can read Proust, listen to Wagner, learn to speak Chinese, or get something to eat. You’d be surprised how many people decide to eat.

I ordered a Cuban mix sandwich and a lemonade. I also ordered a ham croquet because I couldn’t recall ever having had one, and it only cost $1.25. The sandwich cost $8.50.

The Cuban mix is a Key West variation. In Key West they put lettuce and tomato on a Cuban sandwich and, at Sandy’s, salami. (Kim’s adds pepperoni.)

Nancy wanted grilled chicken, so I ordered her a grilled chicken sandwich ($8.25).

We hustled back to the Havana Cabana to eat. I started with the ham croquet, which, alas, had more fried than ham flavor. The lemonade, however, was very good, at once sweet and tart, with a fresh lemon flavor.

The Cuban mix was a good sandwich. Alas, it was badly overdressed with the mustard and mayonnaise.  The pork was good roasted pork, but without the mojo flavor that sets the Cuban sandwich apart from and above other roasted pork. The salami was nice, but there could have been more of it in the absence of mojo.  And frankly, I don’t see what the lettuce and tomato really add in terms of flavor or texture. It tasted good, but it wasn’t great.

Nancy liked her grilled chicken sandwich.  The chicken had been chopped up before grilling, which added caramelization and flavor, and it wasn’t overdressed.  As it happened — as it so often happens — I was supposed to order the grilled chicken entree, but I was too busy looking at the menu to focus.  Poor Nancy. My mixup was just another day in Nancy’s life.

Sandy’s is well worth a try, but see if you can get them to go easy on the mustard and mayonnaise, and perhaps to double the salami.


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