Back to my Key West Cuban sandwich survey. Sue and David Boyd suggested Cuban Coffee Queen, so off we all went. Cuban Coffee Queen is set in the center of a city block. Not the middle of a block as in halfway down a street, but the very center of the block, as if it had wandered in among the other buildings and become lost. To get there, you wander tentatively up one or another promenade –alley if you prefer — and there it is, just across from the Flo Spa.
Being a coffee queen, the place also roasts coffee, and does a land office business in it. It’s a popular place, as you can see above, but they do a good job with social distancing. And while most people order carry out — food or coffee — there’s a nice dining area with five colorful picnic tables.
The sandwich menu is very interesting. The Jose Marti offers Cuban pork and horseradish. The Cuban Caliente Mix has horseradish, mayo, and jalapeños, and the Shipwreck includes chorizo, roasted green peppers and onions, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, and cilantro chimichurri sauce. Also, as everyone in Key West is required by law to serve Key lime pie, Cuban Coffee Queen offers frozen Key lime pie on a stick, dipped in chocolate.
I was too focused on sandwiches to worry about pie on a stick, chocolate dipped or not. My attention did wander from the standard Cuban Mix (pork and cheese), as did David’s. We both heard the siren song of bacon and ordered the Cuban Queen Mix, a sandwich with pork, American cheese, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and mustard on Cuban bread.
Nancy and Sue ordered … something else. I have a photo of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, and they sell salads, but, as I say, I was pretty focused.
We left and ate the sandwiches on the public beach next to the Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria hotel. We’d all been to Casa Marina last year for drinks and hors d’ouvres on the beach. It’s a beautiful old hotel with a nice seating around fire pits on the beach, a lovely place to enjoy a drink and a sunset.
It also was nice on the public beach, gazing over the concertina wire at the Casa Marina beach. I made that up. It was a very low fence, one I could have jumped over a few … dozen years ago. The sun was shining, and my sandwich was quite good. The pork was moist and tender, and had a very nice flavor. And the bacon was … bacon, Bacon makes everything better. The Cuban Queen Mix was an excellent sandwich, but not really a Cuban sandwich. A sandwich with bacon is a “bacon, [insert other ingredients] sandwich”. By any measure, though, sitting on the sand and eating a Bacon and Cuban sandwich is a path to contentment.
I’ll to go back to Key West, and I definitely will go to Cuban Coffee Queen and order a traditional Cuban sandwich, and I’ll report back. I also may order, well, I also may order all sorts of things. Meanwhile, I urge you to stop by Cuban Coffee Queen and have a great sandwich.
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