Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Dining

Tampa's 'foreign Cuban sandwich cor≠re≠spond≠ents' report back on Seoul's Tampa Cuban

The Tampa Sandwich Bar opened in Seoul, Korea in October. At the core of Geunmin Kang and Hyunmin Cho's menu, naturally, is a Tampa-style Cuban sandwich. While the couple aims to compete in the sixth annual Cuban Sandwich Festival in 2017, as of now they have not visited Tampa, much of their sandwich know-how gleaned from YouTube. Earlier this month, the Tampa Bay Times' volunteer "foreign Cuban sandwich correspondents" Scott and Heather Peisner assessed the restaurant's verisimilitude.

The couple traveled to the Mapo district of Seoul, northwest of the Han River, to investigate. (Actually, the Tampa residents and former Raymond James employees are doing cool things like traveling and working at an ape sanctuary.) Without revealing their identity, our correspondents ordered a Tampa Cuban (with salami, no pickle) on ciabatta and a Miami Cuban (pickle, no salami) on a baguette.

Our agents filed their report from the Seoul sandwich bureau:

"The sandwich was slightly unconventional, mostly because it was pressed with a panini-type sandwich maker and they understandably used ciabatta instead of Cuban bread."

Bread issues aside, the correspondents reported the sandwiches had the essence of a Cuban.

"Crispy, pressed bread filled with the tangy meat, cheese and a mustard-based sauce was close to the many we have tried before. This was a positive surprise, given they have never, well, actually had one before."

The correspondents dispatched their sandwiches with suitably Tampa-style beverages — a mojito and a banana bread beer — before revealing their identity.

"They were very kind people and we offered to help them when they visit Tampa next year."

During their investigation, four other Americans visited the Tampa Sandwich Bar, including one woman from Temple Terrace whose sister had sent her the Times' initial story on Kang and Cho's venture.

The correspondents were reluctant to speculate on whether the Koreans have a shot at winning top Cuban next year, but they did say the Tampa Sandwich Bar had earned its spot on the Tampa tourists' Seoul train.

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.

   
Comments
Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

ST. PETERSBURGThere are a lot of decommissioned gas stations across the country. Some have been reinvented, cleverly made over as upscale restaurants. Thereís Big Star in Chicago, Elaia & Olio in St. Louis, Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Va., even Bi...
Published: 06/18/18
From soft serve to ice pops, 12 places to get frozen treats

From soft serve to ice pops, 12 places to get frozen treats

I know we have three more months or so of hot-as-dog-breath Tampa Bay summer, but letís start things off on the right foot with some frozen treats. Ice cream is on my mind after a recent visit to Disney Springs, when I found love in a perfect scoop o...
Published: 06/13/18
Five restaurants worth checking out at Disney Springs in Orlando (w/video)

Five restaurants worth checking out at Disney Springs in Orlando (w/video)

LAKE BUENA VISTA Disney Springs has swiftly become a playground or trial balloon for the country?s celebrity chefs. Art Smith, Masaharu Morimoto, Rick Bayless, Guy Fieri, Tony Mantuano, Wolfgang Puck and others are already on board, with names like ...
Published: 06/13/18
A hook-to-table food experience in Tampa Bay

A hook-to-table food experience in Tampa Bay

Going fishing is like doing your taxes. If itís something you dive into just once a year you end up relearning the whole thing every time. Jake Whitfield eyed me, no judgment, and decided to cast for me the first time, my little wriggling greenback z...
Published: 06/11/18
Ceviche closing in South Tampa

Ceviche closing in South Tampa

TAMPA Ė The Ceviche restaurant at 2500 W Azeele St. is closing.Caledon Concepts, which operates Ceviche restaurants in Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg, said the restaurantís last day at that location will be June 16."The expiration of the lease for...
Published: 06/08/18
Deal alert: Hard Rock Cafe has 71 cent burgers for its birthday

Deal alert: Hard Rock Cafe has 71 cent burgers for its birthday

SAVE THE DATE: HARD ROCK B-DAYOn June 14, 1971, the founders opened their own American-style diner in an old Rolls-Royce dealership and called it Hard Rock Cafe. They had a vision to combine music, memorabilia and all-American fare. Hereís a tip: To ...
Published: 06/06/18
Restaurant review: El Chapo Taco fills a need with fun, friendly Mexican spot in Gulfport

Restaurant review: El Chapo Taco fills a need with fun, friendly Mexican spot in Gulfport

GULFPORTWhat do we know about El Chapo, a.k.a. Mexican drug lord JoaquŪn GuzmŠn? He ran the Sinaloa Cartel, even from prison, and first appeared on Forbesí billionaires list in 2009. Heís 5 feet 6. Heís the father of 12 or 13 children. He has a talen...
Published: 06/04/18
Updated: 06/07/18
National Doughnut Day is back. Where to get free doughnuts, doughnut beers and more

National Doughnut Day is back. Where to get free doughnuts, doughnut beers and more

Believe it or not, Friday is already June 1, which means National Doughnut Day is back with sweet deals.The day was created to celebrate the Salvation Armyís "Doughnut Lassies," who served the treats to American soldiers on the front lines during Wor...
Updated one month ago
A look at how Tampa steakhouse Ocean Prime keeps its menu fresh

A look at how Tampa steakhouse Ocean Prime keeps its menu fresh

TAMPAThe executive chefs all fly into Columbus, Ohio. Before they step into the kitchen, before they sharpen a knife, they sit down and have a meeting, an open dialogue. They examine the whole menu: Whatís working? What needs fixing? And then they ge...
Updated one month ago
Restaurant review: Bar Asia will have to raise the bar if it wants to thrive in South Tampa

Restaurant review: Bar Asia will have to raise the bar if it wants to thrive in South Tampa

TAMPALetís review our star system. One star is fair, two is good, three is great and four is mind-blowing. Iím going to start my review of Bar Asia by saying that one star for service is generous. Hereís why.On my first visit, the bartender was crabb...
Updated one month ago