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22 Catt. 3: A’ Lo Cubano

2013 July 24

Opinion of CHIEF JUSTICE JEREMY, in chambers.

In Crystal City for the day, I was excited to see a food truck parked on Crystal Drive. The Crystal City BID seems to have scared away most of its burgeoning food truck scene with its “Food Truck Thursdays” failure. (My sister has heard that many food trucks avoid Crystal City like the plague, but who could blame them). But A’ Lo Cubano (“ALC”) had braved the city of the future and set up shop in a particularly perilous spot outside a particularly adversarial Corner Bakery.

(I recall bad blood between Corner Bakery and Seoul Food. And the petition for cartiorari in this case notes the following: “Lady from Corner Bakery interfering (both handing out free treat coupons and also asking the truck to move) – brick and mortars have no clue what to do.” Amen.)

I was eager to sample ALC’s wares.

(Before passing to the questions at hand, I must note that ALC has successfully gotten the song “A Lo Cubano,” by Havanese hip-hop group Orishas, stuck in my head. In the freewheeling halcyon days of KaZaA, a certain high school student may or may not have compiled an album of international rap. Another song, “Così e Cosà,” by Milanese group Articolo 31, proved particularly popular among a certain social group. “Pachka Sigaret,” which isn’t even really rap at all, proved less so.)

I granted cartiorari to ALC’s traditional Cuban sandwich following an emailed petition for cartiorari. While this does not comply with the specific requirements of Rule of Procedure 2-3, I will accept this as a valid Petition as it complies with the spirit, if not the letter, of that Rule.

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

As a sandwich is “street food,” ALC’s Cuban sandwich is entitled to the presumption of affirmance announced in Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012).

A Cuban sandwich is a pressed sandwich of “Cuban pulled pork, premium sliced ham and imported Swiss cheese” (but imported from where?). A relatively simple thing, a good Cuban sandwich can be a thing of wonder. Unfortunately, despite being home to the Cuban Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy, DC is sorely lacking in decent Cuban food. (Versailles: move north.) At ALC, the Cuban sandwich can be ordered either of two ways:

(1) “traditional,” i.e., with yellow mustard and pickles, or
(2) “con mojo,” i.e., with a “house made spicy pepper sauce.”

Ever the traditionalist, I opted for the first option.  I ordered my sandwich with black beans and rice ($10), which proved a tad al dente for my liking and ultimately forgettable. The petition for cartiorari likewise notes: “Rice&Beans – $2 for essentially 2 oz of dried out rice and beans.  Unforgiveable.” I agree. The sandwich itself, however, was fantastic.

First, the size. The sandwich is huge. A clerk of mine was unable to eat more than half of her sandwich. I ate my entire sandwich but only because I had no way to store the second half of my sandwich and I refused to let it go to waste. (The things I do for justice, o reader!)

ALC’s ingredients were top notch. (All except for the yellow mustard, that is, but who wants top-of-the-line yellow mustard?) The ham and cheese were perfect and, while I have made known for my general uncertainty with regard to pulled pork, ALC’s pulled pork was moist and flavorful, at least close to El Floridano quality which generally serves as my bar. The bread was memorable: crispy on the outside, buttery on the inside. Most significantly, ALC doesn’t try to reinvent a classic sandwich or dress it up unnecessarily. It takes a simple combination and executes it well–generally a good sign when it comes to street food.

For these reasons, the case is

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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