Outside of coffee shops of all places, Cuban sandwiches are not easy to find in Charlottesville. Sure, we’ve long had cheffy riffs on the classic pork-loaded sandwiches. But, winemaker Derek Young believes that we have been short on the real thing. And, he’s about to fix that.
Young fell in love with the sandwiches while in college in Florida. He cut his teeth at the legendary Bern’s Steak House, where he first learned about great food and wine. He has since been a wine buyer, winemaker, and brewer, and now is launching a trailer, El Guero, focused on the Cuban sandwiches he remembers from Florida.
Young says there are two main styles of Cuban sandwiches in Florida – Tampa’s and Miami’s – and his will be a blend of both. Following Tampa, his Cuban’s will feature salami. But, rather than Tampa’s famously crusty bread, Young will use a softer bread common to Miami’s version. Pressed between the bread is roast pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and mustard. And, they all come with the traditional side of plantain chips.
While Young’s focus is squarely on the sandwiches, he will also offer pastelitos de guayaba – traditional pastries of guava and cream cheese rarely seen outside Cuba or Florida.
El Guero’s debut is this Saturday, April 15, from 12-4 pm, at Blenheim Vineyards.