Hopefully your part of the world is expecting a lot more sun and warmth than Los Angeles is this week. Despite signs all weekend that spring was coming a bit early, this week is set to prove otherwise.
So what should I do to brighten up my days when the sun won't do it for me?
Eat delicious Caribbean style sandwiches.
Suggested by reader Mike, I headed to a little shack in Santa Monica called Cha Cha Chicken, home to the very promising Mulato Cubano sandwich.
Having talked at length about my love for Porto's Cubano sandwich numerous times, I was very intrigued to try a new style of cubano that came highly recommended.
Instead of various pork products piled high, the Mulato Cubano takes marinated shredded chicken, cheese, lettuce, pickles and mustard pressed inside a crisp baguette.
The baguette was excellent. Crisp and flaky outside and a warm inside, this pressed roll is the best pair of bookends a cuban sandwich could have.
I have to admit, that on my first bite, I was nervous about the chicken. The first mouthful wasn't very tender and lacked flavor, but as I continued, its quality increased and by the end of my first half I had devoured a large portion of incredibly tender, thoroughly cooked (although not overcooked), juicy, and deliciously marinated chicken.
The mustard, cheese, and pickles added their familiar tastes to this sandwich as they do all cuban sandwiches and are definitely a delight in this mix.
My favorite part of this sandwich was the jerk sauce (appropriately timed jokes....now) which was provided on the side. This allowed me to dip my sandwich or pour on as much as I wanted. Jerk sauce is a Jamaican style sauce similar to barbecue sauce, but a bit spicier. I used all of it that I could, but the sandwich is just as enjoyable without as it already comes packed with flavor.
As a side I ordered the fried plantains. While the fruit itself was not as sweet as a banana, the deep fried batter enveloping them provided a light sweet flavor that made these an enjoyable side dish.
The Mulato Cubano is indeed another excellent cuban sandwich and should be tried by anyone visiting Santa Monica. Is it better than Porto's Cubano? That's a tough call. Both are delicious and well made. Both have fresh ingredients. It's more of an issue of whether you're a chicken person or pork person.
Either way, you will not be disappointed.
Until next week....D-A-N-G-E-R and DANGER was his name-o.
Cha Cha Chicken
1906 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405