Approaching Cuban Sandwich Perfection at La Ideal in Tampa, Florida
If what you're looking for is a no-frills, puro y duro Tampa cuban, La Ideal the place to go. Yes, at the Columbia, you may find a more upscale rendition, flaunting meat roasted in a special $30K pork oven. Over at Arco Iris you can get Chinese fried rice on the side. Lincoln entices you with its wall mural paying graphic tribute to pig on a stick in all its glory. And Brocato's faithful are legion. But here at La Ideal, the humble sandwich shop that specializes in this, the most sacred staple to most Tampans, it is just between you and your sandwich mixto... roast pork, ham, a discreet slice of swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard pressed between Cuban bread. Out of respect to the old-timers who frequent the joint, refrain from adding new-fangled bastardizations like tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Like a close-knit family, this sandwich is meant to stick together.