Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Cuban Diversion In Northern California

This Huge Cubano Sandwich Made 2 Meals!

Restaurant Review: Rumba Cuban Kitchen in Windsor, CA

I last had a "real" Cubano sandwich, with its layers of pork meat and ham, pickle, swiss cheese, and toasted, flattened bread, at the touristy Cuban Pete's Caribbean Grill restaurant outside Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. I hadn't realized how much I missed those flavors until one weekend on Old Redwood Highway, hunting for a new Sunday alternative to our regular hangout, I spotted the Rumba Cuban Kitchen sign as we drove past.

Alas, like Chick-fil-A, Rumba is not open on Sunday. But we persisted, and finally caught it open when we were in Windsor, and hungry. 

The outside of the building is unprepossessing—in fact, it looks like it may have begun life as a realtor's office or a florist's shop. The thermometer stood at 89 in the bare, half-empty parking lot, and I worried the inside might not be air-conditioned.

Savory Picadillo in a "Cuban Sloppy Joe"
We stepped inside to find a cool, breezy, welcoming space with a dozen or so tables and a high lunch counter. A chalk specials board immediately caught my eye with a promise of oxtail. Wow! I haven't had oxtail since we were in South Africa... 

But today, I am here for the Cubano sandwich, and although I flirt with the menu, I order the Cubano in the end. My spouse opts for the "Cuban Sloppy Joe," a meaty picadillo in a small loaf of bread. Both meals come with a side of tosturos, salty fried plantain chips, and a dip of Cuban-style mojo sauce, probably made with bitter orange juice, garlic, oregano, and salt.

The picadillo sandwich vanished rapidly, but my Cubano was so rich and meatyand so largethat I eventually caved, and asked for a to-go box. The half-sandwich barely fit on the diagonal. It would later make a savory supper for both of us, with an extra layer of yellow mustard to perk up the moisture.

While we enjoyed our sandwiches and tasted the Iron Beer, a Havana-local root beer with a pleasant notes of cinnamon and island spices, the restaurant filled up with others looking for a cool haven from the heat, and a meaty meal. We toyed for several minutes with the prospect of dessert: arroz con leche (rice pudding), or perhaps a cafe cubano with a coconut pastry on the side—but the half-Cubano stored in its to-go box argued that our appetites were fully stated.

Next time, I will order dessert first!

Rumba Cuban Kitchen

Address: 8750 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, CA 95492
Phone: (707) 687-5632
Open: Mon—Thur, 10:30 AM—9 PM; Fri & Sat, 10:30 AM—9:30 PM (Closed Sunday)