For the past couple of years I had heard about a spot in D.C. that sells the alleged best Cuban in this area. A few nights ago, I confirmed the rumor was true. Now I know it is hard for you to wrap your head around the idea of the best Cuban coming out of a gas station (*Express gas station at that…) but it is most definitely true: Fast Gourmet has the best Cuban sandwich in D.C. I stumbled upon this truth after a night out along my fave corridor, the 14th and U street neighborhood, and after getting past the grungy scenery, I ordered the Cuban for $8.50.
With not much else going on in the place besides exchanging funds for gas, I focused my attention on the kitchen. Not much going on here either except for the three guys in the back standing among the piping hot steam coming from each new order. The menu is made up of the usual suspects: sandwiches, fries, etc. Once I took my first bite, I knew I had to share with my readers no matter how they might judge me for eating at a gas station and actually encouraging others to try it. The reactions I am receiving are exactly like the ones you would receive if you started telling people that you just had lunch with Madonna. No one believes me!
Honestly, I did not believe people when they told me about the Fast Gourmet’s Cuban until I bit into the tender shreds of pork. Questioning the validity of my palate and my current location, I wondered “how does a gas station house some of the most tender cuts of pork in the city??” Paired with layers of melted cheese, pickles and mayo, this Cuban could hold its own if faced with authentic competition. Now I know some traditionalist frown on the mayo and prefer mustard but simply ask for the replacement.
Stuffed and still a little baffled by the concept, I left knowing that I would return. This is a menu I need to spend some time with, there’s still a Chivito (*a combo of tenderloin, mozzarella, bacon, olives, hard boiled eggs, lettuce, tomato and mayo) with my name on it.
About the Author (Author Profile)Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9 and WJLA’s News Channel 8.
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- Cuban Cuisine | April 13, 2012