A New York Times crossword clue over the weekend reignited an age-old debate over which Florida city has the best Cuban sandwiches: Tampa or Miami?
NPR's All Things Considered took up the battle Tuesday.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: All right, Audie, help me out here. Name a city, five letters long, famous for its Cuban sandwiches.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Miami.
SHAPIRO: Actually incorrect according to The New York Times.
CORNISH: Wait. What?
SHAPIRO: The answer in Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle was Tampa.
CORNISH: OK. That's an unlikely place to revive an age-old debate. The two cities have a longstanding beef about whose Cuban sandwiches are better.
CORNISH: Miami's version includes the following...
RICARDO MORALES: Cuban bread, ham, pork, Swiss cheese, a couple pickles, mustard and that's it.
SHAPIRO: That's Ricardo Morales of Old's Havana Cuban Bar and Cocina in Miami. Tampa's version has one more ingredient.
ANDREA GONZMART: Genoa salami that's got peppercorns in it.
CORNISH: Andrea Gonzmart owns the Columbia Restaurant in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa.
GONZMART: Tampa and Ybor City in particular has been making Cuban sandwiches long before Miami even existed.
SHAPIRO: Well, Cuban sandwiches became popular in Tampa in the mid-1800s after the tobacco industry moved there from Key West. The factory's immigrant workers demanded a quick, affordable lunch.
GONZMART: The ham represented the Spaniards. The pork represented the Cubans. The salami represented the Italians. Mustard and the pickles were representative of the Germans. So it's a representation of Ybor City.
CORNISH: History does not sway team Miami.
MORALES: It's not a traditional Cuban sandwich.
SHAPIRO: And Morales has a message for people like Gonzmart.
MORALES: You can come and try our sandwich. All the people come in and say that our sandwich is the best.
GONZMART: I would never in a million years buy a Cuban sandwich in Miami (laughter). I feel very strongly about this (laughter).
CORNISH: As for that crossword puzzle, the clue about Tampa was ironically a last-minute edition.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: The puzzle had already been edited, typeset, sent to the test solvers, and I found we had repeated a word in the grid. It had both tin and tin foils, which is a no-no. So we rejiggered the upper left corner of the grid and Tampa appeared.
SHAPIRO: That familiar voice, of course, is Will Shortz of The New York Times, also puzzle master for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.
SHORTZ: I'm staying neutral.
CORNISH: And city pride aside, the Cuban is, after all, just a sandwich.
GONZMART: I think it's mostly all in fun. At the end of the day, if you can't have a good laugh about it, then you don't have a personality (laughter).
Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved.