Eating a Cuban Roast at Paseo

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Lately I have no urge to cook.

Not a drippety drop of ambition to do much of anything creative in the kitchen.

Makes excellent fodder for a food blog, I assure you.

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In truth, I’ve just felt so happy buzzing about town, going here and there, meeting and moving, that meal time feels like it’s hassling me.

It started when Daniel’s sister Rachel came to visit three weeks ago. We went out to eat nearly every night. It was all the validation I needed to sup at at all the oldies but goodies and a whole slew of new spots. Seattle is just delicious.

And I remembered again, why I love, love, love eating out.

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Something about trying the best a chef has to offer.

Something about exploring new flavors and doing the kinds of eating I have on my life’s to do list.

Something about describing a dish- texture, smell, taste- to Daniel, my favorite dining partner, just makes my insides tingle. Even if he’s supping the same.

Something about being in a certain place, at a certain time, on a certain date, with a certain someone, with that certain song humming in the back corners of my ears, makes eating out at a restaurant special. More memorable, maybe.

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And it’s not all the time I feel so in love with restaurant hopping. In fact, for many years after I lost 135lbs, I felt nervous to dine out. I said to myself, oh but Chili’s, why do you insist on buttering every last bite down to the [damn] bun?


Why can’t vegetables ever truly just be steamed?

…and and…

Can someone please just give me a full meal that’s five hundred [filling] calories? Is that so much to ask?

..and and and…

Can someone make sure a salad (salad for cryin’ out loud!) is never (ever) within caloric proximity of a Whopper? Because, if I’m being frank with myself, I’d just plain prefer the Whopper.

But, over time, those frustrations settled down, I learned to embrace the fact that restaurant meals are, eloquently enough- freaking delicious, and I tucked all my food fears neatly on my favorite shelf: Ignorance is bliss.

Bliss, I tell you.

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This sandwich, the Cuban Roast, is from Seattle’s famous Paseo. Since moving here last year, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. I’ve even gone to their Fremont location on two separate nights to try that beloved pork sandwich, and both times, I’ve left because that line I waited in for half an hour? The one that wrapped around the block? Well it plumb drained the Cuban pork supply. I went home [quite begrudgingly] empty bellied.

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Today I got to try that sandwich with two of my dearest friends. We drove to Ballard on our lunch break, picked up three greasy grinders and headed straight for the beach. Picnics are the only way to eat them, I hear.

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It was. It is. The best sandwich I’ve eaten in all of the days of my life.

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Slow roasted pork, garlic aioli, cilantro, jalapeños, thick caramelized onions, tucked inside a chewy French bread roll.

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The combination of flavors is brilliant. It’s the creaminess of the aioli and the spice of the jalapenos with the rich sweetness of fat slices of caramelized onions and tangy strands of slow simmered pork. The cilantro brings bright freshness. The romaine adds crunch. The bread sops up a near puddle of sauce. TLC named the Cuban Roast the second best sandwich in America on the premiere episode of Best Food Ever.

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So, until I’m into cooking again…oh…in, say, fifteen hours…Paseo is where I’m at.



36 thoughts on “Eating a Cuban Roast at Paseo

  1. Johnny

    Lovely, simply Lovely! Food and Fun is a great combo. It’s just as much the company as the food! Great Post! :)

  2. Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    That sandwich sounds amazing! Lately I’ve been less inclined to be in the kitchen… and I feel like as summer goes on that will be even more the case! Eating through a city is the best way to appreciate it, though:-)

  3. Sarah@The Flying ONION

    I love eating out for all the same reasons that you do. It’s such a fabulous treat and I love eating the best of the best of what a chef has to offer. So fun!

    And the pictures of you gals = happiness. :D

  4. Melissa

    Now I wish I had known about this when I was in Seattle! Ballard is such a cute area–I really loved the Farmer’s Market there. We had crepes from one of the vendors with spinach, egg, and feta while sitting in the sunshine on a curb. The best way to dine!

  5. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

    Hehe you look like you’re having quite the moment with that sandwich!! (And for the record, I will never understand why vegetables at restaurants that you ask to have ‘steamed only’ come with butter. At what point in the steaming process does the butter magically appear in the pot? Liars, all of them!!) ;)

  6. Alex

    yum! one of my favorite spots. I love the chicken sandwich and my husband gets the Cuban roast platter. I love the onions and how absolutely messy the sandwich is!

  7. Sophiegoose

    I love eating out too, and always try to order something I can’t make at home or something I don’t normally eat. To me, restaurants are a time to explore, not eat steamed veggies and chicken!

  8. Sam

    That sandwich looks fantastic! Your photography always makes me want to eat the food right off the page. I’m jealous of your skills.

    I hate to say that I am still at the stage of fearing restaurants. I know one day (hopefully soon) I will be able to indulge without guilt, but I haven’t quite made it to that step in my progress to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

  9. thirteen25

    i have every intention of visiting seattle urged by your reviews alone. it seems like a wonderful place to eat, shop, and relax. i was under the impression that it rained everyday all day. i really hope i can get up there sometime in the future, the food sounds heavenly!

  10. LizAshlee

    Slightly odd reader request. May I be your friend so we can go to the beach during lunch?! You girls look like you had SO much fun..and the beach..I imagine myself living near the water one day!

    Have a wonderful Wednesday w/ or w/o cooking! :)


  11. Leah @ Why Deprive?

    Gah! I just left a comment and it didnt work, so if you wind up getting two, it wasnt on purpose. :)

    I’ve totally heard about these sandwiches before. I cant remember where, but they sound so good even I want one. Me – the girl who hates meat. I want one really badly.

  12. Riss

    I could quite honestly eat a sandwich just about every day of my life and be perfectly happy (and I’m not talking stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth Wonderbread). And that sammy looks like it could find a permanent spot on my weekly menu…

    And I completely understand your inner conflict and angst when ordering out… It IS stressful! And can ruin your whole evening if you let it!

  13. Leanne (Bride to Mrs.)

    I just caught up on your last three posts and I seriously cannot wait to make those meatballs!

    Ordering out is stressful… it always frustrates me that the salads aren’t healthier at restaurants!

  14. Kara

    After losing over 50 pounds, I still struggle with letting go of control when going out to eat. I appreciate the honesty in all of your posts, and hope that they can help me relinquish some of my control in such situations. :)

  15. Gina

    Yet another place I’ve added to my very long “must-eat” list in Seattle! I love that you are double-fisting the sandwich, ha!

  16. Kate A

    How do you eat those foods without gaining the weight back? Meatballs, cuban sammies, hommade fries….

    I wish I could do that!

  17. Erika

    I just found your blog yesterday, and have been reading it bit by bit, and I love it! I love reading about a person who went through weight loss and can still enjoy food to the extent that I do.

    Because I’m telling you lady, that sandwich is as good as or way better than most things on the planet.

  18. Meg H

    *Sigh*, Paseo is definitely one of my top 5 food experiences that I miss since moving away from Seattle. Standing in the queue outside a tin shack for the most delicious sandwich you’ve ever eaten followed by a walk around Green Lake,… sounds like summer perfection!

  19. Leah M

    I just discovered your blog today and I am obsessed! My gosh I have so much to read now. I started reading from the most recent post and working my way backwards until I got to this one… and the pictures of you at the beach are right across the street from my house! Where I am sitting right now! Small world. Thank you so much for all of your writing. I am inspired to try to cook more for myself.


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