The culinary squad at Cuban Breezes presents a menu that lists bountiful arrays of authentic Cuban cuisine. An appetizer of pan con queso acclimates taste buds to south-of-Florida flavor via grilled cheese and a garlic spread ($3.49), and empanadas pack seasoned beef or chicken into a flavor grenade ($1.69 each). Eight pressed sandwiches, such as The Big Havana, which melds together a half pound of ham, turkey, havana sauce, lettuce, tomato, and bacon with a cheese adhesive ($6.99), easily slide under closed doors. The pan con lechon, a slow-roasted, marinated pork masterpiece under an awning of onions ($5.59), is one of eight specialty sandwiches that come both grilled and fried. Hungry humans can obviate drastic cuisine-acquiring measures by selecting a signature platter, such as the lechon asado, a shredded, slow-roasted pork marinated in mojo ($8.99); or a veggie wrap, which binds bands of onions, peppers, cucumbers, cheese, pickles, lettuce, and tomato in a garlic-herb wrap ($5.29).
Penn Station's interior, rife with dark hardwood paneling, could have been carved from the trunk of an enormous redwood. Within that space and beneath the glow of old-fashioned street lamps, taste buds globetrot by way of American-style burgers, Italian shrimp scampi, and a full Cuban menu outlining such delights as seafood paella and lime-infused chicken. While two-handing a specialty sandwich named for North Carolina's regal mountains, guests can peruse Penn Station's many antique décor pieces such as a wall-mounted carriage wheel, ceramic boots, and the original wooden flippers from Columbus's voyage across the Atlantic.
Every day from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., the culinary artisans at Zapata's Café build sandwiches, fire flatbreads, and blend fresh smoothies using vibrant, fresh ingredients. The bright space comes alive at lunch time, when friends gather around rustic wooden tables before digging into berry-spinach salads or double-palming hearty pork burritos. To help diners wake up right each day, chefs also put together custom sandwiches and breakfast burritos stocked with veggies and eggs with inspirational messages written in salsa on the side.
The aroma of roasting pork and simmering mojo sauce wafts through La Teresita’s dining room, weaving past hanging tropical plants and a trellised ceiling. Back in the kitchen, chefs plate traditional Cuban dishes, ladling yellow rice and grilled onions onto succulent cuts of beef and layering pork or palomilla steak between slices of toasted bread. Dining companions can cap meals with classic Caribbean sweets such as flan, guava shells filled with cream cheese, or the edible chocolate cigars that Cuba is so famous for.
The Lucky Dill piles tables high and fills stomachs with mountainous signature sandwiches and an assortment of desserts prepared in its bakery. The menu proffers leaning towers of spiced and cured, hot, navel pastrami on a choice of bread including New York rye and sesame rolls ($9.29). The reuben stacks grilled rye bread with corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese ($9.99). Instead of a powdered wig and a dainty crown, the Queens burger sports a half-pound patty of freshly chopped sirloin topped with onion, mushrooms, and swiss cheese ($8.79). The on-site Brooklyn Bakery crafts an array of meal codas, including the big apple dumpling, which contains an entire apple baked within the loving embrace of pastry and topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream ($5.49).
Ramon Sr. and Sinarah Hernandez opened this colorful Cuban café more than 30 years ago after fleeing Cuba. Luckily, they didn’t have to leave everything behind. Their mouth-watering family recipes have garnered bouquets of praise from publications including Weekly Planet and Tampa Bay Magazine. Today, the shop continues to churn out favorites from the original 1979 menu including Pipo’s famous pork wrap piled high with roasted pork, Spanish rice, and fried plantains. Part of the secret to their sandwiches’ success lies in the breads that are baked fresh every day, and the cornucopia of vegetables that are plucked fresh from the farm or holodeck. Customers can order house specialties a la carte, or graze at a fully stocked buffet. Pipo’s doles out its heaping portions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and hosts lives entertainment on the weekends.