As our youngest was preparing to head back to college, we asked if there was a particular place that she would like to eat. Her first thought was Papi’s Cuban & Caribbean Grill, on Ponce de Leon. I’ve said for years that the best Cuban sandwich in Atlanta was at the old Havana Sandwich Shop. Several years ago, the original Havana Sandwich Shop burned down, leaving a huge Cubano-shaped hole in my heart. Havana re-opened up Buford Highway (about a mile north of the original location) and the rejuvenated Havana has a great Cuban sandwich. We had been there last year. But she insisted that the Cubano at Papi’s was better. So we took her up on the challenge and discovered that it was a mighty fine sandwich. There is a Papi’s near our office (on Lawrenceville Highway) and we’ll head over there occasionally for lunch (when we need copious amounts of food).
For dinner this night, however, I chose the ropa vieja – shredded beef with yellow rice, black beans and plantains. It was excellent. Our youngest had the Cubano. And we started the meal with maduros – those lightly fried plantains that are like little slices of heaven. The maduros at Papi’s are my favorite in town. The Cuban sandwich is a close second – I still prefer Havana Sandwich Shop. But overall, it was a highly enjoyable Cuban feast, enriched by the company. A great combination.