A few years back, Bodega on Central (
1120 Central Ave 1180 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, Florida) had just closed its doors for the day as my wife Marcela and I had arrived. We were down the street at an antique shop that suggested we check out their Frita Cubana.
Since then, it has stuck in my mind.
I should preface this Medianoche and Cuban Sandwich discussion with a disclaimer. I’m not interested in arguing over who created or makes the best Cuban Sandwich. Yes, I’m from Miami and in the Tampa Bay area, but I’m about the food, not the drama.
So yeah, let’s start with the Medianoche.
We requested mustard instead of their standard mayo but other than that; this was a right-on and very very good (as Chunktronics would say) version of the midnight sandwich. If you’re unfamiliar with this beauty, it has the same ingredients as a pressed Cuban Sandwich (roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles).
The Medianoche comes on a sweet roll; think something like those addictive Hawaiian rolls (alright, maybe not as sweet). So again, we request the mayo for mustard switch on the Cuban Sandwich.
I’m usually a Medianoche kinda guy, but in this case, the Cuban Sandwich stole my heart, and it has everything to do with the bread, crusty perfectness.
The pork was the standout protein in the previous two sandwiches, so it’s no surprise this Pan con Lechon (pork, grilled onions, mojo marinade) is also a mind blower. We had a stalemate trying to figure out who would have the last few bites of this one, or at least I remember it that way.
Always bet on Beast.
A Frita Cubana from Bodega on Central
We order their Frita and what’s interesting is that it’s not a traditional style sandwich like the previous three. Even stranger was the special they had; it was for a chicken frita which was by all accounts a fried chicken sandwich with house slaw and a perfect one. John went all out on that one.
The Frita at Bodega on Central is a beef & pork patty topped with spicy mayo, tomato, avocado, and potato sticks. So is it good? Well, yes and no.
If I had ordered a Frita Cubana in Miami and received this sandwich, there may have been a full-on riot. However, we were on vacation and relaxed, so there was no need to break out the blood pressure medication.
I’m also not a big avocado fan, so there’s that. However, Chunktronics had no problem making it look like we were served an empty platter.
It had been a few days since I had my Cuban coffee fix, so I was excited to see it on the menu. Of course, I wasn’t as excited to see it was three times what I would pay for one in Miami, but hey, that’s life.
The jet fuel was great, and I didn’t share, but could you blame me?