This might sound funny, but I am happy that I do not keep Kosher. I love pork. The smell of bacon in the morning could serve as the best alarm or motivation to get out of the bed. One of the most memorable and delicious pork bites I had a pleasure of experiencing was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. My friend Priscilla and I were visiting her parents and were treated to a whole underground roasted pig. Succulent, juicy and oh so tender. I can still taste it years later!
Since then, I’ve had my share of good and bad pork. When I heard that Paseo Caribbean Restaurant in Seattle (with two locations, one in Ballard and one in Freemont) had the best pork sandwiches, I had to try them out. Set to meet with a few friends at the Ballard location, the pork sandwich goodness couldn’t come quickly enough.
The brightly painted pink building cheerfully greeted its patron on the rainy Seattle afternoon. It’s a good thing that the restaurant had some covered sitting area at the counter along with communal tables and benches on the side.
Hungry yet? First, you navigate the menu board. I hope you brought cash – no credit cards or checks accepted here. I immediately was drawn to the Cuban Roast Sandwich, THE most popular sandwich according to Paseo. For $7.50, you get a toasted baguette, generously slathered with aioli and filled with tender, pulled pork coated in the special Paseo sauce. Topped with thick slices of sweet, caramelized onions, rings of pickled jalapenos, chopped cilantro and crunchy Romaine, the sandwich was calling out my name…loudly.
I placed my order and waited, and waited – the place was busy! Everything was cooked to order, no microwave here. When I got my sandwich I was faced with a dilemma. How do I eat this?
The sandwich, wrapped in parchment paper, presented quite a challenge. Dripping with pork juice, mixed with aioli, I couldn’t quite get a handle on it. I asked for a fork and knife.
I have to say, this was one delicious sandwich! Lovely flavors of sweet onions and spicy, pickled jalapeno were a perfect compliment to the pork. The bread, partially soaked with the garlic aioli and Paseo sauce still remained its crusty outside and chewy interior. I couldn’t finish the sandwich in one setting, but had no problem enjoying leftovers once I got home.
Melissa also went for a sandwich, choosing the original and legendary Grilled Pork sandwich. Dana went for the goods – fish, salad, grilled caramelized onions, beans and corn. We left happy and full. With plenty of items left on the menu board, I am sure we will be back. I’m already thinking of a sunny afternoon and a walk along Ballard waterfront.
One “but.” Dear Paseo people, if you are listening, please add friend plantains to your menu! Thank you.