Elemental, unassailable, the one true foodstuff that can’t be beat. Our fave five meals between bread of the moment:
5. Cubano from World Cafe
When made with discipline, the Cubano is without doubt one of the world’s best sandwiches. The double pork parcel has been described by many as a “complete meal” and, according to lore, was served to Cuban cigar factory workers. That would stand to reason, as its heft suggests a lunch fit for physical labor. That said, it should also be neat and compact as a tightly rolled cigar, with astutely seasoned pulled pork, good melted Swiss, house-made pickles if possible, and bread that crunches noisily. That’s just how they do it at World Cafe.
105 Fifth St. S., Minneapolis
4. Fried Bologna with Cheese, Draft Horse
We've called theirs the most painstaking sandwiches in America. The people at Draft Horse don’t just do a sandwich with the precision of jewel setters; they begin with ingredients as precise as the jewels themselves. Bread, meat, and cheese all derive from the other vendors within the Food Building, where artisanal food makers begin with the best milk, grains, and animals that they can find and produce the best product you can fathom. All of this for your sandwich. How could you not get one? Start with the most wholesome fried bologna you’ll ever find, and work your way around the menu from there.
117 14th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
3. Jerk on CoCo Bread from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
You think of jerk as a spicy, steaming comfort food served over beans and rice. And it is. Until the guys at Pimento get ahold of it and swaddle it into coconut-scented bread and dress it up with cool slaw and caramelized plantains. It comes together like a BBQ sandwich with Island sass. Jerk, made portable.
1178 Burnsville Center, Burnsville
2524 Nicollet Ave S., Minneapolis
2. Tortas from El Burrito Mercado
Queue up at El Burrito Mercado’s “El Cafe Express” for some of the best things a cafeteria tray has ever ferried to a table. We recommend starting with a torta roll, and then filling it with your choice of “guisados,” meaty stews with braised meats. Then go at your creation Chipotle-style, piling it with guac, pico, onions, lettuce, and pickled jalapenos. Visit the salsa bar for final, sizzling touches. This, plus an abundant serving of beans and rice, is just $10.99, and is infinitely shareable.
175 Caesar Chavez St., St. Paul
1. Vietnamese Cold Cut Banh Mi from My Huong Kitchen
Hidden gem My Huong is not so known for its banh mi that the kitchen must make hundreds per day, and as such, each is made to order with the care it takes to do one thing at a time. To create this delectable sammy, My Huong uses the standard ingredients of shredded carrots and cilantro, but also pickled daikon, house mayo, jalapenos, lots of fresh Thai basil, and salt and pepper. Best of all, the French bread is truly fresh. Go now, while it's still a hidden gem.
2718 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis