Food podcast: Cuban sandwich expert discusses its hotly debated origins

·1 min read

We can’t get enough of the sandwich that has its own Wikipedia entry.

Yes, I’m talking about the Cuban sandwich, whose origins are hotly debated, particularly between Tampa and Miami. So for the Aug. 18 episode of La Ventanita, the weekly Miami Herald food podcast, co-host Amy Reyes and I are talking to Jeff Houck, co-author of a new book that aims to shed light on the sandwich’s origin story.

More than a year ago, Jeff told us this book — “The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers” — was in the works and that two cities rarely discussed now play into the sandwich’s history: Havana and New York.

Jeff’s origin story is just as interesting, though. He’s a former food writer, editor and restaurant reviewer for the late Tampa Tribune who started his journalism career in Alaska. He now tells the food stories of the oldest restaurant in Florida, the Spanish-Cuban Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, where their salami-inflected Cuban sandwich has been a staple for more than 100 years.

Tune in Thursdays at 11 a.m. to watch La Ventanita live on YouTube and the Miami Herald website. Find every episode of La Ventanita podcast at the show page and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Megaphone, Stitcher and MiamiHerald.com.