I’ve been meaning to visit Caliente. It’s in my neighborhood after all, but somehow I haven’t had the chance until a fluke lunch with friends on Friday. Thank you Mike, Wendy, Lettie, Heather, Heather, and Paul for allowing me to tag along.
What a treat to share food with friends. The seven of us ordered a bunch of sandwiches and sides and shared them all, passing trays and bowls and plates around the table. I admit, I wasn’t prepared to be as impressed with the food as I was. Sure, people have been raving about it, but truth be told, I am not particularly fond of sandwiches. But these, just wow. I especially enjoyed the bread- toasted just right; the perfect combination of crunchy and soft. The salty plantains were exceptional and the tamales rank right up there, as well. The service was impressive too. We were a large group, and it’s a small place, but they moved tables and chairs around in order to accommodate us.
I liked all three sandwiches I tried: the Cuban, Wey, and Ropa Vieja. All were packed with interesting flavor combinations and are available in whole or half orders. We ordered halves and they were huge, making prices more than fair- an entire meal costs between $7 and 8. The Cuban is made with pork, pickle, onion, mustard, provolone cheese, and jalapeños; a satisfying combination of savory, salty, spicy, and tangy. The Wey is extremely unique, made with roasted pork, ham, and cheese, with your choice of jalapenos, pickles, mustard, mayo, onions, chipotle salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and refried beans. Though it’s a tad messy to eat, I loved the complex texture combinations: tender pork and ham, and creamy guacamole, sour cream, and beans. My favorite is the Ropa Viejo, a beef sandwich with pickle, onion, mustard, provolone cheese, lettuce and jalapeños. The meat was extremely tender and flavorful.
I highly recommend stopping in to try Caliente. It’s a culinary gem tucked in the heart of the ’05 neighborhood.