I love Carl. He’s hilarious on social media, and is always quick to point out phoniness in high-end restaurants. I agree with him that mustard on a Cubano is blasphemous and that its presence has only picked up in popularity over the years, as a sandwich for tourists.
There’s a great chowhound debate over ingredients and “authenticity” of Cubanos in the archives about that very subject between Jonathan Gold, Jim Leff, and others from 1997:
La Pola and many other spots in Union City are institutions for Cuban food. I don’t always agree on Carl’s “favorites” but I respect his palette, though he does tend to see some places with overly rose-tinted glasses.
La Pola makes a great Cubano. I, too, love Union City, but don’t think it’s what it once was as a food destination. Is the cuban sandwich here the best? It’s darn good, and far better than most restaurants in the country that serve it, I’m sure. Fresh bread is of course essential, as he also says.
Carl has eaten all over Hialeah and Miami much more than I have. But there’s plenty of Cuban bakeries selling hundreds to thousands of Cubanos a day throughout Florida, and that’s hard to argue with. Plus, I’m a medianoche guy anyway.
It’s pretty clear Carl’s statement was more of a jest and for controversy, even if he does really believe it. I doubt he thought it would’ve gotten the attention it did.