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Any Which Way You Slice It: Introducing the Gyro and Cuban Sandwich

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Two new sandwiches. Two completely diverse styles and backgrounds. The Buck Stops Here is pleased to announce that we are adding a gyro and cuban sandwich to our menu! Both are made with in-house ingredients, but that is where the similarities between the two sandwiches come to a halt. Each sandwich has a unique history that is as rich as the flavors they both possess. In order to better appreciate such delectable marvels, let’s take a look at how these two sandwiches evolved into the favorite lunch items we know today.


Gyro

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Gyros are believed to have originated from Greece, with potential influence from the Turkish döner kebab and the Middle Eastern shawarma. The only difference is that the kebab and shawarma use slice meat, whereas the gyro uses meat from a minced loaf. This gyro, however, was never mass-produced in Europe. The sandwich we know today as the gyro is somewhat of a recent invention, with origins dating back to the 1970’s in New York; therefore, the gyro is considered an American-Greek item.

Up until the early 1970’s, gyro cones were made one at a time in restaurant kitchens. Then came the gyro cone manufacturing plants, which were able to mass produce and transport the meat across the country. Today, gyros are enjoyed across the country as well as all over the world.

Gyro meat typically consists of beef and lamb that is stacked or ground together and formed into a cone shape using hydraulic pressure. The cones are placed on a rotisserie, which is where the gyro gets its name—pronounced “YEE-roh,” the word is Greek for “spin.” The meat is then sliced off the cones and folded on a warm pita with a dollop of tzatziki, lettuce, and tomato. At The Buck Stops Here, the only difference between these gyros and ours is that we don’t use processed meat, but rather meat that is thinly sliced off a roast leg of lamb. You’ll be able to taste the quality and freshness in the first bite!

 

Cuban

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The cuban sandwich has a long history with influences from both cultural and historical events. Before the sandwich was labeled a “cuban,” the people of Cuba had just known it as un sandwich (a sandwich) or un mixto (mix of meats). The sandwich itself has been a Cuban tradition since the early 1500’s. The Spaniards brought Ham and cheese to Cuba, with cheese also being made by Cuba’s native inhabitants, the Taino and Arakakas. The Cubans also made a special kind of bread that was crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and had a bloom in the center of a long loaf.

The sandwich made its way to the United States in the 1870’s, when Cubans migrated to Key West, Florida to avoid Spanish rule. With them came Cuban cigar manufacturers that wanted a safer place to produce their cigars. During this time, the sandwich had become the main food staple for Cuban workers living in the Florida area. This period marks the beginning of Cuban influence in Florida.

In 1886, El Principe de Gales, a large cigar factory owned by Vincente Martinez Ybor, was destroyed in a fire. A committee in Tampa encourages Ybor to move his factory to the city. This event marks the end of the cigar industry in Key West, but the beginning of Tampa’s title as a dominant cigar manufacturing center as well as the rise of Ybor City.

In 1896, La Joven Francesca Bakery opens in Ybor City, and becomes the first bakery to bake Cuban bread. In 1915, La Segunda opens and becomes the powerhouse of baking Cuban bread. As of today, La Segunda remains a third-generation, family-owned bakery that produces most of Tampa’s Cuban bread. The bread is one of the most important parts of the cuban sandwich, for the bread must maintain a soft, chewy texture while being cooked and pressed. The way the sandwich is pressed is also important. The steady application of heat causes the flavors of the ingredients to blend together into a sandwich that is full of flavor, all while maintaining a crunch in the crust of the bread.

Over the years, a rivalry developed between Miami and Tampa as to which city was the true origin of the cuban sandwich. Miami argued that they were the Cuban capitol of the U.S., and that the cuban sandwich need only to be made with the original ingredients—roast pork, ham, pickles, swiss cheese, mustard, and Cuban bread. Tampa, however, has the history of the cigar workers on their side, and adds another element to their sandwich that incorporates another cultural group. The large Italian community in Ybor City began to blend with the Cuban culture; thus, genoa salami was added to the cuban sandwich.

In 2012, more than 7,200 people voted on whether the true home of the cuban sandwich was Miami or Tampa. The results were: 57% Tampa, 43% Miami. The Tampa City Council established the “Historic Cuban Sandwich” as the town’s signature sandwich, declaring an official list of ingredients and the process of making the sandwich. They even have a Cuban Sandwich Festival.

Our new cuban sandwich remains true to the traditional version that the Miami citizens believe to be the true cuban sandwich. We layer pulled pork, sliced ham, swiss cheese, and our special mustard-based sauce on a hoagie roll. The sandwich is then grilled on a panini press to ensure an authentic sandwich experience.


The more you know about the foods you choose to eat, the better your experience is. To understand the background of the gyro and cuban sandwich is to better understand the way classic food items have been shaped in our diverse, American culture. We are delighted to have the opportunity to offer our customers these new options. Stop into The Buck Stops Here today and give one of our new sandwiches a try!

Sources

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/15gyro.html

https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Sandwiches/GyroSandwich.htm

https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Sandwiches/CubanSandwich.htm

http://www.today.com/food/great-cuban-sandwich-debate-795610

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/04/25/151357876/the-cuban-sandwich-crisis-has-a-winner-tampa

http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/cuban-sandwich-crisis-case-tampa#stream/0

 

 

 

The Colorado Whiskey Flight

 

10th Mountain Bourbon-Vail

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Photo Credit: 10th Mountain Whiskey

This whiskey hails from the town of Vail, Colorado and honors years of tradition and diversity in the Rocky Mountains. It is named after the 10th Mountain Division light infantry, a group of men who during World War II arrived in Vail to train with a mentality of strength and humility. Their minds were shaped by the rigors of warfare and the strain of the high elevation. It was a brave group of soldiers, so brave, in fact, that a modern day distillery has taken on their name. Their bourbon has made it into the highly esteemed Whiskey Flight found at The Buck Stops Here in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, which aims to exalt local Colorado whiskeys like the 10th Mountain Bourbon. The mash is composed of 75% corn and the rest a mix of rye and barley resulting in a warm amber color for the final product. To the olfactory sense, a medium sweetness with hints of vanilla, oak and honey. To start on the tongue, there is a nutty essence about the medium-bodied flavor, and the experience ends on notes of long, sweet vanilla. The whiskey itself is aged in charred oaken barrels to assist in the final flavor profiles it is to pick up on its journey from the fields to the bottle.

 

Woody Creek Rye-Basalt

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Photo Credit: Woody Creek Distillers

This local Colorado whiskey hails from Basalt. The Woody Creek distillery takes quality control very seriously. Between having their own farms and designing their own stills, you can trust you are getting the absolute top-notch whiskey in the land. All of the potatoes are harvested on site for the vodka and the rye is sourced from trusted Colorado farms. The spirits that leave the Woody Creek distillery are never diluted with neutral grain spirits from other distillers, so you can rest assured that the entirety of the bottle is up to the highest standards. The Colorado Rye is prepared with a 100% rye mash. The Colorado Rye from Woody Creek has been chosen to take part in the whiskey flight because it embodies exactly what a Colorado whiskey should be: local, bold, and high-quality. The Colorado rye boasts a complex and smooth flavor profile with pronounced white pepper on the palate. To the olfactory sense, a hint of citrus peel may linger momentarily, and the flavor on the palate will end on an oaky, vanilla flavor.

 

Leopold Bros. American Small Batch Whiskey-Denver

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Photo Credit: Leopold Bros Distillers

The Leopold Brothers are Colorado natives, but their spirits were initially produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Production moved back to the brothers’ home state in 2008 for a more permanent home, seven years after the first spirits were rolled out. The Leopold Brothers, Scott and Todd, are a magical combination of experience for the distillery. Scott’s background is in sustainable manufacturing and water treatment systems; all of this shines through in the distilleries ecologically sound brewing systems. Todd’s background is purely alcohol production related. He studied malting and brewing at the Siebel Institute, then after graduation made his way to Europe to specialize in the production of lagers. During his time in Europe, he acted as an apprentice at several different breweries and distilleries. The American Small Batch Whiskey that the brothers produce is created using processes that are sure to enhance the flavors of the final product. The fermentation of their traditional sour mash (corn and rye) is kept at much lower temperatures, but not under refrigeration. The colder fermentation gives the final product a softer feel and a more subtle flavor overall. The distillate that comes from every distillation is barreled to enhance the flavor during the aging process only slightly; the final American Small Batch Whiskey is a 98 proof delight.

 

The Whiskey Flight

At The Buck Stops Here in Pagosa Springs, we value our local Colorado whiskeys and what they mean to our people and our economy. We respect the hard work that goes into ensuring the highest of standards in our local whiskey. To celebrate this, we have compiled our whiskey flight with the above alcohols. For $15, our patrons and visitors can come in and sample a 1-ounce taster of each. For an additional $5, a taster of Jameson can be thrown into the mix. The stories of how each distillery came to be shines through in the corresponding beverage. The passions and hard work are inevitably brought to light with the subtle quality of each of these fine local whiskeys. Come on by and have a taste.

 

Sources:

http://www.leopoldbros.com/#!home/c10rj

http://10thwhiskey.com/

http://www.woodycreekdistillers.com/