Food that sticks to your ribs and clothes 

In William Least Heat-Moon's travel journal, "Blue Highways," he says the best indicator of good diner food is how many calendars there are on the walls. I stipulate that the indicator of a worthwhile Cuban cafe is how long the smell stays on your clothes. And after a visit to Cindy's Tropical Cafe, the aroma of pressed Cuban sandwiches and fried plantains hung on my shirt for a solid 10 hours. Anything longer than six hours deserves a hats-off in my book.

You may remember the place that used to occupy Cindy's -- Henry's Deli -- which served the requisite Cuban fare, but also had a quart of Valvoline and an eight-pack of toilet tissue on sale behind the register. Well, Cindy bought out Henry and did some remodeling and menu tinkering.

Cindy's "Daily Good Deals" are a welcome rendition of the home-cooked comfort food that Henry's used to offer on Fridays. She offers a choice of thinly sliced pork, steak or chicken, white rice and black or pinto beans, fried sweet or green plantains, and a salad for a measly $5.99 -- and that's the high end of the menu.

There's a wide array of small and large subs (meatball, "Midnight," Cuban and vegetarian), that cost from $2.99 to $6.59, all of which can be pressed. And Cindy's is open for breakfast, too. The only thing missing is picadillo, but there is a great "relleno de papa" ($1.25) that satisfies the spiced-ground-beef craving.

Overall, Cindy's serves excellent no-frills food that's extremely light on the wallet. Stop in for deliciously aromatic Cuban dishes, and look elsewhere for your motor oil and TP.

Speaking of On The Side

More by Micky Michalec


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