Saturday, November 6th, 2010
With all the buzz surrounding Hector Santiago’s sandwich shop below Pura Vida, I finally got there for lunch on Friday to see what all the fuss was about.
Rumor has it that Hector himself is making the sandwiches at Super Pan Latino. When I arrived he was indeed there, just not behind the counter. The staff was super friendly as I made a couple of inquiries about the selections.
Having studied the menu and read the reviews, I already knew I would order either the serrano ham and manchego or the pork belly. It was a chilly day so the latter won out because it was hot sandwich.
I knew what I was getting into even without the reviews proclaiming this particular sandwich’s greasiness. It’s pork belly for God’s sake!
For the uninituated, pork belly is bacon before it is sliced, layers of fat alternating with layers of porky goodness. Hector smokes the meat which is tucked inside two little steamed coconut buns drizzled with tamarind sauce, aji coban sambal and topped with shaved cabbage and cilantro.
My first bite of the crispy end yielded both meat and fat with half of the cabbage and cilantro. I didn’t get any of the fiery sauce until I was almost finished with the half since it was at the bottom of the bun. I would have liked a copious amount of the crunchy cabbage and there can never be enough cilantro. It came off a little plain due to the minimal amount of sauces and toppings.
I continued working on my sandwich, pulling the tender strings of pork away from the fat with my greasy little fingers. It was a messy but delicious task.
The quirky space is only open Tuesday through Friday 11:30-2:30. Diners place their orders up the stairs to the left, and can find a table in the dining area downstairs. Super Pan is clearly a labor of love for Hector.
I cringe to even say this, but just in case you’ve been living in a cave in Guatamala for the last two years, Hector Santiago was a contestant on Top Chef a couple of seasons back….the same year Woodfire’s Kevin Gillespie almost won it.
Hector stopped by to say hello and sent a cupcake to my table. Nice. I will surely return to sample more of the menu!
1057 Blue Ridge Avenue 404-477-0379