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THE FIVE

This Week: Best Pressed

February 14, 2008|Jessica Gelt

Coveting Cuban sandwiches is not exclusive to Miami. L.A. has its own class of pressed-sandwich-loving zealots. And trust us; they don't always go to Porto's or Versailles for their fix.

BARACOA CUBAN CAFE

For pork so fresh, shreddable and pleasantly fatted that it may have just wandered off the pig, head to this tiny island of affordability. For $5.95 you can gnaw on a huge media noche packed with the aforementioned dream meat as well as tangy pickles, mayo and mustard. 3175 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, (323) 665-9590

EL COCHINITO

This enchanting den of juicy deliciousness occupies an unremarkable space directly next door to Alegria. El Cochinito's Cuban sandwich -- piled high with thick slices of pink ham, pickles and mustard -- is pressed as tightly as Judge Judy's lips. 3508 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 668-0737

CUBA CENTRAL

Decorated with vintage Cuban travel agency signs, this Havana haven serves a decadent lechon asada sandwich that bursts with savory oven-roasted pork ringed with crispy veins of fat and smothered in grilled onions. 114 S. Central Ave., downtown L.A., (213) 687-3193

EL RINCON CRIOLLO

Those in the know order the roasted chicken sandwich. Folded in hot, sweet bread and laced with cheese, pickles and onions, it's both healthy and lethally good. 4361 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, (310) 397-9295

EL FLORIDITA

Before opening a Hollywood outpost, this Havana transplant counted itself among Hemmingway's Caribbean haunts. One can only imagine that had Papa visited today's L.A. incarnation, he would have indulged in the pan con bistec sandwich with its juicy layers of top sirloin steak, thick tomatoes, lettuce and sauteed onions. 1253 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 871-8612

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-- Jessica.Gelt@latimes.com

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