For a traditional appetizer, try the platanos fritos (twice-fried plantains $3.25). The starchy banana-like fruit is sliced and fried, then flattened and re-fried to a golden crispness, and served with garlicy mojo de ajo sauce. (Think fried potatoes, Cuban style.)
For lunch, a best bet is a Super Media Noche ($5.50). A pork-lover's delight, this traditional and addictive Cuban sandwich boasts a generous filling of ham and roast pork. The sandwich is assembled on a slightly sweet roll, and then pressed on a griddle, which burnishes the bread to a mahogany luster. Crisp on the outside, soft inside, with luscious meat and crisp tangy pickle, a media noche is my "middle of the night" dream.
To really gild the lily, try the Super Sandwich Cubano ($6.95), with Swiss cheese.
Main courses are served with a choice of moros y yuca or arroz y frijoles. Moros are black beans and white rice, cooked together, which results in a flavorful plate of dark rice grains and tender beans. Yuca is cassava, a starchy root, served with garlic sauce. If you like your rice separate from your beans, arroz y frijoles is the way to go.
Lechon Asado is a gorgeous plate of juicy, long-roasted pork, served in chunks. A little bit of the roast's crisp exterior, and lots of fork-tender meat make a delectable combination. Another great choice is the Ropa Vieja, shredded beef cooked in a slightly spicy and tangy tomato sauce. The meat just falls to ribbons, somehow appropriate, as "ropa vieja" means "old clothes."
Other beef choices include lengua (tongue) in tomato sauce and boliche ensalsa (sliced eye of round). A few chicken dishes and pork preparations round out the menu, and all meat dishes are priced at $11.95.
Seafood is a specialty, with an intriguing sounding Camarones Con Pollo (shrimp and chicken with walnuts or peanuts $15.75), or Enchilado de Langosta (lobster in spicy tomato sauce ? market price).
Choose your dining companions wisely. Make sure they share nicely, so that you can all enjoy the flavors from several dishes. Even with all the sharing, everyone seems to leave La Cubana with a take-out box in hand, a testament to the generous portions and tasty food.
WHAT: La Cubana
WHEN: Noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
WHERE: 720 E. Colorado St., Glendale
COST: $6.50 to $15.75
PHONE: (818) 243-4398