Bienvenidos a Cuba y Miami! Helmed by brothers Danny and Albert Teran, the “Miami Food Machine” truck is dishing out Cuban delicacies in “The Big Apple”, but savvy foodies will have a sense of deja vu when they stop by.
Originally known as “Bongo Bros.”, whose logo you will still see on some of the older employee’s shirts, the truck was closed and forced to rename due to a lawsuit over its moniker, courtesy of Gloria Estefan, who owns a chain of restaurants that used a similar name. Re-opening late last year, the current title harkens back to an earlier time for Gloria, and has a great neon 80’s vibe to add to the fun of it. I had been to “Bongo Bros.” previously twice, and was unimpressed, enough that I never went back to them. However, with this new name also comes a new menu (at least partly new), so it was time to give the truck a second chance… or first try, depending on your perspective.
The menu offers their food in two ways, as pressed sandwiches or as rice bowls, which include beans plantains, and a small salad. I wanted to get the most out of this first visit, and the pair of sliders caught my eye.
The Cubano sliders (two for $7) feature slow-roasted pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, French’s Yellow mustard, and dill pickle chips. The saltiness of the warm ham, tangy mustard, and the briny pickle make for one unique mouth experience, but the star of the show is that shredded pork that melts on your tongue as your into the mini-burger.
I also love the texture of the pressed buns (childish snicker), adding a nice crunch to the sandwich. There is definitely a lot happening at once with this sandwich, but it is all melded together perfectly, and no flavor is lost when it comes squeezing it down into a slider-sized format.
Also miniaturized in slider form is the Frita slider (two for $6), another one of a kind burger whose name originates from how it is cooked in Cuba. Instead of being grilled, the meat patty is fried, and then covered in fried potato sticks. This slider is no different when it comes to ingredients, made with a combination of ground-top sirloin beef and slightly spicy chorizo, topped with a slightly caramelized onion ring (just enough to get it soft), potato sticks, and doused with ketchup and their signature “sunset sauce”. That sauce has just the right amount of heat to it, which is made with mayonnaise, siracha, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and orange and other citrus juices (according to New York Street Food).
I was very happy with my first visit to “Miami Food Machine”, and was pleased that the new menu was as good as it was. Good quality ingredients with big flavors, I look forward to checking out the rest of the menu, as well as returning for more of these sliders.