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The Coast News

Get the Best Cuban Sandwich in Town at The Leucadia Farmers Market

David Boylan

Annel and Drew's Kitchen at the Encinitas Farmers Market
Annel and Drew's Kitchen at the Encinitas Farmers Market

A stroll through the Leucadia farmers market on a Sunday morning has become a tradition in my house. It started as a leisurely outing to pick up some random fruits and vegetables and support local growers, but with the proliferation of vendors selling meals, it’s become our Sunday brunch destination of choice. Add to that live music, clothing vendors, and a great location at Paul Ecke School, and it’s become the Sunday morning hotspot in Leucadia.

Though all the vendors are worth trying, one stood out immediately by offering some really amazing, fresh, locally sourced dishes that went perfectly with our Sunday New York Times. Originally called San Diego Spiedies, they recently changed their name to Annel & Drew’s Kitchen as to not pigeon hole themselves into just a provider of spiedies, as delicious as they are. For those of you unfamiliar, the spiedie is a dish local to Binghamton, New York. A spiedie consists of cubes of chicken or pork, but it may also be made from lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer in a special spiedie marinade, and then grilled carefully on spits over a charcoal pit. The freshly prepared cubes are served on soft Italian bread or a submarine roll, skewer and all, and sometimes drizzled with fresh marinade. It all works oh so well.

That said, it was Annel & Drew’s Cuban sandwich that hooked me and has me going back weekly. I’m a Cuban sandwich junkie and their combination of Pork shoulder roasted with garlic, citrus & herbs, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and lime aioli melted on fresh baked semolina bread is as good as I’ve had anywhere. It was originally created by Cuban workers in the late 1800’s. Later on, Cuban immigrants and expatriates brought it to Miami where it is also still very popular. They are usually pressed on a Panini press or similar device which melts all the ingredients together wonderfully. Take my word for it, if you are a sandwich fan, this is as good as it gets.

Now on to the rest of Annel and Drew’s fabulous menu, and remember, everything on this menu is sourced locally when possible, many times directly from other farmer’s market vendors. They have an amazing veggie salad of chopped romaine and organic baby greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, watermelon radishes, seasonal veggies (ours had grilled corn), feta cheese, Calamata olives then dressed with aged sherry vinaigrette. We also tried the Energetico which includes a selection of seasonal, locally grown fruit and berries topped with organic pumpkin granola and yogurt. The salads are all under $7.

The must have known I lived in the neighborhood with their inclusion of a grilled balsamic artichoke that is grilled to perfection and served with lime or chili aioli dipping sauces. It’s really good. After the Cuban and the spiedie, my favorite is the lamb slider which is a hormone free, vegetarian fed ground lamb mini-burger served with homemade cucumber dill yogurt sauce on fresh baked rolls with arugula, tomato, and red onion and a healthy portion of gourmet side salad. At first I balked at the $6 per slider price but after tasting it, learning of the high quality ingredients and the nice side salad, that price is certainly justified. You can also order 2 or 3 sliders for either $9 or $12. I think two would be the perfect size portion.

If all this is sounding like the creation of a chef who knows their stuff, it is. Drew is CIA trained chef and Annel comes from a family of great cooks and the combination is working perfectly. Besides the Leucadia market, they are also at the Ocean Beach market on Wednesdays and Oceanside on Thursday and offer catering for private events. Contact them at 858.246.6962 or at The Leucadia Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at Paul Ecke School on Vulcan in Leucadia.

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