Media Noche Sandwich – Ham, Slow Roasted Pork, Swiss Cheese, Mustard, Cilantro Aioli, Pickles, Sweet Roll
Guava Cheese Pastelito
Rum & Coke Cookies
Dulce de Leche Brownie
Tres Leches Cake
Tucked away on T Street but just steps from the trendy 14th Street Corridor it was after a fairly blasé breakfast that attention turned to Colada Shop, the small restaurant purporting the idea of “Come Curious, Leave Cuban” not particularly busy around 9:15am with three employees in the middle of cleaning and stocking shelves but nonetheless quite pleasant.
Originally opened in February and sporting a sister location in Sterling Virginia, the vibrant blue building with a bar looking outward over an open-air patio not only immediately noticeable but very inviting even at a distance, it is immediately upon entering doors marked “come curious” that guests are greeted by bilingual staff ready to discuss Food and make recommendations, several Baked Goods laid out on countertops with additional items chilled or kept warm as appropriate and Sandwiches made-to-order.
Keeping hours from 7am-9pm on Weekdays and shifting both back an hour on Weekends, the concise menu an all-day affair not dissimilar to what one might see in Miami’s Little Havana, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Colada Shop is best known for both its namesake Cocktail and the traditional Cuban Sandwich yet being far too early to start drinking the better part of valor seemed to be beginning with something sweet, a Pastelito filled with Guava and Cream Cheese smooth and warm inside the nicely laminated Pastry.
Waiting perhaps six or seven minutes as a Sandwich was constructed, a plastic snap-tight container filled with sopping wet Tres Leches Cake topped in toasted Meringue keeping diners perfectly happy during that time, it was just as soon as the Media Noche was handed over that bites were taken, nothing about the Cuban served on a Sweet Roll particularly photogenic but every bite delicious as the roasted Pork carried a bit of smoke to offset salty Ham and Swiss lightly brushed with Mustard.
Unable to resist a few more “nontraditional” bakery selections, the Cuba Libre Cookies unfortunately a bit disappointing as they were grainy and not all that different from a standard Sugar Cookie, it was thankfully in a Dulce de Leche Brownie that final bites were invested, the density more like Cake than fudge but the salty Caramel ribbons readily evident both in terms of taste and texture.