From the outside, Deli-Pan looks like just any ol' Mexican panaderia. But underneath that exterior lurks the heart of a Cuban cafe.
Deli-Pan Panaderia facade -
I stopped here in Morgan HIll for a driving break in March when traffic on 101 was a bear. None of the panes dulces in the case held much appeal, and tortas, tacos and burritos on the overhead menu didn't either. But then I spottted ropa vieja on the board, and asked the proprietor if he made Cuban sandwiches. He asked me what I wanted on it, which started to make me doubtful, but then he explained that many of his customers order a torta cubana and he was trying to be determine what would suit me. I rattled off, "Roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickle, and a tiny bit of mustard, and oh, you do butter and press it, don't you? And, what kind of bread do you use?" This put a wide grin on his face that grew even broader when I ordered a mamey milkshake. "You like the real Cuban flavors!", he exclaimed.
He pointed to a tray of rolls in the case, saying that he used those to make the sandwich. These are called bolillos, but are more cylindrical in shape rather than torpedo-like and have more moisture and a denser crumb. He also bakes a Mexican bolillo, but he apologized that he doesn't make a softer Cuban bread.
So how's the sandwich? Very good, I'd say. The thinly-shaved pork was on the dry side and not as garlicky as Gozo Gozo's. I liked that the cheese was softened but not completely melted. The yeasty bread and firm pressing more than makes up for the shortcomings of the meat.
Cuban sandwich -
I was the only customer at late afternoon and had a chance to talk with the owner a bit. He doesn't make a guava and cheese pastry. I asked him about cafe con leche. He told me that it's not on the menu, but he has a handful of customers that request it in the morning, so he has the special beans here for them. He said that he'd had a seafood place here before, but this Mexican bakery format did a better business. His daughter had moved to Miami recently and his grandson had finished high school here, so he would be retiring and moving to Florida himself after he builds up this business enough to sell it.
Enjoy this place while you can, Morgan Hill.
17865 Monterey St, Morgan Hill, CA 95037