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San Francisco Bay Area Cuban

Torta Cubana at Contreras Supermercado--Livermore

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Torta Cubana at Contreras Supermercado--Livermore

Shep | Mar 8, 2005 07:05 PM

What I like about this place, the ceiling is low, so the aromas of all the great things being cooked and baked form a permanent--ambience. Today when I entered the market and walked down the end to the taqueria, they were baking different kinds of pan dulce, frying chicken, and stirring up a batch of chicharrones in a huge vat. Sweet and savory, all right.

My true story: I've never had a torta cubana, so wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a big roll straight off the cooling rack, swabbed with queso fresco and dropped on the grill; a chicken breast, coarsely chopped and dropped on the grill; a half inch of thin-sliced ham, dropped on the grill. The preceding, layered with shredded lettuce, tomato slices, that great relish of carrots, jalapenos, and onions, and topped with avocado. How big was it? It was HUGE!. Tasty, too. How could it not be? Hours later, my hands still carry the redolence of vinegar and peppers and ham..well, you get the picture. Five bucks, I'm good.

They do a lot of other stuff, the usual you'd expect, all to order before your eyes. Mostly I've had tacos, not superb, but all good, the lengua and al pastor probably the best, nice salsa on top. The chile rellenos are very popular, haven't tried them yet.

The mercado is full of lots of good stuff. There are big bins of cooked shrimp in the shell, and fresh fried chicken, and nuts, and those chicharrones.

Contreras Supermercado is in the little strip mall at Rincon and Pine, about five blocks south of Portola Ave in Livermore. If your cravings are more gringo, there's a fairly decent burger stand there too, with some wild combos of meats and cheeses and toppings.

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