August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
Open Weekdays 11:30am-2:30pm
Hector Santiago’s lunch counterpart to Pura Vida offers a small but worthy sample of some excellent and inspired lunch options during the weekday for a fairly reasonable price. A well-crafted sandwich is indeed an artform in and of itself, and always on the quest to find balance between the bread, I happily checked out Super Pan’s offerings.
Clockwise from top left:
torta de pollo, orange flan, medio dia
crispy skin adobo roasted berkshire pork, niman ranch ham, chayote pickles, swiss, habanero, mustard and clove salt on a pineapple “submarino” roll
What really sells this sandwich are the mixed pig pieces that create a textural layering of the best components of the pig in a porky celebration. A salty ham layer enhances a thicker roasted blanket of pork that melts right into what might have been a hallucinated brilliant bite of pork belly and unmistakably crisped pork skin. Half the fun was the varying combination of these components that shined through in each bite. The cheese melts into the rendered fat of the pork, and the spicy pickled chayote and warming clove note rounded out the flavor profile I’m also a sucker for a dusting of cornmeal on the bottom of a crust of bread, so that was a nice touch. It adds a nice soft yet gritty textural layer that embeds itself into the crust and finishes off an incredibly-crafted sandwich. This one is a must try at this location and I suspect is one of their most popular for good reason.
Torta de pollo
three chile chicken barbacoa topped with fresh vegetable slaw, crema, tomatillo and aji cobanero “sambal” on corn maza telera bread with avocado “butter”
This was a softer side of sandwich compared to medio dia. There was a tingling smoked lingering heat that was the main flavor note. Texturally, nearly all the components were soft and tender. The pulled chicken threads with moments of larger pieces were exceptionally moist, but I felt that the sandwich could have benefited from a little bit more contrasting cold crisp of vegetable or some zaps of pickling. The small dusting that was there was too subtle for me. Soft melting bread rounded out the theme. I probably don’t even have to explain how the avocado butter was yet another soft component. It was difficult to love this sandwich nearly as much as the medio dia when having them side by side, but it was tasty nonetheless.
Flan is something that I’ve grown to love over the years, and this flan was very light to the point of watery with the citrus notes nearly lost in the mix. I’m partial to flan with a bit more thickness and flavor to it, so this was a miss for me. It seems that they offer flan daily that changes from time to time. Perhaps the texture changes as well? I’ll try it again in the future just to be sure, but this was not a favorite for me.
I went on another occasion and had both specials that were available that day so I could check out some of their daily experiments.
with pink grapefruit segments, croutons, cilantro & lime vinaigrette
Nice chunks of creamy avocado lingered in a light spritz of vaguely acidic dressing. Again with the balance, this could have used more frequent and smaller moments of grapefruit, but I had no problem enjoying the dish. The simplicity made it lovely in its own right with bits of floral herbal notes and crunchy bits of oily crouton.
Hibiscus ginger agua fresca
Another fun thing to check out is their daily agua fresca offering. The hibiscus ginger was a nice combination where the warmth from ginger and the tart from hibiscus merged into something sweet, but not cloyingly so. Balanced, yet rich, the resulting flavor could perhaps even be described as comforting while being crisp and mildly spiced. I’m surprised agua frescas haven’t had more of a renaissance in the states in this area considering how refreshing they can be in the summer heat. I’m sure an agua fresca cart could do quite well around here with all the success of the food trucks.
sanguche de chicharrones left, tofu buns right
Yeah, don’t ask me about the tofu buns as I didn’t have them. I understand they braise the tofu and prepare it in the same manner as the pork belly and that they’re quite delicious much to the delight of many vegetarians, but I can’t speak from experience. Another day, perhaps I shall!
Sanguche de chicharrones
crispy pork skin sandwich with mixed greens and aji mirasol aioli
There were some nice spicy moments from more beautiful pickling on the onions and a nice subtle garlicy essence leaked throughout. Of course the chicharones there are divine–a thin hard candy-crunch crisp of the savory world with a melting surface. It was like being able to sneak peelings off the best parts of a roast pig. These beauties were set on a dry toast on thinner bread which melded a different play on similar textures joined in crunch but not in fat content. I enjoyed the bites of bright cilantro stems that cropped up on occasion. The sandwich as a whole was not very large or thickly filled, but due to the contents it was rich and not lacking on any flavor note. Perhaps it was too much of a good thing, however as it was deceptively and increasingly rich. Ok, I’m not sure when a pork rind ever deceived anyone into not being rich, but the quantity was indulgent despite the thinness of the fillings. A fun thing to try for a chicharones lover if it ever pops up again. I would have loved to see a little bit of tomato slice or something similar to complete the blt allusion and cut into a little bit of the fat of the sandwich.
Always a treat if you can make it down to visit during their weekday-only lunch hours. They are some of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Atlanta for certain, and you should try the medio dia immediately if you haven’t done so yet!