I recently had some tasty Cuban sandwiches and fried potato croquetas at the Cuba Bakery & Cafe — but while the intersection of East Mississippi Avenue and South Chambers Road may be an easy stop for many Aurora residents, it's quite a drive for the sake of a sandwich. Luckily, a new option recently popped up in my neck of the woods: a Cuban food truck called El Bohio Criollo, which serves breakfast and lunch from a parking lot on Federal Boulevard between 17th and 18th avenues.
The truck offers a number of traditional sandwiches, from a pork-pudged Cubano with ham, shredded pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard, to beef or chicken pressed subs, to a sleek little number packed with fried potato croquettes. Each comes topped with a mound of matchstick fries, but other sides are available for a little extra: ham or cheese croquetas, fried yuca, flaky empanadas, and spirals of fried dough called tequeños that ooze white cheese from either end.
Along with daily specials of juicy meats sided with rice, black beans and fried plantain, the menu also lists an odd sandwich called a frita Cubana — odd in Denver, anyway, since the burger-like construction is popular enough in Miami to warrant its own list of the ten best in that city. Unlike a hamburger, the patty in a frita Cubana is a blend of pork chorizo and beef. Bohio Criollo's version is a dense puck of meat fried until crisp on the edges and wedged into a bun of Cuban bread with yellow cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard and a shower of matchstick fries.
A side of fried yuca with aji verde (a mild, creamy sauce) is a good accompaniment, but it's filling enough to be shared. The truck also offers a range of batidos: Cuban-style shakes in a rainbow of tropical fruit flavors. If you're looking for the Caribbean equivalent of a burger-and-shake combo, chase your frita Cubana with a batido de trigo — made with puffed wheat — for a classic pairing.
Bohio Criollo is usually open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and there are breakfast options, too, including Cuban coffees and pastries for not-so-early risers. Not that a person could ever get sick of Federal Boulevard's many taco options, but the addition of Cuban cuisine to the stretch makes for a tempting change of pace.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.