Best Takeout Counter (Grocery Division) - 2009
La Tropicana Market
Fidel Castro may have stepped down, but it doesn't appear likely that U.S. citizens will be able to travel to Cuba anytime soon. Oh well, we'll always have Miami. And, a lot closer to home, La Tropicana Market, purveyor of what is quite possibly the finest Cuban sandwich this side of the Mississippi. What, you ask, is a Cuban sandwich? A Cuban sandwich is ham and roast pork and Swiss cheese and pickles pressed between two crusty slices of Cuban bread. Do not dare mistake this for a panini. La Tropicana also sells a mean roast chicken, creamy guacamole, empanadas with flaky pastry shells, and ropa vieja and other entrées by the pound. Miraculously, it all tastes just as good once you get it home and warm it up in the microwave. That, combined with the friendly service (in English or in Spanish) and Coke in glass bottles sweetened with cane sugar is just enough to make you homesick for places you've never been.