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Special Request: La Mancha's Cuban is loaded with meat and cheese
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Special Request: La Mancha's Cuban is loaded with meat and cheese

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Recipe request: Cuban sandwich at La Mancha

The Cuban sandwich, with ham, roast pork, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, as served at La Mancha Coffeehouse, is photographed on Friday, August 12, 2016. La Mancha is located at 2800 North 14th St. in Old North St. Louis. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Q • La Mancha Coffeehouse in Old North is a comfortable neighborhood eatery, and the Cuban sandwich is great! — Tom Bratkowski, St. Louis

A • For families, out-of-towners and chocolate-bunny fans, a trip to legendary Crown Candy Kitchen is a pilgrimage, of sorts. But for Veronica Holden, Old North is home, where she lives and where for five years now, she’s run a neighborhood coffee shop.

La Mancha Coffeehouse sits right across the street from Crown Candy; the name is a nod to Don Quixote, whose tilting-at-windmill ambition is lauded in Latin communities, including Holden’s mother’s native Puerto Rico. She says that St. Louis’ Old North neighborhood is a close-knit community. “We work hard to maintain our character while making it a better place for everyone here.”

Food-wise, La Mancha puts out an eclectic mix from a tiny open kitchen that gives La Mancha a friendly, homey feel. There’s a definite Latin influence: think quesadillas (Tex Mex), empanadillas (Puerto Rican) and the Cuban sandwich (as much Miami as Havana). Holden accents soups and vegetables with characteristic Caribbean flair.

La Mancha opens early for locally roasted Chauvin coffee, homemade pastries, pancakes and waffles plus breakfast sandwiches such as the popular breakfast burrito with bacon, house-made potatoes, eggs and cheese. At lunch, soups and sandwiches go fast, especially the chicken salad, Holden’s own favorite is a wrap with spicy black beans and rice. By early evening, people are hungry for “breakfast for dinner” and Holden will cook a whole ‘nother round of pancakes, even when a signature beef stew is on special.

Holden calls a Cuban sandwich workingman’s fare and smiles at the suggestion hers might well be the best in town. It’s served hot off a 570-degree panini grill, a crispy-soft roll loaded with roasted pork, ham, cheese whose richness is countered by the sandwich’s signature pickles and yellow mustard.


La Mancha Coffeehouse

2800 North 14th Street

314-932-5581; www.lamanchacoffeehouse.com


Special Request is written by Town and Country resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and “veggie evangelist” at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.

To request a recipe • Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to reciperequest@ post-dispatch.com.

Special Request is written by Town and Country resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and “veggie evangelist” at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.  

To request a recipe • Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to reciperequest@ post-dispatch.com.

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