Paseo: Great Caribbean Sandwiches

Standing in line at Paseo has become one of Seattle’s most cherished traditions. Catch one whiff of the restaurant’s famous slow-roasted pork, and you’ll understand why. This unassuming Caribbean eatery uses impossibly tender meat slathered in house-made marinade as the basic building block in what might be some of the world’s finest sandwiches. Wait in line; you will be rewarded.

What’s the secret? A tantalizing combination of tastes and textures.

All of the sandwiches on the menu come on a fresh toasted baguette, crisped to perfection. The chefs then add creamy aioli seasoned with enough garlic to keep the vampires away for a month; pickled jalapeños for a little kick; cilantro and romaine lettuce for freshness and crunch; and sweet, tender caramelized onions.

The Caribbean roast sandwich, the most popular item on the menu, is piled high with slow-roasted pork shoulder. But what about the grilled pork, cooked over lava rocks and lovingly basted with marinade? Or the ginormous Havana seared scallops? Or the “smokin’ thighs,” boneless chicken thighs with the skin left on? I defy you to find a single offering on the menu that doesn’t look mouthwatering.

Vegetarians won’t languish from hunger here either; there’s a tofu sandwich garnished with garlic tapenade and killer black beans and rice.

Then there are those caramelized onions. Even people who hate onions love the onions here. And people who adore onions can order the “Onion Obsession” sandwich. That’s right — a sandwich filled with nothing but glorious, glorious onions.

In summary: Wear comfy shoes, bring omnivores and vegetarian friends alike, show up hungry and prepare to wait. And when your sandwich arrives, dripping with juicy goodness, don’t even try to eat neatly. Just enjoy.

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