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Spotlight: Valisa Bakery

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Now that’s a sandwich.

Valisa is a Puerto Rican bakery, deli and restaurant. Its front display case is filled with scrumptious looking pastries, pies and cakes. But I was looking for something savory, so I started perusing the menu board on the wall behind the counter.

I zeroed in on a sandwich called the Choripan, which technically is more of a South American sandwich than Caribbean, but it sounded good to me. It gets its name from mashing up of the words chorizo and pan, or bread. Here it also includes smoked ham along with Swiss cheese and sauteed onions.

And all of it was impressively stacked. The layers of meat made me think of a New York delicatessen. And the fresh bread, slightly pressed, made it all the more enjoyable. With a bag of chips included, it was quite a feast for $7.50.

I returned for another visit and had one of the hot lunches from the steam tables behind the glass counter. The selections weren’t as enticing as I’d seen on the first visit, but I settled on barbecued ribs served with rice and red beans and a stack of tostones. It was again an impressive amount of food, but it didn’t come close to the quality of the sandwich.

I also sampled a sweet bread with cream cheese and fruit. In the Puerto Rican style, the pastry was more “bready” in texture. All fresh tasting but I’m definitely a savory sort of fellow.

There is a small and tidy dining area if you prefer to dine in. And all of the staff I met were friendly and welcoming.

Go for a really terrific sandwich. And if any of you are harboring notions of opening a sandwich restaurant, be sure to visit Valisa Bakery to see how it should be done.

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