The road stop specialized in sandwiches that a renowned chef opened and is all the rage
Leandro “Lele” Cristóbal, an all-terrain chef as he likes to define himself and creator of the legendary Café San Juan restaurant, he has just made a dream come true: he opened a “Sanguchera stop”, at km 270 of Route 9, which is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. “I feel like I met the travelers,” he confesses.
“It is time to return to the happy moments: the future today is to go back,” says Lele. You don’t remember your old woman’s Milanese because it was the best in the world, but because it was the one your old woman made ”.
Rutero and traveler, always on the move, in the last two years Lele traveled all over the country cooking in wild places and recounting these experiences on her Instagram. It was there that he found a determining gap to create his stop: “You don’t eat well on the road. What does a traveler need to regain strength and continue traveling ?: A great blood meal! ”. And so the “Parada Sanguchera” was born.
“There are eight good roadside sandwiches in the country: the one I liked the most was the Despensa Quito, in Alta Gracia,” he says. He mentions another in Piedra del Águila, Neuquén, on Route 237, and at least four in the province of Buenos Aires. From these trips he returned to San Telmo, where he lives, to give shape to the Parada Sanguchera project. A project designed for road lovers who have been orphaned from gastronomic shelters.
It didn’t take much. Simplicity defines your kitchen. “The great base is a good cold cuts, a good cheese and a preserve, and that does not fail. There is no mistake, “he says.
“A laboratory of road sandwiches“This is how he defines it. There are six classic sandwiches: five traditional options and one vegetarian. “Vegeta is made with cream cheese, capers, canned aubergines and Gouda cheese,” he says.
“Travelers need to eat well, enough of sandwiches packed in plastic,” he says. The location is strategic: within an Axion service station a few minutes from Rosario, at the height of Arroyo Seco, on the side of Route 9.
“It is 100% a Café San Juan project,” he explains, in a gastronomic way. Simple, emotional and abundant. Using the pillars of his legendary restaurant, he designed the sandwiches.
“They are all sandwiches that have over 200 grams of cold cuts. The mortadella has 130 mortadella and 70 cream cheese. Canned aubergines, basil oil and crusty bread. It’s a sweetie ”, defines it.
Lele does not walk around: “The sandwiches can be a main dish, you can take it and eat it in the shade of a tree and there you have the road nap that you were needing. And if you add an aperitif or a fresh beer, I won’t even tell you, “he says.
The most chosen option is to eat them within the space itself, on the side of the route. The design of the stall refers to a neighborhood delicatessen. “It is a modern field warehouse.”
The red menu is completed with one of Bondiola, Sardinian cheese and preserved tomato, another of salami, pategras cheese, pickles and German mustard. One of cantimpalo, provolone cheese and pickled peppers and a national classic: cooked ham, danbo cheese and butter. “These are flavors inspired by what I like to eat today,” says Lele. There is nothing artificial, they are noble products, of the highest quality ”.
The cold cuts were selected from a refrigerator in Salta, “La Francisca”; the bread is made exclusively for the project; Cheeses and dairy products are from La Serenísima. All the preserves are made by the Taller de Conservas Café San Juan, another of Cristóbal’s projects. On the top floor of La Cantina and La Vermutería (his two open gastronomic ventures, in San Telmo), he set up a canning and canning factory.
The next step is to make the project of the parades federal and upload videos to the networks so that anyone can replicate the sandwiches at home. The idea bets on the viral and interactive. “You will be able to take a pack with the preserves, watch the video of your favorite sandwiches, and you will be able to do it wherever you are,” Lele is deluded.
Why sandwiches and not another dish for the traveler? “Because it was good to get to your house and prepare a sandwich with the cold cuts that were in the refrigerator. Sometimes your old woman did it to you, and this was very good. We have to return that ”, he reaffirms.
Lele is a rare cook in the Argentine gastronomic world. He started out cleaning a restaurant and then he was a pothole. He learned cooking, he confesses. “I did not go to any gastronomy school, but I am trained,” he says.
But he would have liked to be a bricklayer. All his restaurants were designed by him. He is always building. He immerses himself in projects, he is in every little detail. He was born in Quilmes, in 1973, and since he was a boy he had contact with the kitchen. “My grandfather was Hungarian. At home there was never a lack of smoke. A game meat, a pork, a sauerkraut. My grandmother, an Asturian: she used to go out to gather snails, and cod croquettes were a must, ”she recalls.
In the family pots, Lele watched. That was his cooking school. “My grandfather took me to all the asados; When I was 12 years old, I gave my father a grilled suckling pig that I roasted ”. At 17, he got a job at the Bice restaurant in Puerto Madero. Before its inauguration, he was in charge of its cleaning and then he was a pothole. He started from the bottom and that was the best thing that could have happened to him. “I knew how to activate a restaurant,” he says.
From Puerto Madero, he went to Paris, Milan and Spain. He had a great European training. On his 30th birthday, in 2003, he opened Café San Juan with his mother. “It was a very good experience working with my mother, she was very social and she attended, and I was antisocial, and I cooked, we formed an incredible work team,” she recalls. The proposal was a before and after in his life and in the history of Buenos Aires gastronomy.
Why did Café San Juan become a place of worship? “Simple: it was an honest idea, with hearty dishes and a familiar price,” he says. His parents, who have already passed away, were very present at the restaurant. “That’s why it’s hard for me to go back,” confesses Lele. Although he gives a clue to his loyal fans: “We reopen soon and it will be that familiar place again,” he says, with emotion.
“La Parada Sanguchera” handles the same gastronomic concept: simple, authentic and replicable flavors. “Today we are on the way to return to the happy moments where we ate what was at home, with our mother, father or grandfather. We return to that meal. It’s what we all lack, a little bit of that familiar pampering ”, Lele admits. And he ends, true to his style: “It is full of very good gastronomic proposals, but why don’t you eat a great blood meal?”