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Italian Hoagie


Kanishka
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As a former deli slave, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to sandwiches. Particularly the Italian cold cut, which for some reason captivates me at all times. I've had a few good ones--the version with feta cheese at Rips in Bowie comes to mind--but mostly mediocre ones in DC. The absolute worst was one from the sandwich shop in Union Station that was a glorified bologna sandwich.

So here's the question: I'm in search of the perfect Italian cold cut/sub/hoagie. I'll definitely be doing first person research on this one. Suggestions on where to begin?

K

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As a former deli slave, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to sandwiches. Particularly the Italian cold cut, which for some reason captivates me at all times. I've had a few good ones--the version with feta cheese at Rips in Bowie comes to mind--but mostly mediocre ones in DC. The absolute worst was one from the sandwich shop in Union Station that was a glorified bologna sandwich.

So here's the question: I'm in search of the perfect Italian cold cut/sub/hoagie. I'll definitely be doing first person research on this one. Suggestions on where to begin?

K

Buy yourself a round-trip ticket on Amtrak from Washington Union Station to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and back.

Once you disembark at 30th Street, follow the signs directing you to the nearby SEPTA subway station. Board the Market-Frankford Line eastbound and do one of the following:

1) Disembark at 8th Street and proceed south nine blocks to Fitzwater, then head west one block and order one from Sarcone's (9th and Fitzwater). The bread matters as much as the meat in a really good hoagie, and Sarcone's bread is the best in the Greater Philadelphia area--the birthplace of the hoagie. While you're there, why not kill a little more time? Continue south for two blocks on 9th until you hit the Italian Market. Stroll down 9th Street. Marvel at the glorious mess. Buy some cheese at DiBruno's and meat at Esposito's. You may now return to Washington.

2) Disembark at 13th Street and proceed two blocks south to Walnut. Turn left on Walnut and head to Planet Hoagie (1208 Walnut). They also use Sarcone's bread (along with bread from another very good local supplier) and Hatfield meats, which are relatively unknown in the world of Philly deli-dom (where Dietz and Watson rules, as I believe it also does down your way)--even though it's a local company--and surprisingly good. You might be distracted from your quest for a good Italian by the dazzling variety of choices offered here.

3) Disembark at 15th Street and follow the signs for the Broad Street Line (City Hall station). Board a southbound Broad Street local train and ride it three stops, to Ellsworth-Federal station. Exit the station via the steps to the west side of the Broad-Ellsworth intersection. Turn left on Ellsworth and proceed one block west to Merlino's (15th and Ellsworth). I don't know where their bread comes from--it's a little softer than Sarcone's, but awfully damn good, and their hoagies are huge and well-built (meats are Dietz and Watson). If you get there much past 4 p.m., you're likely to be out of luck in getting a hoagie here, though--they will certainly have run out of bread by then.

Or do this:

Buy that round trip ticket in anticipation of the responses you will receive when you post this very same question on the Pennsylvania board. You will probably receive further endorsements of the first two places I mention there, plus a bunch of others.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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In the same vein as MarketStEl.....drive 90 minutes up I-95 to Newark Delaware. Go to Cappriotti's on Main Street. Order Italian sub. Also do yourself a favor & get a Capastrami (pastrami, capacola, coleslaw, russian dressing, cheese) and a Bobby (turkey, stuffing, cranberry, mayo). :wub:

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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Trattoria E Pizzeria here in Columbia is the best I've had. I don't know what it is about it that makes it so good. It's not anything out of the ordinary. They use great bread and heat it in the oven before they start stacking on the ingredients. So you're biting into this warm, crusty bread with the cold, thinly sliced ingredients.

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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Italian Store, Italian Store, Italian Store, Italian Store

Get there early or take a number. Everything is deeply satisfying there, but the Capri and the traditional Milano with hot and sweet peppers are not to be missed.

If he is thin, I will probably dine poorly. If he is both thin and sad, the only hope is in flight.”

Fernand Point

Cirrcle Bistro, Potato Peeler

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Italian Store, Italian Store, Italian Store, Italian Store

Get there early or take a number.  Everything is deeply satisfying there, but the Capri and the traditional Milano with hot and sweet peppers are not to be missed.

Yes. I'll "second" your rec. It's good. Really good.

I just might go tomorrow. Yum.

Barry

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Italian Store, Italian Store, Italian Store, Italian Store

Get there early or take a number.  Everything is deeply satisfying there, but the Capri and the traditional Milano with hot and sweet peppers are not to be missed.

Damn right about Italian Store. HMMMM. . . Mortadella!

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I am partial to Marchones Italian Deli, in the Wheaton Triangle.  Their meatball sub is worth ordering too.

11224 Triangle Lane, Wheaton.  301-949-4150.

I have to second Marchone's. They add just enough oil and vinegar to make it a great sub.

I cannot get past ordering pizza at the Italian Store to actually try anything else. Maybe I will have to go for lunch and dinner and have both. :biggrin:

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I'd have to say the "Italian Cold Cut Trio" from Subway on the carb-controlled "hoagie" roll with low fat ranch dressing and a bag of baked lay's would be the best around. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

Is it just me....or do you hate it when people say....is it just me?

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I'd have to say the "Italian Cold Cut Trio" from Subway on the carb-controlled "hoagie"  roll with low fat ranch dressing and a bag of baked lay's would be the best around.  I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

I especially like their mortatofu. :biggrin:

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Trattoria E Pizzeria here in Columbia is the best I've had.  I don't know what it is about it that makes it so good.  It's not anything out of the ordinary.  They use great bread and heat it in the oven before they start stacking on the ingredients.  So you're biting into this warm, crusty bread with the cold, thinly sliced ingredients.

Giolotti's would have been my suggestion; when I lived in Annapoilis, it's the only way I could survive without a Philly hoagie fix. But really, if you want a decent hoagie, ya gotta head to South Philly. Nothing else compares.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Trattoria E Pizzeria here in Columbia is the best I've had.  I don't know what it is about it that makes it so good.  It's not anything out of the ordinary.  They use great bread and heat it in the oven before they start stacking on the ingredients.  So you're biting into this warm, crusty bread with the cold, thinly sliced ingredients.

Giolotti's would have been my suggestion; when I lived in Annapoilis, it's the only way I could survive without a Philly hoagie fix. But really, if you want a decent hoagie, ya gotta head to South Philly. Nothing else compares.

I hear ya on the South Philly hoagies! I like to buy the kettle potato chips and put them in my Italian hoagies. Adds a nice crunch and some extra texture. I have heard several people refer to that as "Philly" style.

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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Well, it is simply impossible for me NOT to chime in on this one. With all due respect, first,

"Buy that round trip ticket in anticipation of the responses you will receive when you post this very same question on the Pennsylvania board. You will probably receive further endorsements of the first two places I mention there, plus a bunch of others."

Am I not correct but didn't the Philadelphia Inquirer several years ago note that the White House at Mississippi and Artic (in Atlantic City) had the best sub/hoagie? ("White House Special" with double meat and cheese). I also remember the New York Times in the late '80's claiming that the best french bread in America came from the Atlantic City Bakery where, there is a single bread oven and a 60 year old (or so) man in a "wifebeater" T shirt with sweat on his brow, beats fresh dough before shaping it into a tube and sticking it deep into the 50 year old oven to bake. I am certain that his sweat gets into the dough. I also know that once an hour or so, when he takes several dozen of these out of the oven, he puts them in a brown shopping bag and carries them two blocks up the street, still warm, to the White House. There, after they "scoop" the "meat" of the bread out with their forefinger and middle finger, the still warm loaf is layered three deep with good cappicola, mortadella, genoa and two kinds of provolone along with home grown tomatoes (in season), leaf lettuce, Spanish onion, mild hot pepper relish, oregano, sweet basil, salt, pepper and good olive oil squirted heavily on top of all of this before being tucked inside the roll and sliced. Again, the bread is usually still warm, from the oven.

There is nothing in D. C.-or in Philly-that can touch this. Not even the coal fired bread oven just up the street from Pat's at 9th and Passyunk.

There IS good bread in D. C. from Catania Bakery whose hard roll is sold by Vace and several others.

By the way, I would also argue that the White House makes an awfully good cheesesteak on the same bread but that is another topic.....

And, didn't the Beatles in '64, take a limo FROM Philly to Atlantic City to eat a sub? They have a photo of this on their wall by the register.

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Trattoria E Pizzeria here in Columbia is the best I've had.  I don't know what it is about it that makes it so good.  It's not anything out of the ordinary.  They use great bread and heat it in the oven before they start stacking on the ingredients.  So you're biting into this warm, crusty bread with the cold, thinly sliced ingredients.

Giolotti's would have been my suggestion; when I lived in Annapoilis, it's the only way I could survive without a Philly hoagie fix. But really, if you want a decent hoagie, ya gotta head to South Philly. Nothing else compares.

I hear ya on the South Philly hoagies! I like to buy the kettle potato chips and put them in my Italian hoagies. Adds a nice crunch and some extra texture. I have heard several people refer to that as "Philly" style.

in 29 years of living in Philly, I've never heard of that.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Am I not correct but didn't the Philadelphia Inquirer several years ago note that the White House at Mississippi and Artic (in Atlantic City) had the best sub/hoagie? ("White House Special" with double meat and cheese).  I also remember the New York Times in the late '80's claiming that the best french bread in America came from the Atlantic City Bakery  where, there is a single bread oven and a 60 year old (or so) man in a "wifebeater" T shirt with sweat on his brow, beats fresh dough before shaping it into a tube and sticking it deep into the 50 year old oven to bake.  I am certain that his sweat gets into the dough.  I also know that once an hour or so, when he takes several dozen of these out of the oven, he puts them in a brown shopping bag and carries them two blocks up the street, still warm, to the White House.  There, after they "scoop" the "meat" of the bread out with their forefinger and middle finger, the still warm loaf is layered three deep with good cappicola, mortadella, genoa and two kinds of provolone along with home grown tomatoes (in season), leaf lettuce, Spanish onion, mild hot pepper relish, oregano, sweet basil, salt, pepper and good olive oil squirted heavily on top of all of this before being tucked inside the roll and sliced.  Again, the bread is usually still warm, from the oven.

There is nothing in D. C.-or in Philly-that can touch this.  Not even the coal fired bread oven just up the street from Pat's at 9th and Passyunk.

There IS good bread in D. C. from Catania Bakery whose hard roll is sold by Vace and several others. 

By the way, I would also argue that the White House makes an awfully good cheesesteak on the same bread but that is another topic.....

And, didn't the Beatles in '64, take a limo FROM Philly to Atlantic City to eat a sub?  They have a photo of this on their wall by the register.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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[i hear ya on the South Philly hoagies!  I like to buy the kettle potato chips and put them in my Italian hoagies.  Adds a nice crunch and some extra texture.  I have heard several people refer to that as "Philly" style.

Can't say I've ever heard of or seen anyone putting potato chips in their hoagies around these parts. They're usually served on the side.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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[i hear ya on the South Philly hoagies!  I like to buy the kettle potato chips and put them in my Italian hoagies.  Adds a nice crunch and some extra texture.  I have heard several people refer to that as "Philly" style.

Can't say I've ever heard of or seen anyone putting potato chips in their hoagies around these parts. They're usually served on the side.

Actually, I've heard it a few times. The first time I heard it was on "The Cosby Show". In the episode, Bill Cosby was eating an Italian hoagie and he started putting chips in the center of it. He told who ever was in that scene that it was called "Philly style".

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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Actually the White House was not voted the best "in" Philly. Just better than Philly.

They have this clipping on their wall also. It is possible that since the article appeared several years ago the places you mentioned have received the recognition they deserve. Still, at one point in time several years ago, Philly's best sub was in Atlantic City at the White House according to the Inquirer.

Edited by Joe H (log)
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