01 November 2008

I Fell In Love with an Italian on My Day Off From Work

It finally penetrated the big ol’ chunk o’ bone that I call a noggin, that I should takes myself a day off from That Which Earns Me My Daily Bread, i.e. The Job. I was long overdue, I didn’t get my usual two trips out of state this year (a story for another time) and I was feeling more than a bit ornery.

So I did it. I took off Halloween, because it was Friday and I just felt like it. Plus, my daughter had a Halloween parade at her day care, which I didn’t want to miss. The modus operandi for these temporary escapes from Real World activities is to try and do as little as possible. For me, that often translates into a trip to Centennial Lake near my house to do some walking, thinking, writing and bench sitting. With the weather continuing its gorgeous streak Friday was a particularly good day. After filling the tank and recharging the batteries there, I hoofed it over to day care to escort the Wee Lass in her parade. (See post of yesterday for a slide show). What a blast and good for the soul.

From there I curtailed my parading activities to go in search of some cheesy comestibles! (my apologies for the Mousebender reference (http://www.phespirit.info/montypython/cheese_shop.htm). I went to a neighborhood Italian eatery called Pazani and wouldn’t you know it? I met what may be my next great love of my life: a really, REALLY good Italian sub. Hey, give me a break, Sarah Lancaster and Lisa Edelstein are probably taken(http://www.nbc.com/Chuck/about/bios/lancaster.shtml) (http://www.starpulse.com/Actresses/Edelstein,_Lisa/gallery/Lisa-Edelstein-hs01/) even if they would associate with the likes of me.

Anyway, I am a sucker for hoagies, and good ones have been in short supply for me ever since another of my favorites dealers, er, SOURCES close its doors years ago (Farewell, Little A’s!). A good, proper Italian hoagie is a rare creature, easy to make but difficult to master. The next to last place that I could find a good one, I had to constantly remind the counter guy to NOT PUT MAYO on it. Nasty. Why in the hell would anyone DO that? To a true believer such as me, mayo on an Italian sub is tantamount to blasphemy. And far too many delis do it. So I have been trying to ‘spread’ (get it? Spread? HA!) the gospel when it comes to condiments on my sub. Here is the basic list: Oil, vinegar, hots. That’s it. For the Zen Italian experience that’s all you need. The meats/cheese lineup can vary a little, but the most successful combination for myself (admittedly, I like ‘em simple) is peppered ham, capicolla, salami and provolone. Other good variants are with mortadella or regular ham, MAYBE sometimes pepperoni. Rarely is it superlative with all of those; filling but too much going on. For gardenware, lettuce, tomato and onion should do it. I should note that I once had one from Pastore’s in Baltimore that had an olive spread on it. It was quite good, but I haven’t had a chance to investigate it further.

Friday lunch. I approach the counter at Pazani. The lovely brunette at the counter asks me what I would like. Some investigation is in order:

“What’s on the Italian?”
“Capicolla, salami, pepper ham and provolone.” O, Lord, surely You must be tempting me.
“Italian cold cut, please”.
“Would you like everything on that?” Oh, jeez, The Question. I raise an eyebrow, holding my breath, as she fills in the blanks.
“Lettuce, tomato, onion?” I blink. No mayo. She did not say mayo. Angels sing and I smile.
“And some hots?” I ask hopefully.
“Sure!” Suddenly she looks even prettier.

I head for my table with a mild sense of relief. The sandwich arrives looking all coy and inviting in its little basket. The chips are just a distraction. I lift up half and take a bite. Taste buds doing the dance of joy, the choir starts to sing. She had me at capicolla.

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