Posts Tagged ‘Italian sub’


I was prop designer recently for a show that takes place in a house garage, and the main two characters were an Italian father and son from blue-collar Providence, RI. At one point during the show, the son asks his assistant what she wants for dinner, and the father suggests she get “a ‘One and One’—half meatball, half sausage—the best of both worlds.”

I made the “sandwiches” for the show by rolling old t-shirts up and wrapping them in butcher paper. But the notion of that sandwich, a real one, invaded my waking and non-waking thoughts until last Friday, when I finally made it for myself. I bought the roll, hot sausage, and Fontina (a riff off mozzarella, and a solid one). I made the meatballs and heated up the last of the tomato sauce from last summer’s crop. And of course I toasted the roll.

I was heading in to work another show that morning and it was a great late breakfast. Convention goes right out the window when you have a long and physical day ahead. That dude held me till mid-afternoon.


The set of the show. The car (an actual 1967 Jaguar sedan) and a few other pieces were provided by our incredible set designer, but virtually everything else is me–found, borrowed, or created. I tell people I’m a professional seagull.

Oh, and if you want to giggle, it wasn’t just a half-and-half kind of day with regard to sandwiches. Theatre life being what it is (read: wildly nit-picky directors and loony hours), laundry tends to take a backseat. On Friday I looked in my sock drawer for matching knee-high pantyhose and instead found one charcoal and one tan. That made two secrets, along with the Italian sub I’d eaten for breakfast.


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I should start by saying that until yesterday, I hadn’t had an italian sub since the late byzantine era. it’s not because I don’t love them. God knows I do. instead, it’s the dusty old cliche: I love them too much. and they’re no good for you, blah blah, fattening, blah.

rich food and I go way back. I grew up snarfing sloppy joes—the cold cut/cole slaw kind, not the ground beef kind—from a kosher deli in howell. okay, I ate the ground beef kind a lot, too. it should come as no surprise that I used to be five dress sizes bigger. a few years ago a photo of this towering deli sandwich was entered in the county fair, and I called it ‘monmouth county architecture’.

today I make homemade candy and full-fat baked goods. last week I made brownies for 75 and it took 6 lbs. of butter. I should just buy a cow and be done with it.

having said this, I still generally shy away from the over-the-top stuff. and you can finish that story: unless you’re gandhi—and even he must have busted loose now and again—a person can only go so long refusing delectables before she snaps. and if you’re going to throw every scintilla of good sense to the winds, an authentic italian sub is the ticket.

and of course there’s also this crazy paradox: you want to get really good quality ingredients when you’re going to eat something naughty, because you better believe it should be worth every bite.

enter my friend jay, whose aunt owns university subs & deli in west long branch, nj. he agreed to line me up with their italian sub, proving once again that it’s who you know.

now university subs & deli is a college sub shop, mind you. they could smirk that a demographic that downs old milwaukee probably won’t care if their subs are made with the good stuff or with some cheap greasy facsimile. and they’d be right.

but get this: they still choose to bring it, and it is really fresh boar’s head. if you’ve never treated yourself to this, the flavors are honest and pure, with no transfats or funky additives to distract you from the task at hand, which is to get busy enjoying your sub.

speaking of which: the #6 features ham, capicola, pepper ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, spices, and oil and vinegar. nectar of the gods.

oh, and a word about those last two ingredients: for me, they’re not just gratuitous little add-ons. simply put, if oil and vinegar don’t roll down my arms while I’m eating, it’s not soggy enough. lipstick? a faint memory. I know, I’m nuts, but I don’t care. and this was included in my sub request. (by the way, the sub I ate was the second in a series; the first was mistakenly left behind in the fridge. luckily jay shares my high regard for extra oil and vinegar, because when he ate it a day later, it was totally saturated—probably could have eaten it with a spoon, like a cold swine custard. and I was jealous.)

he handed me the bag; it was already half sodden. and it was then that the clouds parted and the angels started doing vocal warm ups. I was in a theatre and sat on the pit cover, where many a quick and dirty meal is consumed. but I found myself eating slowly (savoring), as opposed to what I usually do (hoovering). people worked around me, setting up for an evening show, and I sat in my happy place and ignored them all. toyed with the idea of saving half to take home and marinate for a couple of days as the first sub had done, but something primal took over. I think it was love.

so yeah, okay, any time four or five creative versions of a pig are featured between two pieces of bread, it’s going to be bad for you. but so is deprivation. and it’s the right of every virtuous eater to blow it out once in a while, which means you really can have an incredible, quality italian sub, guilt free, especially if the last one you had was in the late 15th century.

p.s. after yesterday’s triumph of evil over good, today I made vegetable rice stir fry for lunch. it didn’t taste as good as yesterday’s lunch. big shock.

holy God, that was yummy.

The #6, with shamelessly oily paper and vinegar-soaked bun.

University Subs & Deli

142 Wall Street

West Long Branch, NJ 07764


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