8442 Philadelphia Road
Baltimore, MD 21237
Having grown up in South
Jersey and lived/attended school in Philly
for many years, I consider myself a pretty
good judge of a hoagie. And nothing stirs
my soul quite like a really good
Italian cold cut hoagie. The right blend
of meat, cheese, mayo, vinegar and peppers
is like a culinary explosion that just
can't be beat.
Now that I live near Baltimore,
I haven't quite found an Italian hoagie
that matches those found in the Italian
delis near my boyhood stomping grounds.
In fact, the closest I've come to a sub
to die for was in Florida (of all places).
The Italian sub at Prudente's Italian
Deli and Eatery [4925 Bonita Beach Road,
Bonita Springs, FL / 239-992-9477] is
the best I've had in some time. Then again,
the family that runs Prudente's relocated
to Florida from North Jersey/New York,
so they know their way around a sub.
Their Italian Supreme --
packed with cold cuts and provolone and
topped with a vinegar and oily Italian
Salad -- was a true find during our last
trip to the Sunshine State.
So, when a client mentioned
an Italian deli here in Baltimore as a
lunch option after a late morning meeting
I was definitely intrigued. As we walked
through the door of Pastore's
I knew that the memory of that Prudente's
sub might be in for some competition.
The complex, layered smells that are evident
in the best Italian delis were immediately
at play here... meaty, cheesy, saucy and
spicy aromas all danced around my head.
As we stepped to the counter
my client laid down a culinary gauntlet
I wasn't quite expecting. I casually mentioned
that I had a thing for Italian cold cut
subs and he replied, "Then you should
try theirs. Might just be the best sub
I've had anywhere. Ever."
I was floored. Was it possible that Baltimore's
uber hoagie had been a short drive away
all this time? I ordered up their signature
sub, The Pastore, and waited, ever so
I'm pleased to report that
it was well worth the wait. The Pastore
features a soft, chewy 10" or so
roll, the kind you normally find up in
the Delaware Valley. The insides are packed
with Genoa Salami, Capicollo, Prosciuttini,
Mortadella, and Provolone with olive oil,
wine vinegar, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo,
and hot peppers with onions also available.
What sets the Pastore apart and puts it
into another level apart from the usual
Italian sub is the addition of two olives
-- one on each half of the sandwich --
and a delicate dusting of a grated cheese
blend that mixes with the mayo and oil
to create a cheese-tastically creamy sauce
that I wanted to put on everything for
the next 36 hours.
So, is it the best hoagie
ever? Right now I'm having a hard time
conjuring up an Italian cold cut hoagie
I've had anywhere at anytime that can
beat it. But that don't mean I won't keep
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