Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Canwiches' New York Trip Vol 3 - SCHTICKWICHES!

One of the amazing things about New York is its ability to support the one off, flavour-of-the-mouth, sometimes plain cooky restaurants that focus sometimes on only a single menu item:

  • S'MAC - A lactaidy tribute to Mac & Cheese in the East Village
  • PB&CO - a loving ode to the PB&J 
  • Doughnut Plant - a paean to my favorite fried sweet treat, the Donut.
During my pinguefy-ing trip, I decided to visit the latest (at the time of Sandwich consumption) of these offerings.

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef: 

The owners of This Little Piggy are experienced Schtick-Restaurant proprietors, having previously raised Led Zeppole.

This Little Piggy has but 3 items (they seem to have since added a 4th). Although the Pastrami got some shine, the clear focus on is on that Union Jack Stereotype, the  Roast Beef:

They offer:
This Way (Roast Beef, Cheez Whiz served on a roll),
That Way (Beef, Mozzarella, Dipped in Au Jus - Chicago Style - served on a Hero)
The Other Thing (Pastrami and Cole Slaw on Rye)

I decided on This Way for a couple of reasons.
1) I've never eaten Cheez Whiz before and figured when in Processed Cheese Sauce Rome. Also I figured I should prepare myself in case I ever make Cheesesteak Aliyah to Philadelphia.
2) It seemed like an upmarket version of a gross Arby's Beef n Cheddar and I'd figure it would really stick it to those smug Raffell Brothers

The Whiz Worked Wonderfully.  It added a guilty, velvety(or maybe its Velveeta)  texture. The moist, slow roasted beef, the Au Jus and the Cheez Whiz led to a bun that was bursting with flavour. 

The Meat was tender and with strong peppery flavours. The Angus Top Round after hours of slow roasting is kept warm in its juices, is extremely tender.  

And did I mention greasy?!? As Nick Riviera Said  
"And remember, if you're not sure about something, rub it against a piece of paper. If the paper turns clear, it''s your window to weight gain."

Notice the transparency throughout the wrapper.

This is the kind of Sandwich that I could see myself to propose to after a night of libations and instantly seeking an annulment when I woke up the next morning. 

Overall Judgment: 7.75 Opas/10 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Canwiches' New York Trip Vol 2 - Putting the Sang in Italian Sang-wiches

Entry #1: Sal, Kris & Charlie's Deli.

As I have mentioned before, the genesis of this blog consisted of me searching for "giant sandwich pics" on google images during 'downtime' in Law School. A part of me has always yearned for the kind of Sandwich that would simply dominate me (Sandwich Masochism?), where I would be left a smiling, drooling fool left in the mist of Sandwich run-of. 

This was that Sandwich. 

I hit up the self-proclaimed "Sandwich Kings of Astoria" during a visit to my good friend Brian "Wonder Bread" Schwartz's new apartment:

The Sandwich Kings, located in a fairly nondescript deli, are known for their monstrosity known as "The Bomb". 

Containing:  ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni, mortadella, american cheese,swiss, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, roasted peppers, pickles, oil, vinegar, mustard, and mayo, served on an enormous 14" Italian Roll. 

To give you a perspective on the enormity of this Sandwich, here's a 500 ML water bottle comparison shot

Roughly the size of a Rugby Ball, the Bomb is a local legend to Astoria like Christopher Walken or Whitey Ford. 

Unassembled Bomb: 

The Meats and Cheese were similar to what you'd find in any NY neighborhood deli. The signs loudly celebrated their Boar's Head Meats:

But this Sandwich is not about rare imported Iberico Ham,Truffle Oil or Northern Luxembourg Cave Cheese. This Sandwich was all about taking the perfect selection of Sandwich elements, artfully stacking them, balancing the flavours, and cramming as much as into this Hero as that made this Hero stand out.

After 9 bites, the Turkey and Roast Beef make surprise reappearances:

The Sandwich was so delicious and brobdingnagian in proportion that Brian and I were stopped during our Epicurean Sandwich Feast in Ditmars Park to ask what the heck that Sandwich was and were the passerby could get one.

I got through the first half no problem but was able to only polish about 1/3 of the second before throwing in the proverbial Sandwich towel. Brian sped his way though the first half and kept pushing till halfway on the 2nd half before turning green. I hadn't seen Brian eat like this since the Great-Bacon-Egg-Cheese-Sandwich
Triathalon of February 05'.


  • Fantastic balancing. Different nuanced tastes at every bite. Felt like three different Sandwiches at once.  
  • Possible solution to the elimination of the special food allowance in Ontario by allotting one Bomb per family per week
  • Great zingy deli peppers and fresh tomato 
  • Bread was  crusty on outside while soft and nurturing on the inside. Surprisingly little Sandwich push- through/under-biting
  • Could have used more Mustard
Overall 8.5/10 Opas. 

Notice how the Sandwich has maintained structural integrity.

Entry #2: Torrisi Italian Specialities

Torrisi is a walk-in  kitchen style joint that elevates the Italian deli formula to its most gourmand extreme.  Featuring an extremely casual setting, the restaurant surrounds the customers with cans of pickled peppers .

The menu is simple: a rotating roster of 5 fantastic antipasti, 4 different rolls & heros, and either lasagna or eggplant parm depending on the season.

My sister and I first tucked into the Italian Hero:

Simply put, every single aspect of this hero was perfection. Fantastic assorted meats (Mortadella, Pepperoni, Sopresetta Ham, Genoa Salami) go way beyond your typical NY Boar's Head selection (sorry Sals) and are skillfully balanced with extremely juicy tomatoes, fragrant provolone, the best deli peppers I  have ever eaten, Oil, Vinegar and house made spicy paste (I pried but they wouldn't reveal their secrets)

Even the role served as a perfect Sandwich conduit as the Sandwich maintained form brilliantly and had a nice crust and softy chewy interior.

Overall Impressions:

  • Fantastic Meat!
  • Perfect balance (lettuce:meat:sauce:pepper ratio was off the charts)
  • Could have used a bit more provolone as some bites were absent 
  • Excellent Hero bread

Since there was a bit of a holdup with the Sandwiches (which was maybe 10 minutes MAX) , the owners comped us 1) a fantastic Eggplant mix with Raisins, and Artichokes and  2) A Spicy Rabe with a beautiful spiciness to it that paired well with the slight alkaline tastes in Rabe and 3) Extra vinegar Peppers

Next up was another slightly upmarket version of an Italian American classic, the Chicken Parm.

Served on a fresh roll, the Chicken Parm was dressed in its Sunday best with home-rolled and pillowy-soft fresh Mozzarella, crispy breaded white meat stacked two-high, a very zippy homemade Marinara   with Basil leaves arranged delicately throughout:

The Sandwich was perfectly arranged, mouth-sized, and managed to avoid the messiness that I tend to associate with this generally unfastidious Sandwich:

Overall Impressions:

  • Juicy and crispy Chicken cutlet
  • Fantastic home made Mozzarella 
  • Whole basil leaves a great choice
  • Marinara was good enough to eat on its own

Overall Judgment: 
9.75/10 Opas

Our next NYC Sandwich trip post will survey the kooky, one-off Sandwich offerings that only NYC can seem to get away with, in an entry entitled Schtickwiches. 

Happy Sandwiching!