THE Italian Sandwich

Someone asked me several months ago why I love sandwiches so much to which I simply responded, “because there is so much awesomeness”.  A friend of mine put it into the perfect words yesterday when we were having lunch, “There is so many moving parts.  It’s like a clock.  If one thing goes wrong it doesn’t work.”  Stay sexy buddy.

Back in May I was on a flight to Calgary when I read in the En Route magazine about a sandwich shop located in the heart of little Italy called California Sandwich.  The caption read, “This sandwich is for REAL sandwich eaters.”  I clearly had to check it out.  The following weekend I emerged from my building and began the journey over.  About five minutes into the walk it started to pour.  Walking a block in this kind of rain it was almost as if I took a dip in the lake.  When I arrived at the delightful little shop an older women behind the counter saw me, laughed and asked if I swam over.  I told her that I had but that’s how much I’m committed to good food.  She gave me a roll of paper towels to dry myself off as I ordered the veal sandwich.  I waited over thirty minutes for the sandwich since there were about six groups in the restaurant in front of me and about 20 takeout orders.  It was interesting to hear them taking orders on the phone, “Seven veals and seven chicken!”, “Five meatball, 2 veal!”, “Four veal, four chicken, two meatball and an eggplant!”  When my order finally arrived I sat down and began unwrapping the foil as excited as a kid at Christmas.  My first thought, “THIG IS HUGE!  It’s the size of my head” (and I kind of have a big head).  I bit into the sandwich.  The soft warm bread mixing with the crisp veal cutlet and then feeling the spicy heat of the jalapenos (I ordered the “hot” so there was also a spicy jalapeno spread).  The tomato sauce was also delightful and mixed in well with the other bursts of flavors.  I emerged from the shop, the rain had stopped, the sun had began setting and the sky was a beautiful mix of blue, purple and pink.  This sandwich was magical!

Earlier this week I decided to take a couple friends, one of whom has a nona that makes the same sandwiches.  I had to see how authentic they were.  We originally tried going to Caplansky’s up the street in preparation for my trip to Montreal this weekend but they were sold out of meat.  COME ON!  Oh well, the back up isn’t a bad substitute at all.  As we walked up we noticed the sign in front boasting, “Toronto’s best Italian Sandwich”.  


We walked in and decided to order three different sandwiches and share between the three of us so we could get a small taste of everything.  We ordered the meatball, the veal and the chicken.  Our food arrived and we sat.  I bit into the chicken first.  I found the texture and the mix of flavor similar to the veal but the tender beefy taste was replaced with white meat chicken.

IMAG0004My friend bit into the meatball and the first thing she said was, “this is just like my nona’s!”  As I tried my portion I could taste the giant meatballs begin melting in my mouth.  Soooo soft!  Soooo delicious!  The sauce and bread were similar to the other sandwiches but I think the meatballs really stood out in this sandwich.

IMAG0003My other buddy had the veal and there was resounding approval.  We all agreed that these were great sandwiches.

IMAG0002Walking away that night was thinking about other Italian sandwiches I have had in the city and whether this place truly was Toronto’s best Italian Sandwich.  Then I remembered, I had a REALLY good veal sandwich at a little stand in St. Lawrence Market.  I was introduced to this place in the summer of 2007 by some co-workers.  I had to go back to taste the difference so yesterday I made my way over to give it a go.

The line-up at Uno Mustachio (I didn’t know the name of the place until yesterday…I just referred to it as the really good veal sandwhich place in St. Lawrence) was huge, as per usual during the lunch rush.  I again sat down, unwrapped the foil in excitement yet again.  It wasn’t as big as I remembered it, but I guess it just wasn’t as big a California sandwich.  California sandwiches are probably a little excessive but as my chemistry professor once told me, “everything in moderation, including moderation”.

IMAG0011-1The sandwich is excellent!  It isn’t as meaty as California sandwich but they put more things on it like fried eggplant, onions and mushrooms.  It may have just been the mood I was in at the time but I didn’t find it as satisfying as California sandwich.  The mix of flavors was great but there is something to be said about good simple meat, good sauce and good bread.  It may be a more simple clock, but a California sandwich will work every time.

~ by jlowjlow on July 18, 2009.

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