East Coast Deli Sandwiches at the Other Coast Cafe

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Those of you who have read my posts in the past no how much I dread the deli sandwich checklist so often found on the west coast.   Next to over processed supermarket sub rolls nothing really ruins a sandwich experience for me more.   So I am just a little excited to tell you that if you live in the Seattle area I finally found a sandwich shop that really means it when they say “make your own”.  And to top it off, they used real bread and high quality meats and cheeses.

The Other Coast Café has been recommended to me numerous times by folks either from the east coast or at least equally in love with it.   I’m not exactly sure why it has taken me so long to finally make to this establishment, but my proximity to the Capitol Hill location finally made it a reality.   My original reason for wanting to go to The Other Coast Café was that I had read in numerous online publications that they made a really authentic chicken parmesan sub.   I kept looking at their online menu and never saw a chicken parmesan sub mentioned but I figured it was probably a  special not offered all the time.

So I hoped the #11 bus outside my office up Pike St into Capital Hill.  After a short bus ride I found myself in front of The Other Coast Café.   The Capital Hill location is fairly non-descript and located a block or two west of the main happenings in the area.   I walked into the restaurant and I wasn’t overly enamored.   The décor was fairly sparse and the deli case was miniscule.

I spent some time reviewing the menu and still did not see a chicken parmesan offering.  However I did see a “make your own” option.    After being offered the dreaded sandwich checklist the last time I saw a “make your own option”, I decide I would just ask upfront what it really meant.   To my surprise I heard music to my ears … “you can put whatever you want on your sandwich, I’ll just have to charge you for it”!  Finally someone or someplace that gets it.  I don’t care how much it costs (within reason) I just want to make the sandwich the way I want it.

With the that in mind I approximated my usual new york Italian deli order as best I good with the ingredient offerings at the other coast café.   I ordered Cajun turkey, salami, capicola, smoked mozzarella, cherry peppers, and a pesto sauce, all on a hero roll.   I didn’t hear a single complaint with my order and the $9 price was still reasonable.

I took my sandwich back to work and when I opened it up I was really excited.  The smell was intoxicating, and the sandwich was the perfect size.   The first thing I noticed when I took a bite was that the bread was great and since the bread is the overwhelming factor in a good sandwich I new the rest was bound to be good.   This was your perfect hero bread … slightly crunchy on the outside but airy with a little bit of chew on the inside.   The oil from the cherry peppers and the pesto sauce perfectly dressed the sandwich.   The meat and cheese were all fresh.  Hands down this was the best Italian deli sandwich I have found in the pacific northwest.

Needless to say the other coast café made me a happy camper.   So much so that I have been back numerous times since my first visit.   Don’t waste any more time reading this post.  If you live in the Seattle area and you are craving an east coast Italian deli sandwich there is no need to drive to the other coast … just take a short journey to The Other Coast Café in capital hill.   You will thank me.

Other Coast Cafe - Capitol Hill on Urbanspoon

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Matzo Brei Recipe and Happy Passover

A belated Happy Passover to my readers!   Probably one of my fondest Passover childhood memories is of my Mother making Matzo Brei.   So in honor of the holiday I present to you my Mother’s Matzo Brei recipe (slightly improved of course).   I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces of Matzo
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 of peanut oil for frying

Directions

Put the oil in a large frying pan and heat on a medium-high setting.  Break the matzo into pieces and put in a bowl with water (the water should completely cover the matzo).   Soak the Matzo for about a minute and then remove the Matzo from the water (I just use a strainer). 

Meanwhile in a separate bowl mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.   When the oil is sufficiently hot, mix the soaked matzo and egg mixture.   When the matzo is fully coated pour it into the frying pan.  

Fry until crispy on both sides (breaking the matzo brie into pieces as needed with a spatula).   When finished place the matzo on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the extra oil.   Serve with maple syrup and sugar.

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Viafore’s Italian Deli in Fircrest, WA … So Close but Yet So Far

Reading the reviews for Viafore’s Italian Deli might lead one to belief they found the holy grail of New York food on the west coast.   The majority of reviews are glowing indicating that Viafore’s is the only “real” Italian deli in the area.    Not to beat a dead horse, but I LOVE New York style Italian deli sandwiches so as you can imagine I have been scoping this place out for years.   Sadly Fircrest, WA is not exactly close to Seattle so it wasn’t until my most recent drive to Portland, Oregon that I was finally able to take a detour and visit this Italian Deli that has been showered with praise.

Fircrest is small suburban town south of Tacoma, Washington.   When I drove up to Viafore’s I found a fairly nondescript building mixed with a bunch of suburban homes.   I was beginning to think I found another New York food needle in a haystack!   When I walked in the door I was equally excited by what looked like signs of a good New York Italian deli experience staring me in the face.   There was a big deli case with tons of fine Italian meats, a refrigerator full of fresh made Italian foods, and shelves of imported Italian products.  Let’s just say I was giddy.

After a stroll around the store and quick look at the menu board I opted for the “make your own” sandwich option.   I knew exactly what I wanted to order, the same sandwich I grew up eating in my local Italian deli:  Smoked Turkey, Hot Salami, Fresh Mozzarella, roasted red peppers all on a Italian baguette.   I went up to the counter and requested my sandwich and this is where my illusion of New York food supremacy was CRUSHED!  First I was told they didn’t put the Hot Salami on sandwiches.  Then when I asked for fresh mozzarella I was also rebuffed.  Then the gentleman behind the counter did the unthinkable … he gave me the sandwich checklist!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!

You see the Italian delis I grew up with had no such thing as a sandwich checklist.   If anything they had a notepad.   You could walk into any Italian deli and ask for anything in their deli case and they would put it on your sandwich.  There was no segregation of meats, cheeses, and condiments.  Everything was on the table (or Sandwich).   Sandwich checklists are the norm on the west coast at every supermarket deli counter, but I really expected better from this place.

Despite my sudden onset of New York food depression I capitulated and ordered the closest sandwich I could create.  I got turkey, pepperoni (which wasn’t on the checklist but he let me have), aged mozzarella, and pepperoncini’s, all on a hero roll.   I also picked up a jar of fresh made tomato sauce.

I ate half my sandwich in my car before I took off for Portland.   The sandwich was pretty ordinary.   Without fresh mozzarella or roasted red peppers, the sandwich was too dry.   The turkey was pretty bland, and the pepperoni was run of the mill pepperoni.  The bread was sadly just a lot like the sub rolls you find in a supermarket.   Was it the worst sandwich I ever had? No.   Was it better then what you would get in your local supermarket? Slightly.   I left the second half of the sandwich with my friend in Portland.   The text he sent me after he ate it summed up the sandwich pretty well; “Thanks for the Sandwich, but it was extremely mediocre”.  As for the tomato sauce … well it was pretty good but not good enough to make up for the sandwich debacle.

Anyway, if you are looking for the New York Italian deli of your dreams in the Seattle/Tacoma area, this place will most likely disappoint you.   If you live in the Fircrest, WA area and you are looking for a selection of imported Italian goods and reasonable selection of Italian cold cuts then by all means stop by.   Just don’t order a sandwich unless you like the selection on the checklist!

Viafore's Italian Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

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“Mangia Mangia” in Billerica, Massachusetts (Need I Say More)

Thanks to my recent departure from Microsoft and my new job at another Seattle area software company I’ve finally had the opportunity to start traveling again for work.   One of my recent trips took me to Billerica, Massachusetts a sleepy suburb north of Boston.   While one could argue that finding New York style food in the Boston area is far from a challenge, I still couldn’t pass up the task.

The first thing I did when I found out I would be making the trip to Billerica was do a little research for quality New York food in the area.  One place that came to my attention was Mangia Mangia right in Billerica.   Sure enough when I arrived at my hotel and asked the hotel staff for the best Italian food in the area they immediately mentioned Mangia Mangia.   I was traveling with 4 other people so after a drink at the hotel lobby bar and some slight convincing I got a group of west coasters to indulge my New York food obsession.

Mangia Mangia is your classic east coast Italian restaurant.  It is located in an older brick building.   When you walk inside the restaurant and you are immediately bombarded with checkered table cloths and the intoxicating smell of Italian food.   As soon as we were seated the waitress brought out some bread for the table.   The bread was a sliced seeded Italian bread and it was awesome.  It occurred to me as I was eating the bread that I haven’t seen seeded Italian bread on the west coast ever.   So I was excited to eat this delicacy and relive my childhood memories.

For dinner I ordered a classic chicken parmesan.   One of my favorite dishes and one that is royally #$%@ up on the west coast.   When the waitress bought the dish to the table I immediately had high hopes.   The chicken looked crisp and not overly drenched in sauce and cheese.   The sauce looked like a fresh high quality tomato sauce.   My first bite lived up to my expectations.   The chicken was crispy, even the parts under the sauce.  I consider the crispiness to be the ultimate test of a good chicken parmesan because usually the sauce makes it incredibly soggy.   The chicken was also nicely seasoned.   The sauce was nearly perfect.  Sweet and savory like any great tomato sauce and clearly made with high quality imported canned tomatoes.   The cheese was a good high quality creamy whole fat mozzarella cheese and was provided in just he right proportion.

This was one heck of a chicken parmesan and it was a pleasant surprise since it has been many years since I found a good chicken parmesan outside New York.   To top it off Mangia Mangia has a great New York Italian feel.  So while you might not be hard pressed to find good New York food in the Boston area, if you find yourself in Billerica, MA I suggest you pay Mangia Mangia a visit.  It will be worth your while.

Mangia Mangia Gourmet Pizza on Urbanspoon

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I Hate Myself for Loving Apizza Scholls

I was only 13 when Joan Jett wrote her signature song “I Hate Myself for Loving You” but I am fairly certain she was writing about the visit I would make to Apizza Scholls a mere 23 years later.   You see the other night was my third visit to Apizza Scholls.   My previous two visits both started with a craving for pizza and the promise of a great pie but ended with being told by the staff at Apizza Scholls that they were out of dough!  Out of dough!  Excuse my refined New York English dialect but, what the fuck does that mean. In 36 years I have never walked into a pizza place only to be told they were out of dough.  So it should be no surprise that I had a lot of reasons to hate Apizza Scholls.

My best friend from the age of 4 (a fellow New Yorker) happens to live in Portland, Oregon.   I told him I was going to come down for a visit and come hell or high water I was finally going to eat at Apizza Scholls.   I got down to Portland by 3 o’clock and we decided we would head to Apizza Scholls by 5 PM to ensure we got in.   Well believe it or not by 5 PM there was already a sizeable line.   We waited for about 15 minutes before they opened the doors.  As the flood of people went inside the restaurant it became apparent we would not be seated right away.  Sure enough when we finally pushed our way through the door we were told we there would be an hour or so wait until we were seated.   Luckily Apizza Scholls has a fairly open floor plan with some window seats at the front of a restaurant and a bar right along the left wall.   So despite the fact that I was now further annoyed by the amount of time I invested in this restaurant, two strong beers and a comfortable seat subdued my anger.

After an hour we were finally seated.  There were four of us eating and we settled on two pizzas.   We ordered a classic Margherita and a Bacon Bianca.    Despite the long wait, the service at Apizza Scholls was actually quite good.   A waiter arrived at our table shortly after we were seated and when we asked his opinion on what pizzas to order he provide some valid insight.  Additionally it was less then 20 minutes from when we ordered until we got our pizzas which was a nice surprise.

So at the end of the day perhaps all that matters is how the pizza tasted.   Well to refer back to the title, I hate to say it but I LOVED the pizza.   I started with the Margherita pizza.   The crust is hard to describe.  It is like someone took a really fine French bread and wrapped it in a pizza crust.   It folded like a slice of new  york pizza, it was chewy and there was a slight amount of char.   But it also had this bready airiness to it.  That crust is truly a marvel and it made me really reevaluate how good I was at making my own dough.   The rest of the Margherita was also delicious.  The pizza had a very good sweet and savory sauce, and nice creamy salty  topping of cheese.   The Bianca was equally good.   I am not normally a fan of white pizzas but the bacon on this pizza gave it such a nice smoky and salty flavor.  It wouldn’t normally be my pick of the litter but I could have eaten that pizza all night long.

After we finished the pizza I sat with my long time friend and we discussed the merits of Apizza Scholls and the verdict is complicated.   The pizza is fantastic and I think we both agreed that if we could pick any pizza to eat in Portland it would be Apizza Scholls.   However we both struggled with how pretentious Apizza Scholls is.   It goes against everything we grew up with.  A pizza place is supposed to be a place that offers cheap great food, is accessible to all people, rarely requires waiting, is offered for lunch and dinner, and usually is offered to go.   I know some people might say we are nitpicking by judging things other than the pizza,  but I would counter that those people don’t really understand New York pizza.   It isn’t just about a great food.  It is about a great food in a great atmosphere.  I am happy to say Apizza Scholls makes great food, but the atmosphere leaves something to be desired.   Will I be back? Most definitely.   Do I recommend you go?  Certainly.   Do I wish they would open all day and always offer pizzas to go?  Hell yeah.  Do I hate myself for loving Apizza Scholls?  You know it!

Apizza Scholls on Urbanspoon

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Pizzeria Prima Strada Making Great Pies in Victoria B.C.

I find nothing more satisfying than finding quality New York food in the most remote places.  So when my in-laws were coming for a visit and my wife suggested a ferry trip to Victoria Island, British Columbia I couldn’t help but search for purveyors of New York style food.   One restaurant that kept popping up in multiple web searches was Pizzeria Prima Strada.   Now that I had a target all I needed to do was a pay a visit.

Now Pizzeria Prima Strada had A LOT going against it.   First of all it’s in Canada!  Second of all it’s about the furthest part of Canada from New York.   Finally it’s in Canada … oh wait I already said that.  But never fear, if I let something as simple as a restaurant being in Canada stop me from trying their food, I would never be able to write this blog.

Now after a fairly short ferry ride from Seattle to Victoria and a few days of begging my family to let me get some pizza I finally made my way to Prima Strada.   From the second I walked in the door I had a strong suspicion I was in for something really good.   There were two pizzaiolos slinging pies like they were truly devoted to their craft.   Additionally this pizzeria contained a beautiful looking wood burning oven.   Unfortunately having two kids, my wife, and my in-laws waiting in the car did not leave me a lot of time to debate what to order.  So I ordered a Margarita and a being enamored with the Margherita pizza it turns out my family was enamored with the Salsiccia Piccante (sausage and roasted peppers) pizza and took them back to our rental house to eat.

As soon as I opened the boxes I was overwhelmed by the look and smell of these pizzas.   The crust looked like the perfect width, it had just the right amount of char, and it wasn’t loaded with cheese.   I went straight for the Margherita and I was in love.   The sauce was that perfect blend of savory and sweet.  The curst had great texture and that awesome slightly charred flavor from the wood burning oven. 

Meanwhile while I was busy being enamored with the Margherita pizza it turns out my family was enamored with the Salsiccia Piccante pizza.  It is a good thing I looked when I did because there was only one slice left.   The Salsiccia was also amazing.   The fennel sausage added great flavor to the pizza.   And the roasted red peppers complimented the sausage perfectly.

Pizzeria Prima Strada was downright fantastic.   I drag my family on a lot of crazy excursions for New York food and more often then not they have been unsuccessful.  But this time I hit a homerun.  I loved it, my wife and kids loved it, and my in-laws loved it.   So if you find yourself on the very far west side of Canada on the beautiful island of Victoria I strongly urge you to pay Prima Strada a visit.  It might just be the best reason to visit Canada!

Pizzeria Prima Strada (Cook St.) on Urbanspoon 

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Posted in Pizza, Review, Victoria BC | 1 Comment

I Love “I Love New York Deli” in Seattle, WA

First things first … where the hell have I been?!?   Well with a wife, two kids, and a day job sometimes life gets a little busy which prevents me from indulging in my true passion, which is seeking out the finest New York food outside of New York.   I know what you are thinking … the same thing my Grandma Millie thought when I gave a lame excuse … “Gai kakhen afenyam”(roughly translated from Yiddish to English:  go shit in the lake).   But I hope you’ll forgive me and read on.

Speaking of my Grandma Millie, I can tell you one thing she really loved was a pastrami on rye sandwich, and I am hear to tell you I think I found the best Pastrami on Rye in Seattle and dare I say outside New York.   I Love New York Deli is a tiny deli stall in the economy section of Pike’s Place Market.   It is so small that if you walk too fast you might miss it.  I heard of this place a few years ago when it opened but I never got a chance to pay a visit.   I recently started a new day job in downtown Seattle which created an opportunity to walk 5 blocks for lunch and hit up the I Love New York Deli.

When I got to the deli I checked out the menu and I was happy to see a variety of New York kosher deli options including knishes, blintzes, and deli sandwiches.   What stuck out most was three stacks of rye bread including a marble and seeded rye bread.   I am not sure where they get their rye bread from but I haven’t seen a seeded rye in ages and never in Seattle.   Having very fond memories of the seeded rye breads my parents used to keep around the house I opted for a traditional pastrami on rye sandwich.

I watched the gentleman behind the counter slice my pastrami on demand.  As you can see from the photos he was very generous.   Just the right size for a New York sandwich.    Besides a sandwich I also noticed they had an assortment of Drakes cakes and I couldn’t help but continue reliving my childhood so I ordered a package of ring dings to go with my sandwich.

I took my food back to my desk at work and immediately tore into the sandwich.   Let me tell you that sandwich was awesome!   The rye bread tasted just like the seeded rye bread of my youth.  The pastrami was just the right temperature, not to hot and not to cold and I also found the pastrami was sliced to just the right thickness.  I even loved the pickle that came with it.   I could have eaten that sandwich three times over.  After finishing my sandwich I indulged in my ring dings and while I would hardly ever rave about the taste or quality of a pre-packed cake product, it still brought back fond memories of the countless ring dings my mom stuck in my lunch box as a kid.   And for better or worse it put a huge smile on my face.

I Love New York Deli is fabulous.  My only complaint is that they were out of Knishes the day I visited, but the sandwich was good enough to make me go back and attempt to get one next time.  They also carry a load of other New York favorites including Dr. Brown’s soda, black and white cookies, and much more.   So if you find yourself in Seattle craving a pastrami on rye sandwich stop by the I Love New York Deli and nosh on some classic New York kosher deli food.

I Love New York Deli on Urbanspoon

 

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Mandelbrot Recipe (without the Mandel!)

 

My mother cooked very often when I was a child and she had a fairly significant repertoire, but there are really only a few dishes that I consider to be family heirlooms.   One of those dishes was Mandelbrot.  Mandelbrot was a staple in our household.  It made an appearance for almost any special occasion, including anytime we had company, visiting day at sleep-away camp, and to this day when I come home for a visit.   Not only was Mandelbrot special in our household, but my Mother shared the recipe with almost everybody she knew and it was staple food for my parents’ entire circle of friends.

For those of you not familiar with Mandelbrot (sometimes called Mandel Bread) you can best describe it as Jewish biscotti.   There isn’t an enormous amount of historical information about the origins of  Mandelbrot, so it isn’t clear if it influenced Italian biscotti or vice-versa.   What I can tell you is that I have been making a derivative (dare I say improved) version of Mandelbrot ever since I moved out on my own.   Several years ago I prepared some Mandelbrot for some German friends of ours and I was asked where the almonds were.   After a few minutes of me appearing slightly confused my friends alerted me to the fact that Mandelbrot actually means “Almond Bread” in German (and Yiddish).   Loaded with this new information I called my mother and asked her how come there were no almonds in her Mandelbrot recipe.   Her answer was quite simple  …. “ I didn’t like almonds so I took them out of the recipe”.

So without further ado … I present my (slightly improved) mother’s famous Mandelbrot recipe (without the Mandel)!

Ingredient List

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of oil ( I believe the original recipe called for Shortening)
  • 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of almond flour
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 12 0z. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put all wet ingredients (eggs, oil, and vanilla) in a mixing bowl and mix with a paddle attachment for 1 or 2 minute until everything is well blended.   In a separate bowl mix together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder,and salt).   With the mixer running with your wet ingredients slowly add your dry ingredients until everything is incorporated.   You should have a very wet dough.   On a low setting mix in the chocolate chips (or stir in by hand).  

Place the finished dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour (this will make the dough easier to work with).   After an hour take the dough out of the refrigerator.   Split the dough into two equal portions.  On a baking sheet take each portion and make a log approximately 3 inches in width .   Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes (or until the edges start to brown).   Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 – 20 minutes (leave the oven on).   Once the Mandelbrot has cooled slice it into ~1 inch slices.  When finished slicing turn all the Mandelbrot pieces on their side and put the baking tray back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes (only 5 minutes if you want a less crisp texture).   After the 10 minutes remove the Mandelbrot from the oven.  Let cool and serve.

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Brooklyn Bros Pizzeria: A Taste of Brooklyn in Everett, WA

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Have you ever experienced something that blurs the line between dream and reality?   Well this past weekend I had a New York Pizza experience that did just that.

On Sunday I was invited to participate in a charity golf event in Marysville which is about an hour north of Seattle.  Sometime ago I had read about a pizza place in Everett called Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria which is in the same general direction as Marysville.  So I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to give it a shot.  After a nice morning with my family I headed out early for the golf event hoping I would have enough time to stop at Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria.

With two children ages two and a four I don’t get a lot of time to myself, so a long drive on my own was very attractive.   On this given Sunday we happen to be having a traditional Pacific Northwest cloudy and overcast day.   There was hardly a car on the road and between the weather and the sheer lack of sound, I found myself in Everett in what seemed like five minutes.  The exit off the I5 into Everett takes you immediately to the very appropriately named Broadway Avenue.  The streets of Everett were practically desolate on this day.   I parked my car about a block away from the pizza place and when I stepped out of the car all I could hear was the sound of seagulls.

The first thing I noticed when looking at Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria was that it is located in a gorgeous old building that looks like it might have been taken straight out of New York City and plopped here in the Pacific Northwest.   After admiring the building for a while I walked into the pizza place and was greeted with the sounds of Frank Sinatra singing “My Way” .   I walked straight up to the counter and said seven words I haven’t said in a very long time ….. “Give me two slices and a coke” (ok it was two slices and a “diet” coke because my metabolism isn’t what it used to be).I ordered a plain cheese slice and a “Bowery” slice which had Molinari Pepperoni, Coscioppo Bros. Sausage, and roasted garlic.   I watched the gentleman behind the counter warm the pizza up in one of the strangest pizza ovens I have ever seen.   It was a large oven with multiple levels of rotating stones.   The pizza was delivered to my table in about 5 minutes and from just the look of the pizza I was excited.

The pizza crust had a beautiful char and the hole structure was excellent.   I started with the cheese slice and I was immediately in heaven.   This was a true New York slice, floppy and foldable but slightly crisp.   The sauce had just the right level of sweetness and it was perfectly seasoned.   There was perhaps a little too much cheese but overall it was an amazing slice of pizza.   I followed up my cheese slice with my “Bowery” slice.   The flavors of the “Bowery” were great.   The pepperoni, sausage, and roasted garlic really melded together nicely.   My only complaint about the “Bowery” slice is that it was fairly oily.   But then again I have rarely had a slice of pizza with pepperoni on it that wasn’t oily.

So what’s the final verdict?   Well I definitely had it “My Way” at Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria.   If Delancey is the epitome of the new arrogant, snobby New York pizza culture than Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria represents the best of New York Pizza culture.   It’s a no-holds-barred type of place where you can walk in at any time and order a couple of slices.  

I walked out of Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria and headed on my way to my golf event.   By the time I finished playing golf and made the hour long drive home I was exhausted.  When I woke up the next morning my trip to Brooklyn Bros. didn’t even seem like it had actually happened.   It seemed too good to be true.   All I can say is one way or another I will be making my way back to Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria either by car or in my dreams.

Brooklyn Brothers Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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Posted in Everett, Pizza, Review, Seattle | Leave a comment

Jersey Mike’s Subs: Italian Deli in Bellevue, WA (and all over the USA)

Normally I have avoided chain restaurants on this blog but with a name like Jersey Mike’s Subs I would be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t cover it.   Especially since they have locations all over the United States

Let me get straight to the point and say that if the “Arthur Avenue Cookbook” is my “Hustler” than the deli case at Jersey Mike’s is my “Over 50”.   I mean look at the meats in the deli case below … they don’ even look real.   Have you ever seen a rectangular shaped ham?  What is “hot ham?  Is it pepperoni, sopressata, or some Frankenstein cured pork product?  And what the hell is prosciuttini ?  I don’t know but my best guess is cheap prosciutto.

Jersey Mike's Subs, Italian Deli 

Anyway as the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover.   So how does it taste?  Well I have had numerous sandwiches at Jersey Mike’s over the years and honestly I find the food mediocre.  I would best describe it as a New York themed version of Subway (I know it is called Jersey Mike’s but New Jersey is really just one giant suburb of New York City).   The cold deli sandwiches are in the right vein, but as you can tell from the deli case the quality of the meats are pretty horrific.  The bread is soft and mushy, and they are skimpy on size (vertical size).   Jersey Mike’s also makes hot sandwiches including my favorite chicken parmesan.   The best I can say is at least the chicken is breaded, and that is a step in the right direction for the west coast.  But they use the same mushy bread, the sauce is way over seasoned, and they use provolone cheese instead of mozzarella.

So what is the verdict on Jersey Mike’s Subs?   Well if you are desperate for something New York Italian deli “like” or something that resembles a chicken parmesan hero then give it a shot.   Otherwise if you have access to someplace better (e.g.  Salumi in Seattle) I suggest you do the same thing you should do the next time you find yourself in New Jersey … drive right past it till you get to New York City (food)*.

*NOTE: No New Jersey natives were hurt in the making of this article … only slightly insulted which they are used to anyway.

Jersey Mike's Subs on Urbanspoon

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Posted in Bellevue, Chain, Chicken Parmesan, Italian Deli, Review | Leave a comment