I don't remember my first day of school. I don't remember the first time I rode a bike or drove a car. I don't even remember my first kiss to tell you the truth (as disturbing as that may be). I do, however, remember the first time I ate an Italian hoagie. My Nanny took me and my sister to the grocery store and we bought every kind of Italian meat imaginable. She was very specific with what kinds of meats and cheeses she wanted and I remember wondering why we needed so many kinds. We assembled our sandwiches and took them down to the creek near her house and ate them along the water. Then Angela and I went down and splashed around till dark. The hoagie was, of course, fantastic.
South Philly is filled to the brim with little delis where you can purchase the most delectable hoagies, grinders, and cheesesteaks imaginable. But generally speaking, I prefer to make hoagies myself. I've mentioned in the past how I worked in a snackbar for three years during highschool, so I've made more hoagies than I can count. But this past Christmas, while I was home, I set out on a mission to make my ULTIMATE Italian hoagie. I used nothing but the freshest, most beautiful, South Philly ingredients and documented my quest along the way.
First step: Sarcone's. Walking into the bakery you are hit in the face with the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread. The rolls are baked fresh every day but you have to get there pretty early cause usually they are completely sold out by about 1pm.
I was so overwhelmed by the smell that I actually forgot to take pictures while inside! But here are the rolls I bought once I got home. I got the big hoagie rolls. I dunno if they were out of the smaller ones already or just didn't make any that day. But the big ones worked great and just cut them up into smaller sections. I'm personally not a sesame on my hoagie roll kinda girl. But hey man, I don't judge if that's your thing.
Next stop: Deli! This was my first time to Claudio's and oh my god I will be back!!!
Look at those meats. Oh man I think I just drooled on my keyboard. YUM! They had every kind of cured meat possible. All fresh and delicious! They had beautiful cheeses and fresh olive oils. I can't even remember everything, there was just so much to see! Look, even an antipasti bar there to the right! And they were VERY generous with the free samples! Even though I was wearing my Dodgers hat at the time (oops!) the guy was still super friendly and very helpful! Although he did call me "dazed and confused" for mixing my Dodgers hat and Phillies jacket. If you go you must try their fresh made mozzarella. It melts like butter in your mouth.
Last stop was to the Italian market for the veggies. I love wandering through the market. It makes me giddy. I found myself running around from stand to stand looking for the best bargains and the most beautiful produce. I think I may have embarrassed my friend who was shopping with me, running around like a 5 year old snapping pictures haha
Not pictured here is the trip I made to the spice store a few days prior where I picked up some fresh oregano. Spice stores are awesome by the way. I wish I lived near one now. It's like a candy store for adults with all the different spices around in big glass jars and scoops!
By the time I left I was so full from all the samples that I didn't end up making the sandwiches right away! Later I went with my sister to my friend Rachel's house. Her friend, Tracy, was up visiting so the four of us and their little kiddies made some sweet hoagies and feasted!
The guy at Claudio's told me that pepperoni is not really a staple in a normal Italian hoagie but it is how I have always made hoagies and since this is MY ultimate Italian hoagie... well it's goin' in!
Preppin ingredients. I think the ultimate hoagie has the following: Good extra virgin olive oil and lots of oregano to start, the meats and cheese above, then for veggies I go tomatoes, thinly sliced white onions, fresh roasted red peppers, hot banana peppers, lettuce.
You know how to roast a pepper right? Broiler, flip, flip, flip, flip, cover, wait, peel...
Welp everything is ready to go! Let's get to assembly!
I think that this next step is extremely important in sandwich making but often skipped because well, once you're done, who actually wants to wait to eat! But once you have assembled, wrap it up tight, and let it sit for like 5-10 minutes. Sounds crazy but it makes everything come together so much nicer! I swear. Just do it.
Oh yeah. That was totally worth it.
Even the baby's into it.
Ah yes. Heaven.