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Entries in Food and Drink (15)

Tuesday
Jul092013

The Muffuletta Sandwich: A Tribute

Via Wikipedia: 

A traditional style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. The sandwich is sometimes heated to soften the provolone."

After doing extensive research, I discovered that this incredible sandwich made its debut at Central Grocery, a New Orleans speciality market which opened in 1906. As is the case with most larger-than-life sandwiches which have become mainstays amongst their fans for generations, the Muffuletta was conceived to feed very hungry individuals from a wide selection of ingredients. Central Grocery's owner at the time, Salvatore Lupo, noticed that some of his regulars struggled with deciding on their usual lunch of bread, salamis, cheese and olives. To avoid this conundrum during busy hours, he devised the idea to combine them all into one sandwich. Because such engineering would require immense structural integrity, Salvatore Lupo realized that simply choosing wheat bread would be a complete disaster, but also understood that using toasted Italian bread would be too difficult to bite into. As a remedy, Mr. Lupo looked elsewhere...to muffeletta bread.

A muffeletta is a round Sicilian sesame bread, typically 10 inches in diameter, and sometimes flattened to make handling easier.

Until the 1960's, The Muffeletta Sandwich (as it became to be known), mostly remained popular only to residents of New Orleans. However, around the same time that Neil Armstrong made his first "small steps," these sandwiches became quite popular in various Italian communities across the country, most specifically the Chicago and New York markets.

On a personal note, my first taste of a muffeletta sandwich (albeit a variety that isn't completely accurate with Salvatore Lupo's creation) took place at Schlotzsky's Deli. First founded in 1971, Schlotzsky's has been offering their take of the sandwich -- known as The Original -- for over 40 years. My dad first took me to a Schlotzsky's Deli in 1998, and I have been a fan of The Original ever since.

However, if you ever find your self in N'awlins, I strongly urge you to make your way to Central Grocery to taste a sandwich that has been delighting customers for the past century. I did so myself back in February of this year, and it was a true honor and privilege.

DISCLAIMER: While I'm not being paid to write this article, I would endorse some sort of reward for doing so. Perhaps a free sandwich?
 

Obligatory food porn.

Tuesday
May012012

I've officially eaten at Parthenon Gyros too many times

Anybody who knows me personally understands that I have an insatiable addiction to Parthenon Gyros. Not only is the food sublime, but the Europop is second to none. 

Long story short, my Shazam app has gotten A LOT better at identifying international hits. 

WARNING: This song is EXTREMELY catchy and likely will be stuck in your head until you wake up tomorrow morning.

Saturday
Mar172012

Why I love St. Patty's

I'm not Irish, but I love the music associated with its culture.

a drink to peace between the nations from recordbodycount on 8tracks.

"To me it looks like a leprechaun to me, all you got to do is look up in the tree. Who all seen the leprechaun say yeaaaa!!"

I wanna know where da gold at.

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.

 

Tuesday
Feb212012

An Open Letter to Checkers and Rally's Hamburgers, Inc

Until the age of 9, I lived in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area. With the exception of a few friends and family members, the temperate tropical weather, and frolicking away aimlessly at the beach, it's safe to say that my parents' decision to move me up to Madison, Wisconsin was the finest decision they could have ever made with regards to my upbringing. The opportunities presented in the Midwest compared to what I would have been familiar with down in Florida are literally night and day. However, once every couple of months or so, I find myself yearning with lust and desire.

There is a fast food chain known simply as Checkers that is very prevalent in my former homeland. These restaurants serve the best fries that have ever graced my lips, and as great as the food is up here in Wisconsin, nothing quite compares.

Until the Summer of 2009, I was under the impression that the only opportunities I would ever have to taste the delectable grease that Checkers has to offer would be if I were to vacation down in the South. However, 2.5 years ago my life changed when I was told that there are in fact two locations in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. To put it bluntly, I ate A LOT of Checkers that glorious summer. Be that as it may, I was a lot older then than when I was 9, and was more informed about social demographics. What I'm trying to say is this:

To eat at Checkers, I have to travel to impoverished areas, literally festering with crime and narcotic use.

I would risk my damn life for these fries, Yo.

It is not my intention to sound like a complete douchebag, but I was raised in an extremely sheltered community in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, one of the most progressive cities not only in the Midwest, but in the entire country. To the best of my knowledge, I did not grow up around crack deals, shootings, and prostitution rings. It's definitely a culture shock when I roll up to the drive-thru craving burgers, naively oblivious to the fact that I get to go back to a safe community in a matter of hours, while the majority of the customers and employees do not share the same fate.

In the past three years, both recreationally and traveling for my job, I've encountered three Checkers locations in Wisconsin. Since I'm a complete nerd who takes my desire for hedonism too far, I did a little research. Both Checkers and Rally's are owned by Wellspring Capital Management, and I have a simple, selfish request to ask them:

Please open more of these fine establishments in safer areas that I feel more comfortable visiting with friends and family. Seeing crack being smoked and women selling their bodies makes me feel awkward while I'm stuffing my gullet with burgers, wings, and fries.

Yours truly,

Jesse Zakshesky 

Thursday
Feb172011

So, I had a dream last night...

DISCLAIMER:

YOU WILL LOVE THIS ARTICLE IF: You cried openly after the Green Bay Packers won Superbowl XLV.

YOU WILL HATE THIS ARTICLE IF: Seeing emotional, obnoxious "adults" screaming loudly about grown men playing with a pig's bladder made you worry about the current state of humanity.

It's been a few weeks since the Green Bay Packers' thrilling victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, football season is now unfortunately over (perhaps for a long time when you consider a possible lockout) and I'm eagerly awaiting the 2011 NFL Draft. Long story short: Football is on my mind. It only makes sense that something that I'm so passionate about now has entered my subconscious, and I'm now going to discuss the best idea I've ever had.

Going to a Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox baseball game, wearing Packer jerseys and cheeseheads, and totally alienating the people around us.

What I'm proposing is simple:

  1. Get a group of people together that share my Packer fanaticism
  2. Purchase tickets to a Cubs/White Sox baseball game
  3. Drive down to Chicago wearing Packer gear
  4. Tailgate outside the stadium for hours, heckling Chicago-area fans. Do Lambeau Leaps into the back of our vehicles.
  5. Lil Wayne's "Green and Yellow" playing. Constantly.
  6. Enter stadium, after enjoying some adult beverages
  7. Basic plan for the 9 innings of baseball (~3.5 hours):
    • "Go Pack Go" chants...often, and loudly.
    • Hold signs that say: "Welcome to Lambeau Field South."
    • Make a lot of "Da Bears" jokes. A LOT of them.
    • Ask the people around us who their favorite Packers are.
    • Give out some cheeseheads and trading cards to little kids in hopes of angering their depressed parents who have been Cubs fans all their lives, and likely will never witness a championship. Ever.
    • Advertise the many attractions of Wisconsin; state parks, resorts, haunted houses, etc.
    • When the game is over, raise our replica Super Bowl trophies, and in unision exclaim, "The Vince Lombardi trophy is coming home!"
  8. Post-game festivities:
    • If the game took place at Wrigley Field, spend the night, explore Michigan Avenue, dine at the restaurants, and have an overall great night.
    • If the game took place at U.S. Celluar Field, leave, and as QUICKLY as possible. Let's be honest here, we are in South Chicago, and statistically speaking, the odds of us getting shot are quite high...especially after angering so many people.

That's essentially it. The fans of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox vehemently hate eachother. However, I feel that they could somehow put their differences aside and direct their anger at us instead. I honestly believe that we have been too respectful of the Bears fans since they lost to the Packers a few weeks ago, and letting them off the hook simply isn't right. If interested, get ahold of me, and we'll start planning the weekend trip of our lives.

In spite of Ed Gein being born here, I'm still really proud to be a Wisconsinite.

You have no idea how immensely I want to wear my Ray Nitschke jersey in Chicago.