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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Assorted Sandwiches from Paesano's Philly Style, Philadelphia, PA

Where: Paesano's - 152 W. Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA - 267-886-9556  Open everyday 11am - 7pm     http://www.paesanosphillystyle.com/

What: PAESANO - $8.50
Build: Beef brisket, horseradish mayo, roasted tomatoes, peperoncino, sharp provolone & fried egg

What: ARISTA - $8.50
Build: Whole roasted suckling pig, broccoli rabe, Italian long hots & sharp provolone

What: GUSTAIO - $9.50
Build: Roasted lamb sausage, sun dried cherry mostarda, Gorgonzola & roasted fennel

What: BOLOGNESE $8.50
Build: Crispy fried lasagna bolognese, smoked mozzarella & fried egg

Comments:
As for all the truly great sandwich makers out there – Tony Luke's, Shank's, Primanti Bros., etc. – I'm hear to tell you (if you don't already know) that although these sandwich shops have all held the #1 title for signature sandwiches from time to time, Paesano’s is without question, in a class by itself.

With that being said, it's not going to be easy to do these sandwiches justice with mere words. In fact, I should really just step away from the keyboard and tell you to go there to see it for yourself…especially since my photo documentation is almost nil because I was so blown away by this food, I forgot to pick up the camera until they were almost gone so I'm going to apologize in advance for the half eaten photos.

But to keep with the spirit of my blog, I feel I owe you just a little insight as to what you'll experience at Paesano's, so here goes...

 Let's face it, finding the best place to eat is very easy…all you need to do is look for the place with the full parking lot or the line out the door. Simply put, empty parking lot = food sucks, and Paesano's proved this theory correct. The length of the order line said it all, and I was poised and ready, especially after a great recommendation from our Philly-raised host this weekend. 

This is the type of tiny joint that has the storefront window fogged up all winter long. The moment you set foot in the place you're hit in the face with big aromas that punch you like a prizefighter. The interior walls are plastered with giant black chalkboards crammed with simplistic hand written menus. It's the type of place where reading the menu items while waiting on line builds so much anticipation and appetite, you find yourself trying to talk yourself into going slow and not eating too fast. I began to repeat to myself, "try not to swallow the sandwich in one bite.” 

After reading all the menu items and their ingredients, I thought it was odd that so many sandwiches were made with a fried egg on them (I don't think it odd anymore).

Please keep this mind:
It's not just the combination of ingredients that stand out here, it's the QUANTITY of each ingredient within each sandwich that makes them great.

 I really can't go any further because I’m afraid I just won't do this place justice, so in a nutshell, here are my comments on each sandwich:

 The PAESANO: The brisket was extremely tender and juicy with flavor and spices that were as undecipherable as they were delicious. The richness of the egg, the peperoncino along with the horseradish and provolone cheese was nothing shy of perfection. For me, this was one of the best things I ever put in my mouth. 

The ARISTA: Again, for those of you who are experimenting with pork, broccoli rabe and sharp provolone, please step aside. Yours is not as good as Paesano's. Fact of the matter, it's not even close. Tender meat? This pork was cotton soft, the broccoli rabe was done with oil and garlic to perfection and the cheese spoke for itself. With all these incredibly rich flavors there was only one thing that could cut through all the richness while adding a contrasting flavor.. The Italian long hots - they shot this sandwich off the charts and into orbit. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Fantastic sandwich!

 The GUSTAIO: We originally ordered three sandwiches, but I couldn’t get the ingredients of the Gustaio off my mind so I ordered it (just read those ingredients, how could you not order that?). I thought the flavor combinations were perfect – if not for the overly salty sausage, this would have been in contention for my #1 fav (meat = waaaay too salty).

The BOLOGNESE: If you are a true macaroni lover you've probably wondered (at least once) how great it would be if you could package a pasta dinner into a handheld meal. Look no further. This is it, and this is fantastic. I was never a great fan of bolognese sauce, but it's very possible it's because I just never had it as good as this.  The gravy is to die for and even though the "crispy" fried lasagna is not so crispy at all, it doesn't matter. 

An honorable mention goes to Philly's bread. I'd put it up against some NYC breads (I said some because NYC breads are still the best in the world). 

 Note: If you could find a sandwich as good as any one of these in NYC it would be at least 4 to 5 dollars more per sandwich...just sayin'.



















 This is the Paesano...









More Paesano...




Here is a 9 photo sidebar of the 9th street Italian market in Philly...





 Street Fare...




Exotic meats butcher.... 




More street fare...




Claudio's Italian specialties...














Eastern State Penitentiary - you need to do a road trip here around Halloween










Back to the sandwiches...




3 guys workin' all the magic...







The Bolognese...










The Arista...




The Arista before we violated it...




 The Gustaio...




 Back end of the Gustaio...


























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