Category Archives: Miriam Rubin

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh

I stand by the spaghetti sub. Or lie down, more likely.

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Read it on the Pittsburgh  Post-Gazette site here.

By Miriam Rubin

Call it a sub, hero, grinder, wedge (said to be from Yonkers, N.Y.), hoagie (generally from Philadelphia), torpedo, Zeppelin or Zep (from Norristown), spuckie (East Boston, referring to the bread, spuccadella), bomber (from around Buffalo, N.Y.) or Garibaldi (southern Wisconsin), or by any name, you’ve got an Italian sandwich.

Built on a long, narrow loaf of bread, the sandwich is filled with a mix of cheeses and Italian meats, and often lettuce, tomato, some type of pickled pepper or relish, a drizzle of oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. According to “The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America” the sub and its regional variations evolved from “an Italian fieldworker lunch” of hard bread, sausage and cheese. Folding it all up into a long piece of bread made it portable and easier to eat.

Sometime subs, filled with cold cuts, are warmed up and sometimes subs are even served hot, loaded with meatballs and sauce, or chicken or eggplant Parmesan.

Lisa Cherkasky, a Washington, D.C.-based cookbook author, food stylist and great cook who blogs about sandwiches in “The Lunch Encounter,” said she learned of a curious concoction dubbed the Spa Sub, filled with spaghetti and meatballs, on a trip to West Virginia but didn’t sample it.

For creating a great sub, she said, bread is key. Soft crust or hard crust is regional and personal, but the bread has to be of good quality.

Sprinkle the bread liberally with good olive oil and vinegar after cutting it open. “Then the bread has that vinegar thing going for it, and that helps a lot, even if it’s not stellar bread,” Ms. Cherkasky said. She’s no fan of Italian dressing “unless it’s homemade. Maybe an Italian garlic mayo,” she offered.

“There’s a rhythm to building the sub. It shouldn’t be hard to construct or fussy,” she added. The trick is to hinge open the bread, leaving it closed at one long side. Lay the meat and cheese across the middle and place chopped lettuce in the center, along with tomatoes if you want, “but not lousy tomatoes.” Spice it up with red pepper flakes or a bitey red pepper relish. “Then fold it up. That way everything stays in the bread and you get something in every bite, too,” she said.

Ms. Cherkasky said a sub requires a lot of filling. “I like a mix of meat and cheese, salami, cappicola — some people add ham — and provolone or fresh mozzarella. That’s delicious,” she said.

Condiments make the sub sandwich sing. “There’s the mayo camp and the mustard camp,” she said. “I’m in both, even though mustard isn’t customary on a sub.”

Subs have regional variations and quirks that can be, well, unusual. Primanti Bros. is featuring two new Lenten subs, Heaven Sent and Hell Bent. Ms. Cherkasky mentioned a sub called the Broccoli Classic. Made at No. 7 Subs in the Ace Hotel in New York City and Brooklyn, it’s featured in chef Tyler Cord’s cookbook, “A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches.” He writes that he’s been devouring broccoli and mashed potato sandwiches since he was a kid. His Classic combines roasted broccoli, mayo, pine nuts, fried shallots, ricotta salata and a spicy lychee relish.

And then there’s that spaghetti sub. “You have leftover spaghetti, you have bread,” Ms. Cherkasky said. “Put some cheese on the bread, put in the spaghetti, wrap the whole thing in foil, push it together and heat it up in the oven so the bread’s toasty. It would be good. My kid would eat that in a second. Yum.”

Miriam Rubin: or on Twitter @mmmrubin.

Super Submarine Sandwich With Olive-Pepper Relish

PG tested

This sandwich improves as it chills out in the fridge. The olive-pepper relish soaks into the bread and all the flavors blend together. Switch up the meats if you like but make sure they are thinly sliced, and not shaved.

Olive-pepper relish

1 cup pitted, drained Kalamata olives

3/4 cup sliced, drained, hot pickled banana peppers

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


1 loaf ciabatta bread

6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

6 ounces thinly sliced hot or mild sopressata

6 ounces thinly sliced capicola, ham or mortadella

4 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami

8 ounces sliced mild provolone cheese

6 small tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/3 cup red onion slices

For the relish: Add all ingredients in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the sub: Slice the bread in half horizontally. Pull out the extra soft bread inside the top half of loaf; save for breadcrumbs.

On the bottom half of bread, spread half the olive relish. Layer with meats, provolone, tomatoes and red onions; season with salt and pepper and spoon the remaining olive relish on top. Place other piece of bread over the sandwich and press down lightly. Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, slice the sandwich into 2-to-3-inch pieces crosswise. Any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

— Miriam Rubin

Broccoli Classic

It’s featured in Tyler Cord’s “A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches.” He writes: “This one could be hot or cold — it just depends on your confidence level and attitude. If you want it to be hot, I suggest having everything ready so that when you finish cooking the broccoli, you’re ready to make a sandwich.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

4 sub rolls, split lengthwise

2 heads roasted broccoli (trim the broccoli, peel tender stems, toss with oil and salt and roast at 400 degrees until caramelized and tender)

1 cup lychee muchim (recipe follows), mostly drained of its juice

1 cup shredded ricotta salata cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/4 cup fried shallots (recipe follows)

Spread mayo on the rolls and top with the roasted broccoli and lychee muchim. Press it all down a little with your hand to make a nice flat base for the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle cheese, pine nuts and shallots, and close the sandwich.

Makes 4 servings.

Lychee Muchim

This makes 1 cup of marinade, good for brining about 2 cups of anything. Muchim in Korean means mixed or seasoned but is generally employed to describe a Korean cucumber salad called “oi muchim.” Mr. Cord writes.

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

Few drops sesame oil

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons red chili flakes (or less, to taste)

1 cup white vinegar

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 (20-ounce) can lychees in syrup, drained and halved

Stir together garlic, ginger, shallot, sesame oil, sugar, chili flakes, vinegar, scallions and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add the lychees and soak for at least 1 hour. Keeps, refrigerated, for up to a couple of weeks.

Fried Shallots

Vegetable oil for frying

4 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Kosher salt

Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy medium saucepan until a shallot ring sizzles when dropped in.

Toss shallots in cornstarch, separating the rings. Add to the oil in batches and fry until crisp and blonde. Drain on paper towels.

Heat same oil to about 325 degrees. Fry shallots a second time, until puffed, caramelized and just light brown. Drain again on new paper towels and season with salt.

— Adapted from “A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches” by Tyler Cord, (Clarkson Pottter; June 2016)


Pecking Order

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Pecking Order

The heart of Pecking Order, as announced a while back, is chicken marinated in Subido’s mom’s marinade (including soy sauce, sugar, garlic and vinegar), which you can order grilled, roasted or fried. Sides will include “Saucy Tots” which she describes as “a Filipino poutine” with tomato gravy over housemade tater tots, garlic rice, adobo-stuffed rice puffs, or housemade (by Mama Subido) pickles.”  YES PLEASE.

To that signature lineup she’s now added a selection of sandwiches on pandesal bread, the primary bread of the Philippines, similar to Mexican bolillo rolls, with fillings such as chicken, housemade pate, pickles and fried egg. And she’s planning salads with brightly-flavored ingredients like mango, jicama, and calamansi (a Filipino citrus) dressing. There will be Halo Halo, the traditional fresh fruit and shaved ice dessert. Read on here UH HUH.

Though the store is closing, the Pecking Order brand will now focus more on catering, pop-up dinners, special events and farmer’s markets, including the Low-Line Market outside the Southport Brown Line station every Thursday, and The Nosh, a lunch market Downtown every Thursday and Friday, where Pecking Order will appear every other Thursday. Read more here. OH NO.


Stuff like this:

Man vs. Food Host’s New Show on Hold After He Called Woman a “C**t”

Adam Richman, a man who eats sandwiches professionally, was scheduled to eat some other things professionally today as part of a new show called Man Finds Food. That’s no longer going to happen, because the Man vs. Food host started an Instagram flame war that culminated in his calling a woman a “c**t.” » 7/02/14 10:12am



55. Elvis                                   26. Veal parm
54. Fat Darrell                        25. Fried chicken
53. St. Paul sandwich           24. Lampredotto
52. Chow mein sandwich     23. Primanti Bros.
51. Tuna salad                        22. The Gatsby
50. Roast beef                        21. Caprese
49. Fluffernutter                   20. Bacon, egg & cheese
48. Italian beef                      19. Oyster po’ boy
47. Eggplant parm                18. Ice cream
46. Beef on weck                   17. Peanut butter & jelly
45. Horseshoe                       16. Cuban
44. Tuna melt                       15. Shrimp po’ boy
43. Cheese                             14. Club
42. Hot Brown                      13. Pulled pork
41. Sloppy Joe                       12. Kokoreç
40. Chip butty                       11. The Dennis
39. Chicken salad                 10. Cheesesteak
38. Ham                                  9. Chicken parm
37. Croque-monsieur           8. BLT
36. Croque-madame             7. Bánh mi
35. Turkey                               6. Muffaletta
34. French Dip                       5. Pilgrim
33. Corned beef                      4. Porchetta
32. Steak                                  3. Lobster roll
31. Patty melt                          2. Grilled cheese
30. Pastrami                            1. Italian hoagie
29. Reuben
28. Egg salad
27. Bologna



Fried Brain, Mother-in-Law, New Jersey Sloppy Joe, Felafel, Meatball, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, Grouper Dog, Peanut Butter and Banana, Gyro, Pork Roll, Spiedies, Tomato Sandwich and Souvlaki


My Pecking Order

1. Reuben, Hot Brown, French Dip, Cuban, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, New Jersey Sloppy Joe, Cheesesteak, Banh Mi, Italian Hoagie, Beef on Weck, Fried Perch, Grilled Cheese, BLT, Corned Beef with Cole Slaw and Russian Dressing, Primanti Bros, The Gatsby, Meatball, Egg Salad, Croque Monsieur and Madame, Porchetta, Lobster Roll, Muffaletta and Poor Boy.

2. Everything else.

Fall In

Thanks to the Sublime Miss M for the aLeRt!



In a State

Please put me in a state of statelyness. And leave me there.

. characterized by a graceful, dignified, and imposing appearance or manner

Stately Sandwiches

Thanks much to Laura Cooke and the Sublime Miss M who are sandwich ephemera conduits. My antennae are always up, the knobs are always being twiddled, and I’m ready to receive from on-high, down-low and all territory in between.

Seek No Further

Creamy yellow, firm, medium-grained, crisp flesh rich, complex and distinct flavor. Fruit medium size, uniform. Skin is a beautiful, smooth deep yellow or greenish base, shaded red. Flourishes in well-drained, gravelly or loamy soil.

Does that not define perfection? As in, perfection does not exist. As in, perfection is all around us. You choose.

I choose to seek no further. As in, the Dalai Lama says that expectations cause all of the unhappiness in the world. All. Did I hear that right? Did I repeat it right? Probably not. You can expect that here at the Lunch Encounter. I will pontificate inaccurately.

That said, human beings will always search, and always seek, and most probably they will have notions about what is ahead. Notions that will – I promise you and the Dalai Lama does too – be dashed. So keep your notions in check, but keep up the searching and seeking.

Here we go, seeking further. I’m in. And I expect to be not disappointed.

Adam Richman has eaten more than his share of great-tasting but not-so-great-for-you “big foods” over four seasons of the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food,” much of it in the form of sandwiches. So when the series was starting to wrap, and its Brooklyn-born host was tussling with “what next?” it wasn’t that much of a leap him for him to focus his food lens on what America likes to stuff inside two pieces of bread.

Who doesn’t love a really great sandwich — and who isn’t absolutely certain that their city has the best the country has to offer?

For Pittsburghers, that’d be Primanti’s signature Cap & Egg, a wondrous if gut-busting amalgamation of capicola, egg, coleslaw and hand-cut French fries piled between two slices of crusty Italian bread.

Read more.

The Sublime Miss M knows her way around the triumphs and disappointments of partnering with Mother Nature. Thanks to her for sending me this story and sending my mind off seeking, seeking, seeking.

A Triumph Over Death

is the egg.

By Miriam Rubin

At sundown on Friday, April 6, Passover will begin as Jews all over the world gather around dining tables. They’ll light festival candles. They’ll read ancient prayers and passages from the Haggadah. They’ll sit at tables set with gleaming silver, pressed linens, Grandmother’s china, or maybe just a hodgepodge of plates. Each place will have a wine glass, because drinking wine or grape juice is an essential element of the ceremony. Read on here.

And for all of us, celebrating Passover or not, the surging renewal of spring is upon us and the egg is triumphant.


Supposably Orientated Towards the Heroizing of Manliestness

Someone used the word “heroizing” on me this week. Twice. This would not get by a  sharp-eyed gardener (watch her pluck those cabbage worms), editor (lay? lie? laid? she’s on it), writer (need proof? look here), or eclipper like The Sublime Miss M.

She spots it for me, sandwich stuff, fascinating odd bits that I follow down the electronic sidewalk, nose aquiver (speaking of words that look made up).

Heroizing does, however, seem mighty applicable. I’ll give you that. Take, for example, the

Macho, Macho Sandwich

Macho, macho sandwich: Primanti Bros. named ‘manliest’ in U.S.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

By China Millman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Primanti Bros. has beaten out 8 other regional finalists for the title of the “Manliest Restaurant in America,” awarded by Men’s Health magazine and featured in the December issue on newsstands now.

On Nov. 30, the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” will feature the contest and explore what makes Primanti Bros. and the other regional finalists so “guy-friendly.”

And, I ask you, where are you gonna go with your manwich? Where can you simply bask in your bad heroizing selfness? Look no further.  The Manshed

Back to School

In the kitchen baking, sunny Saturday morning, all happy cuz it’s the weekend and the rain has stopped. IPod on shuffle, super danceable song comes on. “Oooooh,” I think, “this is pretty good,” shimmying to the dock to check it out. POKEMON SOUNDTRACK?!?! Hahahahahaha.

Danced my way to lots and lots of chocolate chippers for his lunch box. Sandwich fillings? That’s a whole nother problem.

A bacon butty would do. Fix his wagon. Daily. In the best possible way. It’s there, in bold, page 14 of the manual on him. My conscience screams noooo.  Nothing to stick the bacon to the bread? No butter mortar? Also, there is the small issue of him eating bacon daily.

Oh go on, my conscience relents. Remember last year when the powers that be, that eternity ago, told you, in no uncertain terms, that his wheels would fall off en route to middle school? Remember that? There he goes, daily, wheels gaining purchase.  Bacon grease lubes his mental motor. Pack that boy a bacon butty.

Around here parents urge, “Choose a healthy snack, honey,” and that kind of gags me, too. Do we have to have camps, teams, chasms? When did cookies and bacon become unhealthy? Not to mention – here goes – butter.

The word healthy has been scraped into to my verbal compost bin, on top of the decomposing  low-fat and natural. We will drag those poor tired words out in 20 years for the 2011 theme party. Meanwhile, scanning the horizons for fresher choices. Here’s a good one: FOOD! “Choose a food snack, honey.”

The Sublime Miss M is thinking of the lunch box, too, rolling with the seasons. BLT’s revolving out, PB&J revolving in. She sent along the news from Blackberry Farm, a place that rests at the end of the rainbow, a place where perfect is the friend of good, a place where peanut butter and jelly have been hushed, a place where imperfect is the timeless perfect.

At the Blackberry Farm of my mind, a person may travel by their choice of locomotion to the lunch table. Dancing legs, wagon wheels, sublime rolling. Come on for a bacon butty. Peanut butter mortar.

Blackberry Farm