This is the same sandwich I get at Le Petitt’s (that’s how it’s spelled, really) a couple times a week—three times if I’m feeling a lack of initiative.
Provolone, no mustard no mayo, lettuce tomato onion peperoncini. I’m forever trying to recreate a sandwich of the past, from the deli next to my father’s Italian tailor, probably from around the time I was eight or nine. The sandwich was dressed with oil and vinegar, as was proper. In those days I would have been eating all manner of Italian meatstuffs, which is almost surely why no sandwich will ever taste as good as those of memory. The countermen spoke Italian and wore a sheen of imported oil on their soft, strong hands. This I know because upon our every visit, they’d shake my father’s hand, then mine. I’d been taught to have a good grip, even at that age, and I could take some pride in showing strength. The closer you were to them the more they smelled like something old and alien, a not-light application of strange cologne and soft, fine wool.
They would have rightly given a vegetarian a rough go of it.
The bread here is more sour, which I enjoy, but they use what they call “balsamic vinegarette,” not a more straight-forward red wine vinegar. A properly dressed sandwich should always be a balance of flavors, such that no single element steps to the fore. It is for this reason that I dislike how balsamic took the market share of vinegar—the fake stuff is sickly sweet, lacking in depth, and missing the sharpness vinegar ought to impart.
But the ladies who work here are wonderful, and a half sandwich is three-fifty, ideal when you want to pretend that you’re saving money, and perfect for those times you cannot stand another lunch at your desk. The radio is tuned to KOIT. Your chances of hearing “The Lady in Red” are pretty good; the Kenny G, you tune out as best you can: a soft-rock roulette, if you will.
The radio station has begun their Christmas programming, so I expect I will not enjoy another simple sandwich until December 27th.