It’s been two weeks since my last post. There are many reasons I could give for my lack of communication. Sure I have two full-time jobs, sure I am working on a huge stack of paperwork for building inspectors and health code, sure I have had some social commitments (LoTR extended cut is being played in the theater this month). The truth is I haven’t been inspired by anything I’ve eaten recently.
It happens frequently. When we’re in a hurry we don’t want to have to think about what to eat so we fall back on the same old standbys. The last two weeks have been filled with Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwiches, canned soup and TastyBite Indian lunches. At some point last week, feeling bloaty and unsatisfied I was dreading lunch as I ran to the bank for a quick transaction. Hoping for something different I saw a new sandwich shop. What the hell, why not?
Dibella’s Old Fashioned Submarines www.dibellas.com
This place is packed. Is it because the greater Cleveland area is also feeling bored with the same ole’ same ole’? Is it really just that good? I was determined to find out. The long wall is lined with smiling ladies happy to take your order as you walk up with a large menu bord towering over us all like a protective tent shielding us from hunger. A few classic sub sandwiches as well as some specialties. This seems simple enough…
I approached with caution, “Chicken Philly please?” I was then asked a series of delicious questions where the only logical answers were “yes please!” Yes I would like that grilled, and of course grilled veggies, and yes mushrooms and banana peppers would be delightful. Just to be contrary (and because many chicken philly sandwiches I have encountered in the past had enough grease) I declined sauces offered. Finally she asked what size I wanted and pointed to the 4 types of bread and three sizes available. That’s what made this the moment I was looking for.
Now I enjoy a good chicken philly, but this, this new twist, this beacon in the fog of the last two weeks, the bread. Bread can make or break a sandwich but most is unnoticed and ignored. Today’s bread would not be ignored, today’s bread would stand up and be my muse that would bring me back from a writing slump. Yes, today’s philly would be served on everything bread. Bread made with a good crust and topped with the same mix that is found on an everything (mish mosh) bagel. The top of this sandwich would be crusted in large grain salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and onion – basically all that is right with the world would top my sandwich!
There is an awkward line for the register where you pay and decline offers to make a combo meal. I had ordered the small sandwich which was 8 inches long and 4 inches wide, no need for sides here but if you are so inclined there are chips and macaroni or potato salad choices etc. My number is called and I am handed a sack the size, shape and heft of a new-born. The price for this bounty? Under $6.
Racing back to the office, I protect my prize as if it were in fact a new-born. Smelling the toasty seeds of the bread, hot chicken, melty provolone and the sour notes of the banana peppers taunting me from the passenger seat. There are only two lights between DiBella’s and my office yet this journey seems a lifetime.
Finally I am back in my office prepared with a stack of napkins, I pause to gaze at my sub for a moment, just taking it in. This thing is HUGE – no jumbo size or chips needed I debate if I only even need half. The first bite is better than imagined. The crusty bread and seeds are a delightful contrast to the soft, chewy, melty chicken and soft veggies. The onions and bell peppers are sweet, mushrooms are meaty and the banana peppers are sour and bright. There is a surprising lack of grease but the veggies and cheese provide plenty of natural moisture. I’m not proud or shy. I’ll admit that the second half did not stay wrapped long. It was too good to leave there, alone, melty and crusty.
Completely stuffed I decided that this meal was finally worth your attention dear reader. The need to find something worthy of your time builds as more of you join me. The last post about my humble local Chinese take-out place drew over 120 of you in. Please consider this offering of unexpected joy my thank you.
Until we eat again,