Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Dish: Italian Hero

Just the mention of an Italian hero, hoagie, saaaaandwich, grinder or whatever else you want to call it will make most men drool. It is one of those classics that is always popular because of the combination of different Italian meats and cheeses, great bread, and toppings ranging from hot peppers to just simply oil and vinegar. Heck, next to the meatball, the Italian Combo is probably one of the more popular choices at Subway and can almost always be found at any deli or sandwich shop. While I still occasionally dream of the Italian special at the "cheese shop" (R.I.P) near my high school, the best hero of recent memory was at Mama's of Corona Queens. Mama's is actually sold at Shea Stadium in the lower levels, but once you've had it from the source there is no going back. Mama's is also known as "Leo's Latticini"and it has three components, an old world Italian deli, a bakery (where they make their hero rolls) and a pasta shop.

I was lucky enough to take a little trip out to Corona for lunch on a cold Friday afternoon and must admit I was a bit intimidated by the store. Usually there is a board, or some listing of what you can order, but Mama's simply has rows of meats and cheeses and lots of people speaking Italian. I decided to do as the two Italian men in front of me did, and just order the special, which on this day happened to be just what I wanted. Besides the perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside hero roll, the hero came with thick cut fresh homemade mozzarella. The meat was a nice combo of salami and a peppered ham (I could be wrong, I don't speak Italian). After this the required oil and vinegar, plus the option to add roasted red peppers and marinated mushrooms, which I of course said yes to, combined to make for the types of bites of a hero that make your mouth tingle and your stomach happy. The subs are huge, packed with meat, and with a 20 ounce soda were only $8.50. Plus, they let you take your food next door to the bakery and cafe and sit and eat without having to order anything.

Sometimes Italian heroes have 4 types of meats, 3 cheeses, and a million different toppings, but Mama's proves sometimes less is more. Is Mama's the best in NY? I like to think it's up there, but sadly I don't know too many old Italian places (of which I know there are many) in the city. Hopefully I will find more soon.

Get to know your Mama

1 comment:

The Fitness Diva said...

Yum! That got my mouth watering!
I will have to check out those heros at Mama's. Corona is not that far from me. At 8.50 with the soda, that's a great deal! I LOVE a good hero!