Most cities have developed some form of sandwich for which they are known. I think I’ve had a great signature sandwich everywhere I’ve been. Smoked meat in Montreal, a muffaletta in New Orleans, the cheesesteak in Philly. Getting back to Pittsburgh last week gave me a chance to reunite with a steel city favourite of mine – the Primanti Brothers sandwich. I couldn’t imagine a trip to Pittsburgh without stopping for at least one of these.
What makes it so special? I think the sign says it best:
Every Primanti Bros. sandwich comes with your choice of meat and cheese filling on wonderfully fresh Italian bread. To me, that sounds like a decent sandwich in and of itself. But what makes them special is that they are stacked with coleslaw and fries inside the sandwich. An entire meal stuffed inside two slices of bread. Without too much hesitation, I ordered the Primanti cheesesteak and a Yuengling lager and in short order, this showed up in front of me:
Have you ever seen something so beautiful? The first thing you think is, “How am I supposed to eat this”. The sandwich has no structural integrity, so I reach for a stack of napkins, take a deep breath, loosen up my jaw and take my best bite. Meat, cheese, tomato, the perfectly fried home-cut fries and tart vinegar coleslaw combine perfectly. First bite and I’m in my happy place. I realize I can’t put down the first half of the sandwich or it will fall apart, so I just keep eating. At half time of this meal, I snap another picture, all the better to see the inside of the sandwich.
Truth be told, this sandwich was so good that I made it back here one more time for another (that one a roast beef and cheese) before I left town. It was as good as I remembered and stacks up well against any city’s signature sandwich that I’ve had.