Subs and Stuff One-Bite Reviews - Click a Sub to See the Rating

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Coolidge Market - Lower Allston

The Décor
The Main Attraction

Emblematic of the neighborhood itself, Coolidge Market in Lower Allston is little known, tough to get to, stuck in time, and cheap. I tried five times to pick up a sub here on the weekend, but each time it was closed.  In hindsight, one or two times it may have been open but the dearth of lights, signage, and other evidence of commercial activity in this residential neighborhood threw me off the scent. On my most recent visit, I had the good fortune of seeing a woman peering through the window who stood up slowly as I approached the store.

Upon entering, she scurried behind the counter. In the store itself, you will find mostly empty shelves with sparsely occupied by miscellaneous household supplies. To the right, you will find some fine, eclectic decoration, and to the left, the lady of the house stands in front of the menu, a cooler, and an entrance to a larger, seemingly residential kitchen. 

The Ambiance
The menu is simple; she takes your order in her delightful accent, and then gets to work. This woman, you might ask, is Alexandra Pappas--la properietaria di casa, although, with her last name, now I wonder if she is Italian at all.  Watch the review of Ms. Pappas' masterpiece below:

The Italian sub with everything is prepared completely to order. The whole tomatoes and head of lettuce are sliced by hand with a steak knife. The hots, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar each come in clear, unlabeled, glass bottles. The bread is a standard, Piantedosi loaf. Into the roll dressed with oil and vinegar, she layers a healthy heaping of salami, mortadella, and Italian ham on top of provolone cheese with more of a bite than standard delis. Then, she takes the sub into the back kitchen where she loads it into a commercial oven. I got nervous here. The toasted Italian is a horse of a different color. A sandwich featured in corporate, hell-hole shops like Subway or eaten by maniac, talking rodents who love the subs. 

They love the subs too.
However, Alexandra only toasts the sub for mere minutes, which rendered the ordinary roll crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The touch of heat brought new oils and flavors out of the what very well may be grocery store deli meats considering the sub was served in a major supermarket chain’s plastic bag. The star of the show is the ethereal liquid born out of the mixture of mystery oil, vinegar, and hots. At $5, the sub punches well above it’s weight considering its size, flavor, and quality. Like the neighborhood itself, you must prepare yourself for a unique, disconcerting experience obtaining the sub, but once you do, you will be pleasantly satisfied. Heres to hoping Harvard doesn’t buy this gem of lower Allston just to polish it up and triple the price.

Coolidge Market
30 Coolidge Rd.
Boston, MA 02134
8.8/10 on the Italian Sub Scale

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cafe Rustico - Bullfinch Triangle

While the average button-down-bro stumbling out of West End Johnnies might tell you he is standing in "North End, the grid of streets home to the Garden pre-game bars (R.I.P. North Star) and methadone clinics is truly known as the Bullfinch Triangle. Certainly not the North End, perhaps the only thing it has in common with the Italian (read rich, white young professional) enclave to its west is the one Italian, take-out spot, Café Rustico. 

Next to Mulligan's, another reputable sandwich shop, Cafe Rustico was the only show in town (read one tiny neighborhood that is rarely recognized) for a wide variety of well made Italian specialties. Unfortunately, Jimmy Johns opened down the street, which shouldn't have-- but likely has--loosened the stranglehold Cafe Rustico rightfully had on the Italian specialty sandwich market in the Triangle. 

Due to the size of the shop, the menu is visible front the street, and regardless of the number of choices I set my eyes on the Italiano. At 7.95 the price is fair for a lunch spot in or around downtown.

Peep the video below for the one-bite review 

To protect the contents of the sub, the first thing you will see is a slice of tin foil wrinkled into the sub itself. Upon removal, you will find a heavy dose of pickles and pickled peppers on top of mixed greens and red onions.

An all star line up of mortadella, hot capicola, genoa salami, and provolone are sliced and and layered within a soft but chewy roll. The meats and cheeses are a great combination and good quality. They are not mind blowing cuts, but nonetheless, they are overwhelmed by the standard, deli pickles. The heavy, stock, dill flavor is missing the heat, spice, and savory bite of a home made pickle and hot relish. However, the unsung hero in this sub is the red wine, Italian vinaigrette which makes up where the pickles and hots left off.

Beyond the Italiano, which is a good value for a fair to good sub in an oft-forgotten neighborhood for lunch, Cafe Rustico comes thru at the break of dawn with an excellent selection of breakfast sandwiches and perhaps the only all natural oatmeal buffet in Boston at only $2.95.

Cafe Rustico
85 Canal St.
Boston, MA 02144
7.3 out of 10 on the Italian Sub Scale

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Casa Guedes - Porto, Portugal

Sande de Pernil

Come for the wine, stay for the pig.  Porto, perhaps better known for the sweet wine bearing its name, the city keeps it real with some sandes de pernil, Porto pulled pork sandwiches, that you can find in snack bars across town. Like most snack bars, you will find a simple overhang sharing the logo of its beer on tap and likely the name of the owner. At Casa Guedes, a man named Senhor Cesar, the owner of this fine establishment, pulls pieces of pork from a freshly roasted hog, covers them in a mixture of their own juices and secret ingredients, and then stuffs the pork and a proportionate piece of queijo serra de estrela into a crusty roll.

Served on a simple white plate, the combination is an incredible mixture of succulent, savory pork with a gooey, tangy, sheep's milk cheese held together by the crust of the local roll that absorbs that good good.  An ice cold, Super Bock washes it down perfectly so that you can order a few more to start your afternoon right. 
Casa Guedes
There is not much space between the tiled-walls in this joint unchanged since the 70s, but for under €5, you can enjoy one of the finest lunches Oporto has to offer.

Casa Guedes
Praça dos Poveiros 130
Porto, Portugal
9.4 out of 10 on the Pulled Pork Scale

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bó de B - Barcelona, Spain

Més que un sándwich? At Bó de B, Petey Pablo and Pantz Branz made a pitstop on their aventura apasionada to try one of Barcelona's most popular sandwich shops. With a wide variety of cheap, delicious choices, the line out of the door stays packed, but these two gringos slithered their way to the front. Petey Pablo keeps it real and represents the history of Subs and Stuff and the Stars and Stripes, choosing a hamburger sub.

Peep the one bite review below to see how Barça does Burgers (on a sub).

Through the crusty roll, you will find a colorful mixture of red onions, beef, and cheese all con sabor español. It lacks the essential juice of an American burger but often does the hamburger sub as it forgoes the quality of a hand-held, handmade patty for expedience and length. In Spain, however, the other spices fill in for that all American beef, but it seems the scenery of cruise ships and yachts outside of the Reial Club Náutic de Barcelona added that little bit extra to elevate the sub into the 8 point range.

Bó de B
Carrer de la Fusteria, 14, 08002
Barcelona, Spain
8.2/10 on the Hamburger Sub Scale

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dunkin' Donuts Cold Brew - Worcester, MA

Before a long, hot day of eating deli meat, a veteran sub savage needs a refreshing pep in his step first thing in the morning. Surfing the hipster wave, Dunkies started offering a cold brew all Summer 16, and it continues to this day. Tune in to the ice-cold, refreshing One-Sip Review below filmed in 2016 which was only recently harvested from the archives.

The Cold Brew is smooth, delicious, and refreshing. In fact, it does not require any milk or sugar, but of course, add to your preference. The Cold Brew will run you about $0.50 more than the run of the mill iced coffee, and depending on your preference, it may be worth the extra Kennedy half dollar. Either way, with the classics, cold brew, and new Monster x Dunkin' Energy Punch, Dunkies is expanding its offerings to meet the morning needs of ordinary joes, hipsters, and people interested in simultaneously increasing their risk of cardiac arrest and diabetes alike.

Multiple Locations

9.3/10 on the Cold-Brew Coffee Scale

Monday, March 20, 2017

Suckin Sauce at Sugarfire Smokehouse - Valley Park, St. Louis County, MO

Although we can't be sure Edgar from Men in Black did not come up with the name for this restaurant, Sugarfire hits the spot for sure maybe even just as hard as Beatrice's sugar water. Perhaps a little more relevant, Snoop Dogg himself showed love to Sugarfire's "Bacon Blunts" last spring while multiple news outlets named the restaurant Best of St. Louis Barbecue in 2016, 2014, and 2013 (it came in second in 2015).
The Order du Jour and an Orphan Sandwich
Sugarfire literally opened its doors to Subs and Stuff Boston (we arrived before it opened), and then catered to the Big Poppa Provolone with the Baby Daddy Pladdy advertised front and center to sample Sugarfire's succulent selections-suffering succotash (not available in stores). Check out the one-bite review below featuring New York contributor Petey Pablo.

Beside brisket, baby-back ribs, and bulled bork, mac-n-cheese and baked beans shined with a variety of homemade sauces interspersed. An overwhelming amount of Arnie Palmie half and half towered over the meal while six slices of briney, garlicky pickles provided a refreshing sour interruption of the sweet, spicy and savory platter. The wet nap adorned with the red, white and blue stars and stripes not only reminded me to clean my hands but also that this small St. Louis County City once targeted immigrants and those who abetted illegal immigration.

Whether "illegal" alien or the kind from the 1997 smash, summer blockbuster starring Vincent D'Onofrio, everyone should have no trouble devouring Sugarfire with the quality of barbecue they are cranking out.

932 Meramec Station Road
Vally Park, MO 63088

9.1/10 on the BBQ Scale

Friday, December 2, 2016

Spalla's Chicago Italian Beef - Natick, MA

This site began as a quest for the best Italian Sub in Boston. Finding the best Chicago Italian Beef outside of Boston technically may not be the mission, but finding people making and selling authentic, creative, quality sandwiches is the mission wherever they may be.

Located inside of Culinary Delights, an upscale, European grocery store, Spalla's may seem a bit out of place, but there is no better way to have an Italian Beef with a Russian pear soda in the Commonwealth.

Check out the Bonez Man slurping hot beef in Natick by clicking on the video.

The hot giardiniera is the best part of this sandwich without a doubt. It's the best part of the Italian cold cut subs as well in Chicago - shout out to Graziano's. The beef is mild in flavor, and the dip is beefy yet mild as well. The sub is stacked well with meat and giardiniera. The cheese melts well in the sandwich, but the temperature was off in the sub even though it was freshly served. Perhaps, I am no expert on the Chicago Italian Beef -- it was better than my first experience at Portillos where they make you wait an hour to stare at old shit on the walls -- but give me an Italian cold cut sub every day of the week over a Chicago Italian Beef. Salami and prosciutto are not only more delicious, but you might just save the world eating them. What up Leo? 

It seem Spalla's is taking the Jefferson's route and moving on up out of the European Grocer, so stay tuned to where they land in 2017.

229 North Main Street
Natick, MA
8.0/10 on the Italian Beef Scale