Every now and then, you stumble into something great totally by accident. That was the case for me today. As I waited in traffic on Harlem in what looked to be an ill fated attempt to make it to Johnny's and back to my office on lunch hour, I was stuck behind a slow moving delivery truck.
I was thinking that I could slide around him to the right and pass him and other traffic making a left hand turn on Harlem. I was wrong as there was nothing but parked cars on the other side of the truck. At this point, I was frustrated, ready to turn around and settle for soup at my desk from the godforsaken deli in my building when the Sign for Riviera Imported and Domestic Foods caught my eye.
I pulled into one of the parking spaces on the side of the building and made my way to the deli counter to inquire about having a sandwich made. The counterman directed me to the bread bins to my left and instructed me to pick a choice among a group of 10-12 inch fat little rustic white italian loaves. Being the patron saint of gluttony, I chose the largest of the group.
Upon delivering my bread to him, I began the mastery of my sandwich.
"Ham, prosciutt, cappicol, salam, mortadell, provolon, lettuce, tomat, oil and vinegar...and some of those fabulous looking red peppers" I commanded in my my most authentic faux suburban Jersey Italian accent being sure to leave off the last vowel of each item for the sake of italian american authenticity. I must have done something right because the other patrons at the counter nodded their heads approvingly at me.
One went so far as to suggest that I 86 the provolone and have the house made bocconcino on the sandwich. Of course, I complied as it was a worthy suggestion.
The resulting sandwich was a spectcular statement of italian americanism that would have made anyone in Jersey City Heights or Bayonne proud.
I have to admit that I could only finish half the sandwich for lunch. But, I look forward to having the other half for dinner when all the flavors of the sandwich will have melded together. The cost of this veritable 2 meal feast to go? Only 4 bucks.
I also loaded up on a quart of frozen marinara and a quart of frozen pasta e fagiole for some undetermined future meal which brought my grand total at the register to 11 bucks and change.
If cheap bountiful sandwiches with an italian flairmade to your specifications are your idea of chow (as they are mine), I heartily recommend Riviera Imported & Domestic Italian Foods at 3220 N. Harlem.
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