A Taste of Italy is not just an Italian grocery and deli, offering a variety of deli meats and cheeses, Graziano's sausage, spices, pastas, sauces, breads, and more. Its like a happy marriage of Graziano Brothers and a neighborhood sandwich shop, and the progeny of such a union is devoted to the sandwich craft that places like B&B and Manhattan Deli excel at, but using the quality meats and cheeses that Graziano’s sells. For over 18 years A Taste of Italy has been doing just that, and I could slap myself silly that it took so long for me to visit this gem.
On a late Friday afternoon visit, intent on ordering either a Grinder or Italian Beef, I was disheartened to find they were out of hoagie rolls. No matter I settled for a simple, but epic mortadella, capicola, and hot cheese sandwich with lettuce, red onion, tomato, and a squirt of mustard. Though not a hoagie roll, the bun was firm enough to hold everything in place, but with just enough squash to cradle the substantial fillings.
On my return I was finally able to sink my teeth into their Italian Grinder. And what a sandwich it was! Chunky sausage swimming in a zesty sauce, delightfully toasted with signficiant browning on the roll and gooey melted mozzorella, and no shortage of hot and sweet peppers. Its now my favorite grinder when its not Fair-time at the Iowa State Fairgrounds [see blog post].
Further visits to A Taste of Italy offered more sandwich delights. The Chicago-Style Italian Beef offers über tender beef with a flavorful jus on the side. The jus in which the beef resides is delicious beyond belief. You betcha I dipped, and downed the remainder!
"I'm Johnny Knoxville and welcome to [The] Jacka***!" Though not named in homage to Knoxville and his cohorts' questionable advantures, The Jack*** (as listed on the menu) provides a proper platform to enjoy both thin-sliced mortadella and aged provolone, toasted on marble rye. This is not is the lunch box bologna and cheese sandwich you grew up with, but a fully mature expression of the comfort food classic.