Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

27 October, 2008

Achtung Pizza Extreme, Poppa Coronofoulos, Fraboni's, and the rest of you!

My mom was up here a couple weekends ago and she helped remedy a tragedy. Three days previous I'd ordered an Italian beef from Pizza Extreme. It had been ages since I'd ordered anything from them and, upon gazing at their menu for the first time in years, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had Italian beef available. That sounded good to my Chicago ex-pat palate. Unfortunately, it turned out to be shite.

My mom called a couple days later and said that she'd be coming up to visit – was there anything I wanted her to bring? The first words out of my mouth were "Italian beef" as I had to make up for the travesty that Pizza Extreme sold me. And, man, did I ever.

Mom came armed with about half a gallon of gravy and two or three pounds of beef from Joseph's Finest Meats on Addison near Harlem and this provides me with a good learning opportunity. So listen up Pizza Extreme, Poppa Coronofoulos, Mad Dog's, Fraboni's and the other places around town that serve Italian beef sandwiches that range from mediocre to absolute shit.

Look at the gravy. Here's a close-up for you:

Look at it! There's actually herbs in it! See the rosemary, red pepper flakes, and oregano taking a leisurely swim, imbuing the gravy with their aromatic goodness. You don't dip Italian beef in what you get when you ruin perfectly good water with bouillon cubes; that's how you make soup in prisons.

|| Palmer, 7:12 PM


Thanks for this. In my search for decent Italian beef in Madison, I have concluded what I concluded during my decade in Chicago, when I searched for good barbecue and other viands of my native South: The best place to eat regional food is in its region. That's why I load up on biscuits, fried okra and salt-cured country ham when I go home to Nashville (and try to grab a beef at Johnnie's when I'm in the Windy City).

I thought the beef at King Street's Dog Eat Dog (RIP) was pretty good.
Blogger Kenneth Burns, at 11:31 AM  
In general, I agree with you. But people move around and you can find some gems.

There are a fair number of people here from Chicago so finding a decent Italian beef shouldn't be a Herculean task. If you don't want to make the roast yourself, just buy it from Scala's.

I don't remember the beef at Dog Eat Dog. At the moment, Rosatti's, which I believe is based out of Chicago, probably has the best beef.
Blogger Palmer, at 5:52 AM  

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