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italian hero
Photo: Jeffrey Tastes on Flickr

How many times have you ordered a sandwich only to be disappointed with drab meat occupying the prime real estate between two pieces of bread? Too many to count, we imagine. There are sandwiches out there that make us question humanity’s passion for lunch. And there is the Italian hero.

My brother deserves a shout-out here. The plaid-wearing, beard-growing, frisbee-chucking, permaculture-certified CU Boulder hippie shuns most meat (grass-fed and unprocessed is fine, as is sustainable or wild fish), composts veggie scraps and hasn’t eaten high fructose corn syrup in years. Yet his favorite sandwich, without hesitation, is the Italian sub. Preferably one from a New York deli, which, having migrated westward and sprouted greens in his Birkenstocks, he still knows makes the best ones. Dedication to a truly awesome sandwich sometimes means compromising your morals. Go forth, little brother, and feast.

So what is decidedly un-hippie about this sub? Processed meats. The best, tastiest kinds. No bologna. The Italian sub contains generous layers of Genoa salami, soppressata, mortadella, capicola, and provolone, topped with roasted red pepper strips, sliced tomato and shredded iceburg lettuce, and finished with a heavy-handed squirt of oil, vinegar and oregano. It’s chewy, meaty, tangy and slightly spicy, and my favorite non-conformist really loves it.