This Primanti Bros sando eats like a three-course meal!

So we’re hanging out at Primanti Bros, Pittsburgh’s original gangsta sandwich joint, open since 1933 in the Strip District. This place does one thing, and they do it real well, piling meat, fries and slaw between two pieces of bread, bro! Now, this funky joint is open 24 hours, which means this is my idea of a balanced breakfast:

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What we’ve got is the Roast Beef & Cheese, which is sorta like Pittsburgh’s take on a Philly Cheesesteak. There’s hot, thinly sliced beef, melted provolone, and then a whole pile of fries, coleslaw and some tomatoes on top–y’know, for that one serving of fruit. And this is just half of it…there’s a whole ‘nother side to this sandwich, son!

I can’t say whether I still had room for dessert–they ain’t got no dessert on the menu. But who needs to save room with a sandwich this good? Man, even JuJu Smith-Schuster goes here, bro!!!!

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HELLO CLEVELAND: Little Italy’s Greatest Eats

Happy Hour in Cleveland is very much a thing, and in Little Italy it means they’re dishing out deep discounts on pizza pies and Peroni beers at Maxi’s Ristorante. You could get the same deal on Bud or Miller Lights, but as they say, when in Rome…pound some Peronis, bro!

It’s hard to pick a pizza when they’re all just 10 bucks, but I went with the meatball pie. You’ve got some beef & pork balls thinly sliced on a nice, crisp crust and two kinds of cheese: mozzarella and provolone. Dude, this pizza is 80’s hair-band cheesy, bro! I could hear the Poison power ballads playing in my head while I scarfed it down.

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And while you could probably feed 2-3 people with a pie this size, you know I slammed it all down, son! What can I say–this is body by pizza, bro!

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Speaking of pizza, one night after an Indians game, I headed down the cobblestone streets of Murray Hill to La Pizzeria, this home style neighbourhood joint that does it up right. Only I wasn’t here for pizza, but for one of their real-deal, Italian-style sub sandwiches.

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Now dude, you can’t really get a really good Italian sub in Toronto. There might be some little place tucked in off St. Clair that I’m not aware of, but you can bet your Bautista bobblehead that Pizza Pizza doesn’t do it up like this! What you’ve got is a garlic bread baguette heated in the pizza oven with melted cheese, sliced roast beef, giant mushrooms, onions and peppers. It may not be big Philly style…but last time I checked, the Phillies were watching the playoffs at home, bro!

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When it comes to Italian breakfast, the place to be in Cleveland is Presti’s Bakery. This place has been serving up fresh-baked goodies ahead of a century, and they’ve been overheard on Mayfield since 1943. Man, this place has everything–brownies, gelato, fresh-baked bread… They even make their own pizza and deli sandwiches, so you could probably eat all three meals there. But for breakfast they’re serving up all sorts of egg and cheese croissant sandwiches that take a huge dump all over Dunkin Donuts, dude!

Of course, I got mine with bacon, because bacon makes the world go round. I washed it down with an iced coffee, cuz hey, I hear it’s hot in Cleveland or something…

Top 10 places to eat in the Urban Eatery

(Originally written November 11, 2011)

Having made my way through the massive Urban Eatery, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the places worth revisiting.  Here are what I would consider to be the top 10 stops in the cavernous food court:

10. Mucho Burrito: On a scale from one to 10, I’d give this place 15.  Fifteen inches of extra-large burrito, that is!

9. Szechuan Express: Seemed to be the best of the “pick two/three items” Chinese food stalls.  Then again, I couldn’t remember what I ordered without looking it up–haven’t been there since October 4th!

8. Crêpe de licious: I like how they added the space between de and licious to make it seem French.  That said, they kinda half-assed it.  Shoulda called the place Crêpe dé licieuse if they wanted to go the full nine yards (although the accent aigu kinda ruins the joke…)

7. Fast Fresh Foods: This place makes a mean sandwich.  It’s also the only stall whose UK ownership left a strange, cryptic comment on my review…

6. Liberty Noodle: Probably the best of the stir-fry shops.  And while they supposedly serve sushi, it seems their sushi chef doesn’t start until after lunch.  (I guess the man needs to eat, too!)

5. Villa Madina: For the best shawarma in the Urban Eatery, Villa Madina wins by default.  Which isn’t to say it’s not good–just that it’s the only place that serves shawarma in the Urban Eatery.

4. Aroma Cafe: Funny, I used to live down the street from one of these places, but it took them opening in the Urban Eatery for me to actually go there.  Yeah, I guess I missed out.

3. Big Smoke Burger: I gotta say, it was a real toss-up for the number two spot.  Although Big Smoke lost out, my mouth still wins!

2. Rare: When I die, I hope I end up in a place that offers a wide variety of roast beef sandwiches.  Mind you, there is such a place.  It’s called Alberta, and I left there in 2005… 😉

1. Jimmy the Greek: Though the lamb wasn’t as good the second time around (yes, I’ve already been back!), I will always remember the way it tasted the first time.  Love at first bite…

So there you go.  If you don’t plan on visiting all 27 stalls at the Urban Eatery, try to check out these ones, at least.

UPDATE: Rare has since shut down, and been replaced by a Tim Hortons. Aaaaand that’s why I don’t eat at the Urban Eatery anymore!