Friday, May 22, 2009

Pal Joey's, Sewell

Most places claim to have some meibutsu, ne? And they're usually pretty boring. How many times have you eaten famous local soba? Nihonshu? Akafuku? Need I continue? Philadelphia is a lucky, lucky city for the simple reason that it has too famous foods and both of them kick ass. While we have still not made good on all aspects of our rockin-lobster-cheesesteak pledge, the unspoken hoagie covenant has now been enforced.

I would like to think that everyone knows what a hoagie is, but for our readers in Botswana, it's a torpedo roll with a lotta Italian deli meat and cheese and vegetables stuffed in. Actually that's inaccurate, because there aren't really vegetables - just shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion, and maybe some other bits for a spike of variety (I like peppers, either hot or sweet. I also prefer mayo to oil, but you may not want to admit that to your favorite deli manager). This is not a sub. It's not a grinder. All of those are inferior to hoagies. And as far as I can remember, every hoagie I've had is inferior to the least item from Pal Joey's menu.

I've never been clear on the full meaning of the name. Clearly it's a reference to the Sinatra movie that I haven't seen (but how many Sinatra movies have you seen? I've only seen From Here to Eternity, and part of The Manchurian Candidate (young Angela Lansbury gives me the creeps after watching too many episodes of Murder, She Wrote). Not even Cannonball Run II.) since there's a picture that's always been on the wall of a kid doing the famous hat pose; I imagine it's Joe's grandson, but it's just a guess.

The meaning of the food is clear, however. Every day for lunch people pile in (or call ahead to order, for maximum efficiency, highly recommended) and chau down on massive hoagies. There are about 20 choices on the menu, but for some reason my circle never goes past the following (pictures below are in order): Old Italian (prosciutto, spicy capicola, aged provolone), the R Special (Genoa salami, more capicola, sliced pepper shooters (small hot peppers stuffed with provolone)) or the Big T (Turkey.). Most people like the Primo size because it comes on a different roll (more crusty, sesame seeds) as opposed to the smaller size, which is on a standard white 8" roll (see below), but it's really a lot to get through. I didn't want to eat dinner after eating a whole one.

Of course, I wasn't eating just that...there's also a case on the side filled with drinks and a few more Italian specialties. The aforementioned pepper shooters can be purchased over here, although stuffed with prosciutto. There are marinated olives. There are artichokes. And there is this ungodly delicious marinated mini mozarella...Obiko should have it this good, my friends.

Ooof, I'm still full just thinking about it. And excited to go back again. Ha! Pretty sure they don't have a web site, but it's in the Timberline shopping center on Woodbury-Glassboro Road in Sewell, back in the corner. You'll find it.
856-415-9600 Do call ahead, it gets busy. And again, I recommend mayo, no oil, but you may struggle to get them to break routine to do that for you. You may also choose no oil, no mayo, and then put on oil yourself at home, which you can see Sherri preparing to do in the picture above.

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