Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Best Sandwich and Plenty More

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Best Sandwich and Plenty More

Article excerpt

Ever have one of those weeks where you think maybe Sylvia Plath was onto something? Such has been my week. Between a throat- shredding viral infection and marathon calls to Bright House, I've been an unhappy camper. But today, things are looking up -- I can swallow without pain and I'm thinking about one thing: comfort food. Which for me involves one thing: salumi. And one destination: Casa Italia.

You may know Casa Italia as a great specialty grocery store, and it is indeed stocked with excellent imported goodies from both Italy and India. Casa Italia has a wondrous selection of pantry items from caviar to grissini, along with a stocked cheese counter and an impressive selection of house-cured olives. All well and good. But I've been going there for years because they make what I consider the best sandwich in Sarasota. No exaggeration, the best sandwich in Sarasota is Casa Italia's mortadella and cheese.

It couldn't be simpler. Casa owners Raj and Nita Mathur start with the best bread in town, crunchy and flaky on the outside, with plenty of soft give inside, and slice it lengthwise. Then comes thinly sliced mortadella -- the pork salume from Bologna, studded with pistachios and thick nuggets of fat.

I was an open mortadella hater as recently as 2008; its texture was way too close to Oscar Meyer bologna. But a trip to mortadella's city of birth made me realize what a fool I had been. There they serve it like prosciutto, layering paper-thin slices and serving it plain as an antipasto. I distinctly remember buying a big hunk that I thought surely would last me during a three-hour train ride. It barely lasted the walk to the train station. It was so delicate it almost melted. My lips glistened. I felt so happy.

At Casa Italia, slices of provolone -- top quality, again -- go on top of the mortadella, as well as some chopped lettuce and a subtle drizzle of olive oil and vinegar. …

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