A California Girl's Adventures in Food+Travel
Friends that really know me can tell you that I am simply mad about potatoes. Whether it be in the form of mashes potatoes, hash browns, or French fries, I have never met a potato I did not like. With that said, when the boyfriend told me about the legendary Pittsburgh sandwiches at Primanti Brothers, I knew I just had to try them. French fries IN the sandwich you say?!?
I’m the gal that rejoiced when Liz Lemon gives the golden advice to put potato chips in your sandwiches. “Finally,” I thought. “Someone gets me!” With that in mind, the boyfriend and his parents were gracious enough to take me to Pittsburgh’s sandwich mecca. Primanti Brother’s has been expanding quite a bit in southwestern Pennsylvania, but it is at the original Strip District location that you get that real old timey feel.
In a nutshell, this genius sandwich was created many moons ago to help accommodate to truck drivers who needed sustenance in a hurry (or so legend dictates). The result is a giant sandwich consisting of Italian bread, sweet and sour cole slaw, tomatoes, provolone cheese, a handful of fries, and your choice of meat. My mouth is watering as I type this post right now, although I know some of you are totally freaked out at the concept. In all seriousness though, this sandwich isn’t as terrifying as it sounds. The bread holds up great, the fries are perfect and hand-cut, and the slaw has just the right balance of sweet and sour that isn’t overwhelming on the palate.
I LOVED this sandwich…and I hate cole slaw. I ordered the steak and cheese version of the sandwich as recommended by newlyweds Jess and Brian (we were in town for their wedding), while boyfriend opted for salami and his parentals got the pastrami. After stealing a couple of bites here and there, I’ve decided that everything was a winner. The steak was tender, the salami was cured well, and the pastrami (while different than what I am used to in LA and NYC), was perfectly lean and thinly sliced. At under $10 a pop, you can’t lose.
I am glad that my first Primanti’s experience was at the Strip District, which is still quite lively with specialty food vendors and warehouses supplying the city’s restaurants. The industrial surroundings are exactly the kind of image someone from out of state imagines Steeler town, and with a view of the smoke-stacks coming out of the Heinz plant just a stone’s throw away, it’s a point of Pittsburgh pride that can’t be beat.
Personally, I’m just glad that we’ve got the Steel City Sandwich Truck to tide me over until our next trip to the ‘Burgh.