Sometimes you eat things for nostalgia’s sake even though they’re not very good. But, sometimes they’re as good as you remember.
This tweet caught my eye this week:
It’s true. Or. . . did our Subway sandwiches actually choose us?
I’ve always alternated between the Veggie Delite and Spicy Italian. Jake’s favorite is still the Spicy Italian. This felt like a very fancy sandwich back then.
Growing-up in the southern suburbs, a typical take-out sandwich came from Subway or Cousin’s subs. My folks were not the most adventurous eaters – but one of their friends tipped them off to visit Brianno’s in Eagan. This Italian deli is tucked behind Cliff Road in Eagan, behind a church and attached to an events center. According to this WCCO feature, they’ve been open since 1993.
Even though Brianno’s also sells pizza and pasta dishes, we always ordered their house Italian cold cut sandwiches called Brianno’s Italianos.
They were unlike anything we’d ever tried – crusty bread, high-quality Italian meats that tasted different from what what we were used to from Cub foods or Subway, provolone cheese, fluffy shredded lettuce, tomato and a very flavorful vinaigrette.
Around this time, a grade-school friend had taught me to drizzle Kraft’s Italian dressing on a salami sandwich. This seemed revolutionary at the time. This sandwich was about to blow my mind.
Brianno’s garlicky, basil dressing is what makes the sandwich extra special. It takes a good Italian cold cut sandwich to 30 Rock Sandwich Day good. Gently coating the sandwich layers, the dressing soaks into the thick, crusty bread halves, not hollowed out, not for the paleo-hearted.
We returned for these sandwiches time and again. Subway and Cousins were for everyday, but Brianno’s was a treat.
This sandwich popped into my mind this weekend and I needed one. Ordering is easy. Order and pay online (or call), specifying curbside pick-up if desired. Simply call when you arrive and someone will bring the food to your car.
Decades have passed since I’ve had this sandwich, and it tastes as good as I remember.
When Jake worked in the southern suburbs, he used to visit Brianno’s, too. He ordered his old favorite, the meatball sub.
Something to know is that the sandwich halves are really big (the meatball and Italiana cost around $8.50). A check-box asks if you want to make it a whole sandwich for another $6.50. If you say “yes” you will end up with a very large, infant-sized sandwich.
The breaded chicken parm sandwich is served on two slices of soft Italian bread.
That night I watched Nomadland and cried amidst a sea of Italian sandwiches, all delicious, all comforting. Ironically, Nomadland will be the tourism magnet that South Dakota never asked for.
Something made me want to harken back to this childhood favorite. I’m not sure what it was and that’s ok. It’s still the same in a good way.