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The Hoagie List

March 26, 2014

Eating isn’t something I do for sustenance. It just happens to be an additional side benefit. Eating is something I do for adventure. It’s something I do for camaraderie. But at the end of the day, it’s all about pleasure.

There are lots of healthful ways to find pleasure in food. Knowing where your food comes from and meeting the people who grow it adds to your pleasure. Creating a plate of vibrant colors, representing the local seasonal bounty of produce is certainly pleasurable too.

But there is no debating the raw power of human physiology when it comes to the effects of fat, salt, and carbohydrates on the pleasure centers of the brain. Here in Princeton, there is no better way to satisfy these cravings than with a trip to Hoagie Haven. They take all that is terrible for you and shove it into a crusty white Italian loaf.

All of their sandwiches are disgusting. But some just weren’t quite worth their calorie load. So I decided to sit down with their menu and create a list of sandwiches that took the best of their raw ingredients to shove into a roll of my own.

I’ve been literally keeping this list in my back pocket for the past two months, and periodically stop in to try one of my creations. Yes, it’s a problem. That means I’m compelled to share.

Here’s a little shorthand for the best and worst of Hoagie Haven.

Cheesesteak – bad
Hamburgers – bad idea
Chicken cutlet – good
Mozzarella stick – bland
Mac-n-cheese wedges – good
French fries – pasty
Hash browns – good
Pork roll – good
Eggs – good
Bacon – bacon

Just last night I had what I call an Improved Sanchez. The original comes with chicken cutlet, American cheese, mozzarella sticks, fries and Sanchez sauce. As far as I can tell, Sanchez sauce is just a spicy mayonnaise, but I’m a fan of spicy mayo. So, referencing the chart above, the American cheese gets swapped out for provolone, the mozzarella sticks are traded for mac-n-cheese wedges, and the fries turn into hash browns. Naturally I ask for extra Sanchez sauce.

Yeah. That’s a winner. So was a sandwich that I called the PATH. Much like the Port Authority for which it is named, this monstrosity is designed to bridge the worlds of NY and NJ. So it’s a fried chicken cutlet with Buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing shoved into a breakfast sandwich of pork roll, eggs and hash browns. I enjoyed that one too, although next time I would ask for extra Buffalo sauce.

But it doesn’t stop there. I have a vegetarian creation on my list, which is untested, but how could this be bad? It’s a simple egg and hash brown hoagie with some mac-n-cheese wedges for good measure. You may be asking, Where are the vegetables? Well, that’s where the eggplant parm comes in. I simply call it The Veg.

On the other side of the spectrum is an idea I call Cruella. She is stuffed with the most delicious and inhumanely factory farmed meats. It starts with veal cutlet and pig two ways (pork roll and bacon). She then steals the eggs from some very sad chickens. Since it’s got bacon and eggs already, why not throw in some hash browns? And it wouldn’t be a Cruella without plenty of hot sauce. You need to feel the sting.

See, isn’t this fun?

I even got Young Master Fussy in on the game. He wants something much more modest. And it’s rather clever since like the Fat Darrell that started this crazy fried food sandwich fad, the kiddo’s sandwich simply includes his favorite things in a roll. Those are gyro meat, eggs and mac-n-cheese wedges. Because he’s a kid he thinks it should be served with ketchup. I don’t know what to do with this boy.

Me? I think mac-n-cheese wedges should be nowhere near gyro meat. Bacon, on the other hand, would be nice, especially since you already have the eggs. And I’d be inclined to throw some hash browns in there too, because really, what’s not better with hash browns? Slather it all with gyro sauce, and you have what I call The Olympia. It’s kind of like a Greek diner in a bun.

It’s a good thing that I’m exercising. Otherwise I might return to Albany in a body bag.

Incidentally, the Body Bag is actually an official Hoagie Haven sandwich that combines an Italian hoagie with provolone, cheese steak, hash browns, eggs and hot sauce. That one’s not for me. Deli meat isn’t my thing, and I can’t abide their cheesesteak after years of living in Philly.

What can I say, I’m spoiled.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2014 10:23 am

    “Deli meat isn’t my thing”? (That was a question.) I don’t see how you can claim to be a food blogger and ignore an entire food group.

    The deli meats you’ll get on the typical Italian Mix are bland but that’s a problem with the ingredients, not the category. Patronize a place with quality deli meats (Roma Imports would be the best example in the Cap District) and the sandwich will sing a beautiful harmony with the intermingled flavor and mouthfeel notes of fat, spice and funky curing. It helps if you specify sharp provolone so the cheese can join the party.

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