Friday, August 20, 2010

Straight Outta Philly

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am a Mid-Westerner. I grew up learned what cornfields looked like by driving past them on long car trips. Trains were things that carried freight, not people. My idea of a quick meal was Skyline chili or a Chicago hotdog. Yet, my friends from the East Coast lovingly spoke of their eight-lane highways, train rides, New York style pizza and Philadelphia hoagies – things that I knew of in a mythical way.

Recently, I was introduced to Taylor Gourmet, a hoagie shop that was opened by two former residents of Philadelphia who now live inside the Beltway. They missed their beloved hoagies so much that it seemed almost natural to introduce them to District residents, myself included. I have fallen under the spell of the fresh bread (trucked in from Pennsylvania on a daily basis), the fresh ingredients and the gigantic portions.

The menu is large enough to satisfy meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. Each sandwich is named for a street in Philly, but it is far easier for me to remember the delicious components that make up the hoagie. I’m a fan of the Island Avenue (breaded chicken cutlets, arugula, pesto, brie) and the Cherry Street (house cured roast beef, brie, roasted garlic spread). Elliot salivates just thinking about the 9th Street Italian, which combines genoa salami, capicola, prosciutto and sharp provolone. He claims that this is the perfect sandwich. I think that most of the combos on the menu come pretty close, especially considering how big and flavorful they are. (Each 12 inch sub could easily feed you for 2 meals.)

Taylor Gourmet also serves fried treats such as ravioli and risotto balls. The risotto balls were a bit spicy for our taste - and not nearly as good as 2 Amy’s version, suppli - but the fried ravioli could make a terrific snack or the perfect palate pleaser prior to your meal.

Currently, you can find Taylor Gourmet locations on H Street NE and at Mt. Vernon Square, but there is a location opening in Bethesda at the beginning of September. For those of you that don’t live within walking distance of one of the locations, Taylor offers delivery within a limited area. But I can guarantee you that it is worth the trip to this Philadelphia style hoagie outpost.

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