What makes a really great sub sandwich? Is it the amount of ingredients, the variation, the dressing, the bread?
The answer depends on the region in which you eat it, which determines not only what goes in it but what the sandwich is called. Variations on the sub sandwich name include Hoagie, Grinder, Hero, Po'Boy, Zepplin and Torpedo, among others.
Several theories surround the origin of the popular sandwich. Some say it started in Groton, CT, home of the largest United States submarine factory, where workers ate it in the naval yard.
Others say it immigrated to New York with the Italian family of Dominic Conti, who supposedly saw a submarine, noted its shape, similar to the Italian bread he served in his deli, and renamed the sandwich thereafter.
In the Midwest it's called a sub, and can include whatever meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces your heart desires.
In Lake Saint Louis, Subway is the spot of choice, though you can get a delicious meatball sub at T's Eatzeria on crusty bread that stands up to any other. The benefit of Subway is fast service and your very own monster of a creation. Subway also provides calorie information if you're health conscious.
While you don't have to leave the city to get a great sub, you should venture over to O'Fallon for Boardwalk Subs' Philly Cheese Steak, widely reviewed as the best in St. Louis.
In Wentzville I had what might ordinarily be considered an ok chipotle cheese steak sub at Mr. Goodcents Subs and Pasta, but their bread, soft and crusty at the same time, made it go the extra mile for me.
I believe subs are all about preference (though each region will tell you theirs is the best), especially with the way they have developed in this country throughout history. Besides pizza, it's hard to find a more individualized meal choice.
That being said, you should take a food adventure day with the family to conduct a 'sub tasting' of places near you to find your favorite.
Here's my favorite (I like to keep it Italian):
Salami, Pepperoni and Pastrami Sub with Fresh Basil & Oregano Vinaigrette
- 1 Italian or French bread
- 1 handful chopped romaine lettuce
- 3-4 slices red onion
- 1-2 banana peppers, sliced
- 3-4 slices Roma tomatoes
- Your choice on the amount of sliced meat. I would recommend 3 slices of each, but let's face it, it's your sandwich.
If you're a cheese-lover, you can melt 3 -4 slices of provolone, or whatever cheese you like, on the sandwich in the oven or under a broiler.
- 3 basil leaves, chiffonade (stack the leaves on top of each other, then roll them together and slice thinly - cutting them this way prevents bruising and discoloration).
- 4 orgenao leaves, rough chop
- 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 clove fresh garlic, mince
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Whisk it all together, drizzle on your sandwich (or dip sandwich in it), and enjoy.