Sandwich Wars: Il Cernacchino

Battle No.5
The Challenger: Il Cernacchino
For rules, regulations, and a fascinating review of sandwich history, see here. For our current rankings, see this blog’s side bar.
 
Just when you thought I couldn’t eat another panino…Sandwich Wars returns!
Quick review: The ranks didn’t change much after last month’s battle with Gustapanino. All’Antico Vinaio is still in first place with their outright ridiculous Finocchiona panino. Da’Vinattieri remains close behind with their super salty, and downright addictive, porchetta sandwich. I think they’re getting a little cozy up there at the top, don’t you?
Florence_paninoThis month I needed something new to shake things up. I started asking my friends established in the gastronomic scene here in Florence where they were getting their panini these days. Someone mentioned a place called Il Cernacchino, on Via Condotta, right in the center of Florence, just off Piazza della Signoria. I had never heard of it and I was skeptical. My first thought was, it will be crazy crowed. Nope. Ok, well then it will definitely be overprized. Not at all. Alright then, get ready for a disappointment taste-wise. Wrong again.
Continue reading…

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Sandwich Wars: Gustapanino

Battle No.4
The Challenger: Gustapanino
For rules, regulations, and a fascinating review of sandwich history, see here. For our current rankings, see this blog’s side bar.
 
Sandwich Wars continues!
Quick review: Currently in first place with their huge and mouth-watering Finocchiona panino is the Via dei Neri favorite, All’Antico Vinaio. Coming in at a close second, we have the salty and super flavorful porchetta sandwich at the tucked-away-treasure known as Da’Vinattieri. The competition is steep. Can our newest contestant squeeze into these tight numbers?
 
After last month’s killer competition, I just didn’t see how anyone, without some serious effort, was going to be able to push into the top two or three spots on the board. I always have my fingers crossed, so this month I went back to an old favorite, Gustapanino. I remember this sandwich spot as being one of my go-tos about two years ago. I used to look forward to stopping here every Sunday for a salty treat after perusing a flea market or taking a leisurely Sunday stroll in the gorgeous Piazza Santo Spirito. There is almost always a small line, longer around lunchtime, and it remains consistently a mix of American students living in the area and locals looking for a quick meal. The panino shop makes up one part of a three-part establishment, including Gusta Pizza and Gusta Osteria, all three of which are very popular. So I decided it was time to go back with my now more educated sandwich palate. I think sadly, I may be overly educated.
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Sandwich Wars: All’Antico Vinaio

Battle No.3
The Challenger: All’Antico Vinaio
For rules, regulations and a fascinating review of sandwich history, see here. For our current rankings, see this blog’s side bar.
 
YES! It’s time for Sandwich Wars again!
Quick review: after the first throw down between Fratellini and Da’Vinattieri, we tossed in the first challenger, The Oil Shoppe. Sadly, they fell a bit short leaving Da’Vinattieri as the reigning champ with their killer Porchetta sandwich going into Battle #3 with Contestant #4.
 
I was really rooting for someone to come along and make a solid grab for the title this month. In the hopes of just such an event I was forced to face an old foe: the small but popular sandwich spot known as All’Antico Vinaio on Via dei Neri. This place has had lines and crowds in front of it since I first came to Italy in 2002. Like those people who avoid Harry Potter, I thought I was too cool (read: scaredy cat) for a place that was so clearly awesome. No surprise, as with many things that are popular, this place is popular for a reason. Like me, you’ll just have to learn to suck it up, jump into the fray, and elbow your way to the front like the old Italian ladies. It is more than worth it.
Continue reading…

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Sandwich Wars: The Oil Shoppe

Battle No.2
The Challenger: The Oil Shoppe
For rules, regulations and a fascinating review of sandwich history, see here.
 
Welcome back to Sandwich Wars!
Last month we started off the series with a battle royal between two classic hole-in-the-walls: Fratellini and Da’ Vinattieri. The winner (by a hair!) was the mouth-watering #16 porchetta sandwich from Da’ Vinattieri. Our third contestant will have quite a fight ahead of them to beat out a sandwich so close to perfection.
 
Starting this month, we will have a running tally of the best sandwiches in the Sandwich Wars’ side bar (< --------) so that at any time you may need it, you can find the current rankings. If you want to learn more about one sandwich in particular, click the link!
 
Ok, to the battlefield.
 
First, I want to apologize for the delay in posting this, but to tell the truth, I was torn on whether or not to actually report on this particular sandwich experience at all. It was well…not that great. But the man who made said bad sandwich was so nice that (as the sucker American I am) I wanted to go and give them a second chance. This question of whether or not they deserved a second chance (when that was not given, nor even considered with previous contestants) led to an almost debilitating existential battle. In the end, I had to stand by my conviction that this is about the sandwich, not the sandwich maker. So should said sandwich man ever read this, I am sorry. You were super nice. But well…read on. Continue reading…

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Sandwich Wars: Fratellini vs. Da’ Vinattieri

Battle No.1
Fratellini vs. Da’ Vinattieri
For rules, regulations and a fascinating review of sandwich history, see here.
 
Contestant 1: Fratellini
Via dei Cimatori 38/R, 50122 Florence, Italy (turn off Calzaiuoli in front of Orsanmichele – the street that St. John the Baptist is facing)Fratellini, as their website proudly proclaims, offers “Always Sandwiches!!!” (yes, three exclamation points). They have been around since 1875 according to said website and the sign above their hole-in-the-wall, one-stop sandwich stand. The name means “little brothers” and behind the counter you will always find two guys (squeezed in quite cozily!) producing sandwiches and glasses of wine at alarming rates. It is dead in the center of town and makes the perfect mid-museum or mid-class snack break. At the affordable price of 2.50Euro for a sandwich, it’s a no brainer. The men that work the counter are super friendly and the line, though it can look long, moves quickly.
 
Their sandwiches are very traditional Italian panini on the typical panino roll and include, at most, two or three toppings (though they don’t mind adding something at your request). We suggest going with the true blue menu for the authentic experience, but we understand the impulse to add that truffle cream to…umm…everything. Continue reading…

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