Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
What was Little Italy like before all us cool (haha) people moved in and spiffed it up? Stop by at Pete’s Quality Meats (1742-1/2 India). That’s the old Little Italy. It’s no-frills and only grills.
The one thing that’s changed in the last decade is Pete took Spitini off his menu, which brings your choice down to 5 sandwiches “hot off the grill”: Italian sausage, meatball, steak, chicken and eggplant, most around seven buckeroos. That’s it.
But you always miss the one that’s missing. Is it just me who hankers for those spitini? They were stuffed veal turned on a spit over a fire or grill. Used to be the Sunday hot dish back in Sicily. The veal’s rolled around two cheeses, onions, tomatoes, pine nuts, currants, parsley, prosciutto, green peppers, breadcrumbs and onions.
Messy? Ain’t the word for it. Specially the onions. Ooh ya. The little sting of the onion lash on your cheek, the satisfying slurp as you haul it back in your mouth, the crunch of the pine nuts.
Sigh. Best bet now is Pete's Italian sausage sandwich, basically because they still make the herby sausage right there. As long as it’s made same day, you can’t lose.
But could they bring those spitini back?
I ask Jerry the cook.
“No way,” he says. “Too much work.”