Tag Archives: The Sopranos

A Backup Muffaletta Plan in New Orleans’ French Quarter

15 Nov

In the past, I had always headed straight for Central Grocery when I was craving a muffaletta in New Orleans. Their overstuffed sandwich is mighty, meaty, and legendary. Frank’s Restaurant is located just a couple doors down — in the shadows of the old French Market and Cafe Du Monde. Central Grocery, our old standby, happened to be closed the day we stopped by. Bummer! Undeterred, we plowed ahead towards Frank’s place. I had seen them recently on a Food Network feature, so I knew the muffaletta would get the job done — and it did.  

A rainy morning had given way to a muggy afternoon in The Big Easy.

A close-up look at Frank’s Muffaletta (above) – it’s a thing of beauty that feeds a family of 4 or two hungry adults  for about $12. My son Travis (a true gourmet at the ripe old age of 14) commented that Frank’s meat/bread ratio was slightly bread heavy compared to Central Grocery. You know something? He was right on the money.  However, Frank’s makes a pretty darn good Italian sandwich and I was just happy to get my fix of deli meats, crusty bread and pickled olive salad that late Sunday afternoon.

The hometown Saints were on the tube above the bar and things were not exactly going well. The manager bellowed “Your Daddy’s Saints are back, y’all” as the Super Bowl champs went down in flames to the lowly Cleveland Browns. The full house of diners at Frank’s seemed distraught, yet how upset could I get with a belly full of muffaletta?

We even picked up a large (32 oz.) jar of Frank’s olive spread to take home with us. Our waitress gestured towards a small dining table near the door as we made our exit. I discretely glanced over and spotted none other than Joseph Gannoscoli, who played Vito Spatofore in the HBO series, “The Soprano’s.” Pretty cool, huh? 

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Best Pizza on Siesta Key — “Bada Bing!”

5 Jun

Those of you who know me well know how much I enjoy a good pizza. I mean a really good pizza … made by professionals who know what they are doing … not some pimply-faced geek pulling minimum wage. Great pizza made with “amore” is increasingly difficult to find these days. Yet turn on the TV and The Sopranos seem to have a great pie joint on every corner. It’s just not fair, right?

Thankfully, I discovered such a joint on Florida’s Siesta Key. We lived on the Key for a couple years and learned very quickly that this was a go-to pizza hangout. Real pizza. Jersey-style pizza. Made by a couple of brothers named Solorzano. Their folks run an authentic Italian restaurant — just a couple miles away in Sarasota. The brothers operate a cozy little pizza shop just a short stroll from the white sands of Siesta Beach. Follow your schnozz, you’ll find it. Once you’re there, locals will give you a knowing wink. You’ll be on to their little secret.

You’re likely to hear classic songs like this while you sip on your chianti

They’ve got all the traditional Italian delights you’d expect at Solorzano Brothers. And they’re all magnifico. But just like Sinatra was a notch above Bennett, and DiMaggio a more prolific slugger than Rizzuto, Solorzano’s gelato, calzones, & pastas are ultimately overshadowed by the big boss — PIZZA PIE.

Another example of the soundtrack to your primo Solorzano’s meal

Have a look at the above pie. Now that’s an offer you truly can’t refuse!!!

You can load your pizza up with all the toppings you want, but I still prefer to go straight pepperoni. Why clutter up a good thing, huh? No need to “guild the lilly” at Solorzanos — let the real Italian flavor shine through. Take in all the ambiance too. The brothers will likely be talking trash behind the counter … or maybe bragging about their favorite New York sports teams … or debating their favorite episode of The Sopranos. Tony Soprano’s mug hangs proudly on the wall alongside images of Old Blue Eyes, ex-Giants QB Phil Simms, Al Pacino, or perhaps an old Dean Martin album cover. Just what you’d expect from a couple of pizanos from Hoboken. And all the stuff I wanna see at a REAL pizza joint.  

Tony says “Just get to Solorzano’s right now … capiche???”

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