Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tony Luke's Roast Pork Italian

Everyone's got a different idea of what constitutes a hangover cure. Some say it should directly target your nausea and sooth your digestive tract, while others prefer one that presents an anguish overshadowing the damage done by the previous night's alcohol consumption. There's always the 'grease' argument as well: the greasier the food, the faster the recovery. After a reasonably long Saturday night drinking and playing records at the Medusa Lounge, I decided to test out a standby I'd always witnessed in the hungover hands of my sinning buddies. John's Roast Pork on Snyder Ave is apparently closed on the weekends, so I headed to Tony Luke's with Eric, John, and John, who were also seeking a cure-all tonic.

We decided to pick up our sandwiches and eat them back at the place, because no one wants to eat in the space within those metal walls fitted to be a seating area. I ordered the Roast Pork Italian (with broccoli rabe and provolone), a side order of mushrooms, a root beer, and a fistful of hot peppers from the condiment table. As is nearly always the case in South Philly, the lady taking my order asked for my name and balked at my reply, asking me to repeat it once before requesting my initials. Not a lot of Abdullah's down at Tony Luke's.

Back at Eric and John's, the guys primed me for this adventure, speaking of this sandwich's ultimate deliciousness. I unwrapped my parcel and lifted out the bread vessel stuffed with thin slices of dripping wet, grayish pink roast pork, the greens and cheese buried in the hinge of the roll. Its scent was unusual to me, slightly putrid. As I timidly took my first bite, my friends rounded out to the second halves of their sandwiches. The textures were similar to roast beef, only less stringy. The flavor of sharp provolone somewhat masked the disagreeable flavor of the meat to a point, and the taste of the greens faded into the back ground, adding only color to the mix. In an attempt to neutralize the state of my taste buds, I ate a forkful of my side order, soggy slices of mushrooms from a can. Sheer disappointment with those led me to the always reliable hot peppers. I took a few more bites of the sandwich and left the challenge half completed.

That indescribably element, the sourness that first revealed itself beneath the curing in my initial adventure with prosciutto, lay unmasked in roast pork. The smell and the taste were enough to stop me in my tracks. I attribute my aversion to my virgin palate and not to the quality of Tony Luke's hoagies, of which the cold roast beef has always been a favorite of mine.

Later that day, as Joe and I decided where to grab a bite for dinner, I told him I was "all porked out" for the day, eliciting a snide remark. I realized then how much the roast pork had turned me off. The unfamiliar taste wasn't enjoyable enough for me to forget what I was eating. Watching those around me devouring it reminded me of the times that pork didn't look so good to me. The roast pork sandwich wasn't on top of my list because it never appealed to me. I guess I have to expect that not every adventure in pork will be a positive one.


  1. I don't agree with my portrayl in this... That pic looks disgusting

  2. roast pork is amazing. i'm gonna make it appeal to you!