I hate growing up and being an adult. It is fucking terrible. Responsibility, working and having to feed myself suck. The worst is when I have a full schedule and no time for myself. It feels like I am back at sleep-away camp, but instead of an itinerary filled with sports, being awkward with girls and time at the canteen my itinerary is filled with Blackberrys, conference calls and meetings. I yearn for that nostalgic feeling, a little something that reminds me of my childhood. It comes in small doses whether it is a smell, taste or situation, it is always a good feeling to harken back to my innocent years.
Walking down 104th street in Corona, Queens felt like a flashback for me. As I strolled down the street to Leo’s Latticini (AKA Mama’s of Corona), I felt like I was in A Bronx Tale. Moving down the block I passed the mom-and-pop shops still present and school children running and laughing on their way home. Then I stepped into Mama’s and sealed the deal.
I imagine that the interior of Mama’s looks very similar to the day it opened. It is just a classic deli with its’ meats proudly displayed in a glass case alongside all your favorite Italian sandwich accoutrements. I knew I was in heaven when I saw the meat slicer on the front counter and no cash register. Mama’s has its’ priorities in place, meat first, everything else after.
I started talking to the woman behind the counter and learned about the specials for the day, but I knew what I was getting, the Mama’s special: Prosciuttini, Salami, Mozzarella, with Mushrooms and Peppers. I gave about the easiest instructions as possible: whatever you are offering to put on the sandwich is going on the sandwich.
The woman behind the counter started preparing my sandwich. EVERY component is sliced on the spot. It is a indication of how special quality is for Mama’s. While I was standing there I started talking to Marie, the daughter of the originator of Mama’s. You can just tell how excited she was to have me there. I told her how this was my first visit, but I have had Mama’s many times at Shea Stadium and now Citi Field. Marie was so proud of her food and the adulation she expressed for my patronage was unrivaled. I have never been happier or prouder eating at an establishment. If someone is that passionate about their craft you know that not only will it be excellent but it will be made with love.
On to the sandwich. HOLY SHIT! This is the best Italian sub you will ever have, EVER. The meat is terrific and not too salty, which sometimes is a pitfall of an Italian sandwich. The bread is fresh, and as you sink your teeth in you get the crunchiness of the peppers, briney taste of the mushrooms, soft mozzarella and then the savory meat. It is heavenly. Oh and they don’t skimp. For $7 you are eating a real deal hero. It is almost like your mom is making you a sandwich.
Final Verdict: This is a must. If you go to a Mets game this is right on the way. I have heard the other special sandwiches are awesome and I will be sure to try them. If you want a slice of nostalgia and a warm feeling in your heart (and stomach), eat at Mama’s.
Scotty Burps: 2 of 5. I ate this sandwich so fast that it gave me heartburn. It could also be the fact that I devoured it immediately before going to the gym.