Think the Tour de Hamdel is like the Tour de France? You’re wrong; it’s much harder. To learn more, click here.
When I began this terrifying sojourn into a land of deli sandwich perversion, my friends shared their infinite wisdom: “The NYPD is the best!” “Jaws!” “Insert random sandwich!” But Devin gave me a more specific recommendation. She always orders the Stallone with mustard and jalapeños. According to Devin—and she was, after all, a former Spectator food & drink editor—Hamdel serves few better sandwiches than her custom hero. For the sake of completing the Tour before I graduate, this post counts both as a review of the Stallone and of Devin’s custom sandwich. As I discussed when attacking the Betsy, a person’s individualized sandwich creation offers a glimpse into his or her psyche. Fortunately for Devin, her custom Stallone is one of the better sandwiches I’ve tried at Hamdel.
With smoked turkey, pepperoni, salami, mozzarella, lettuce, and tomato, the Stallone provides a tantalizing mix of flavors and textures pre-adulteration: salty, spicy deli meat collides with oozing globs of sweet, generic cheese. Adding a slathering of mustard and a few vinegary jalapeño slices gives the Stallone character beyond ordinary Hamdel heroes. This sandwich proves easy to eat, surprisingly light for such an overload of protein and fat.
Of course, changing the recipe alters the sandwich’s original intention. Would Sylvester Stallone ever eat Devin’s special sandwich? I suspect not, if only because neither Rambo nor Rocky seems like a mustard and jalapeño kind of guy. Italian meat, Italian cheese, a little lettuce, a little tomato, a little hero: enough for the real life Stallone. Although his performance in Rocky feels rich and rounded, Stallone actually comes across as confused throughout the film. “Adrian! Adrian!” Or something to that effect. All I remember about the ending (sorry, spoiler alert) is Rocky stumbling around searching for his (strangely masculate) lover. Rocky needs a simple lunch, a proletariat lunch; jalapeños have no place on his sandwich.
I would order Devin’s special Stallone again, but I would not order the Stallone on its own. Without that peculiar kick, the Stallone would taste mundane, an expression of the deli sandwich’s finest failures.
Next: the Buffalo Blue (chicken cutlet, fresh mozzarella, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing).