A Sandwich a Day: 'Panini Sandwiches' at Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery, Astoria
In this great city of ours, you could eat a different sandwich every day—so that's what we do with A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York City. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Rose & Joe's may call these "panini sandwiches" (redundantly, I might add), but I call them "snackwiches." Maybe you can see why here:
That's an average-size dinner plate. If I were to stick a dollar bill in there for scale, any one of those sandwiches would be about as wide and maybe about a quarter-length longer than the greenback.
There are five kinds on offer: ham and American cheese, turkey and American cheese, fresh mozzarella and tomato, salami and fresh mozzarella, and mortadella and provolone.
Unless your wife is like mine, these sandwiches are unlikely to change your life. The best part about most of them is the bread, which is always fresh that day from the gigantic oven that you can catch a glimpse of in the back of the bakery. It's just a bit chewy and ever so slightly sour in a pleasant way.
They're not going to fill you up, hence the "snackwich" designation I've given them. They will take the edge off hunger, though, without leaving you with a heavy belly. Which is where the wife comes in. When she's not fed properly, she gets hangry. I don't know how many times we've grabbed a couple of these guys on weekends on the way to brunch elsewhere. They tide her over until we reach our destination, and for that reason alone I love these sandwiches.
My favorite among them is the fresh mozzarella–and-tomato number. It's got a couple meaty slices of seeded plum tomatoes, a shake of oregano, some olive oil, and a layer or two of the cheese. After that, I'd go with the mortadella number (if that meat trips your trigger) and then the salami one.
Until recently, Rose & Joe's kept these premade, plastic-wrapped sandwiches in a display case at the front of the store, where they'd reach room temperature, giving the cheese a soft, almost-melted texture in warmer weather. Within the last month or so, though, they've moved them into a refrigerator behind the counter, so you'll have to ask for them specifically. I let mine warm up a bit before eating them now, but even cold they're still fairly tasty.
Also good at Rose and Joe's? The bakery pizza. Grab a square slice while you're at it!
Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery
22-40 31st Street, Astoria NY (near Ditmars Boulevard; map)