Behold the deep-fried Twinkie Burger

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Sandwich porn

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If you thought Thursday's Food & Flavor story on scary food made your stomach twist and churn -- lots of people, it seems, are eating bugs when they least expect it  -- here's another heave-inspiring dish to chew on.

PYT burger bar in Philadelphia this week trotted out its Deep-Fried Twinkie Burger.

The $12 novelty sandwich is exactly what it sounds like: Instead of a traditional roll, the pork belly-and-beef burger comes sandwiched between two funnel cake-battered,deep-fried Twinkie buns. Completing the sweet-and-savory taste combination is a thick slice of American cheese and several pieces of applewood smoked bacon. It's served with waffle fries on the side and a crispy pickle.

And some people outside of Pittsburgh think we're  weird for piling fries on top of everything. 

It was only a matter of time before someone seized on America's love affair with Twinkies, which skyrocketed in popularity this summer after briefly being pulled from store shelves when long-time maker Hostess when bankrupt. And what better place than PYT, which bills itself as the "home of America's Craaaziest Burgers."

The north Hancock St. restaurant has on its menu the artery-clogging Doh Nut! Burger, a beef patty topped with chocolate-covered bacon that comes stuffed between two glazed donut halves. It also previously sold a Szechuan Lamb Burger with buns made of sticky rice, a Mac 'N Cheese Burger and the ground-breaking Lasagna Bun Burger. That oddball combo sandwiched a 5-ounce cheesy-spicy meatball between two quarter-pound wedges of crumb-battered, meat-gravied noodle pie. Mama mia! booberryshake

Thirsty? For this week's Halloween celebration, PYT also offered boozy adult milkshakes made with Count Chocola, Franken Berry and Boo Berry cereals in addition to oh-so-boring Southern Tier Pumking. 

Regarding the limited-run Twinkie Burger, sales have been brisk.

"It's a really cool combination of salty and sweet. It's surprisingly very good," co-owner Sarah Brown said in a news story. 

Then, in what just might be the understatement of the year, she added: "It is very rich though."

Who knows -- maybe you think the dish sounds absolutely delish. Or perhaps you've experienced something equally crazy and creative in Pittsburgh. If so, we'd love to hear about it.

PYT photos

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Billy takes Primanti's

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Sandwich porn

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Some swear by its Double Egg & Cheese, while others would line up for hours outside Primanti Bros. in the Strip District for one of its best-selling, signature cheesesteaks.

Yet for one Pittsburgh boy-turned Broadway star, it's all about the kielbasa.

Lots of it, in fact, in the form of a double helping of the Polish sausage piled high under a thick blanket of tomatoes, cole slaw and greasy french fries. 

This morning at 10 a.m., Pittsburgh City Council will honor Tony award winner Billy Porter's achievements with a special proclamation. As a little pre-celebration, Primanti's rolled out the red carpet yesterday afternoon, offering to make Mr. Porter his favorite sandwich on the house.billyporter2

A graduate of Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, Mr. Porter — who grew up in East Liberty — ate countless Primanti's sandwiches as a kid. So of course he dug right in, even when a reporter wondered aloud if the high-calorie, double-fisted sammi fried up by cook T. J. Fazio would wreck havoc on his oh-so-trim figure. This is a guy who, after all, high-stepped it to stardom on the New York stage in a pair of thigh-high red boots, playing Lola in the award-winning musical "Kinky Boots."  He won the 2013 Tony for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a muscial for the part, and last night was celebrated by his alma mater with a reception and presentation in his honor.
 

"It's a protein, so it's not bad for you in itself," Mr. Porter said with a laugh, before opening his mouth wide for a huge bite. "It's what you complete it with, like all that melted cheese and them fries, that's bad for you."

billyporter3Ever the showman, Mr. Porter brought with him to the 18th Street shop the size-10, 6-inch stiletto boots he wears for eight shows a week. And a giggling Toni Haggerty, who's been making sandwiches at Primanti's for 40 years, was happy to try them on. While standing on the bar. 

"It's a boot sandwich!" one of his friends quipped.

Remembering his good Pittsburgh manners, Mr. Porter invited his friends to sample the towering sandwich, and they did, washing their bites down with another local fave — ice cold bottles of Rolling Rock beer. (The actor stuck with his cup of Starbucks.)  It got rave reviews.

"I'm from Buffalo, so I know from big, oversized food," said Andy Snyder, a press agent for the show who was enjoying his first visit to the city. He compared it to the iconic Chicken Finger Sub at Jim's SteakOut in and around that city. "This is as good as I've had."

Gretchen McKay photos


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Meat 'n' greet the Polish Hammer

Written by Dan Gigler on . Sandwich porn

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 Jared Lordon won’t reveal whether it was inspired by the weaponry of early Slavic tribes warriors, the maul the mythical Joe Magarac swung in Pennsylvania steel mills, or the finishing move of legendary wrestler Ivan Putski, but this much is clear: the Polish Hammer is coming to Pittsburgh.

Mr. Lordon is one-third of the brain trust of the Allegheny City Smokehouse, who will team up with the folks at Commonwealth Press for a novel "meat and greet" happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Commonwealth’s warehouse at 2315 Wharton St. on the South Side.0814jaredsandwich

There, the Smokehouse gang will debut the Polish Hammer, a big honkin’ meat sandwich that Mr. Lordon, at right, has been tweeting about for weeks in P.T. Barnum fashion, made from their signature smoked kielbasa, a housemade celery-seed slaw and Dijon mayonnaise, served on a pumpernickel swirl bread ($5).

“It’s a sandwich so intense it deserves to be named after a devastating blow to the solar plexus,” Mr. Lordon said, only half-kidding.

Commonwealth with provide free beer – leftovers from its hugely successful Beer Barge bash during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week back in the spring – to those 21 and over.

And, in the spirit of creative collaboration, the first 24 people in attendance will get a free “smoked” T-shirt from the event. The shirts were smoked in the ACS smokehouse in Marshall-Shadeland, using the same process that the guys use on their bacon, and then wrapped in butcher paper. The shirts are probably inedible, but that might not stop someone from trying.

CW Press logo, Dan Gigler photos

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North Side Sandwich Week

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Sandwich porn

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It's a North Side sammich smackdown!

Starting Friday, sammies from 13 neighborhood eateries will vie for lunchers' and diners' attentions during North Side Sandwich Week

The second-annual promotion lets customers vote with their wallets at the individual establishments June 17-23, and vote for their favorite sandwiches online.

But on June 20, sponsoring Northside Leadership Conference (the group writes the neighborhood name as one word) holds the North Side Sandwich Sampler, an event at which attendees can taste all the sandwiches for a good cause.

That happens from 6 to 9 p.m. that Thursday at the Allegheny Elks Lodge No. 339. For $25, you get to sample each of the sandwiches, wash them down with two Penn Brewery beers (or soft drinks) plus dessert, and then you get to vote for your favorite sandwich.

Celebrity judges are WYEP's Joey Spehar, jazz vocalist Etta Cox, KDKA-TV's Jon Delano and eatPGH's Julia Gongaware.

Proceeds benefit the Rox Performance Academy.

Participating restaurants and their sandwiches are:

Allegheny Elks Lodge -- Elks Fish Fry.

Atria's -- Atria's Reuben.

Benjamin's -- Signature Burger.

Bistro to Go (pronounced last year's North Side Sandwich King) -- Bistro Classic.

Deli on North Avenue -- Avocado Bleu.

El Burro -- Torta.

James Street -- Pulled Pork with Apple & Jicama Slaw.

The Little Deli/Modern Cafe (last year's Runnerup) -- Spicy Sicilian.

Max's Allegheny Tavern -- Cabbage and Corn Beef Sliders (not the open-faced braunschweiger club show here).

Monterey Pub -- Pub-style Shredded Beef.

Penn Brewery (last year's Most Unique) -- Northsliders.

Peppi's -- The Big Wheeler.

Rumerz -- Cryptonite.

That last one is steak and egg and provolone and fries and slaw on French bread.

Wouldn't it be cool if South Side did this, too, and the East End and West End, and then they pitted the winners from each compass point in a big Downtown final?

Or is this just making me hungry?

Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette photo

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Eating this is a gamble

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Sandwich porn

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So I'm sitting here with too much work to do to go out for a real lunch and -- whomp! -- in my inbox lands a press release from Atlantic City, N.J.

Because I inflicted the Landfill Burger on you readers this weekend, I just have to share with you the $100 "Carving Board Burger" being served at Preview bar at Bally's Atlantic City as part of casino-based festivities for National Hamburger Month in May.

This big boy is described as "40 ounces of Kobe Beef, layered with Garlic Roasted Prime Rib, topped with Reserve’s Port Wine Braised Short Ribs, Herbed Lardo Toasted Italian Focaccia, Pickled Tomatoes, Gorgonzola Dolce Fonduta and Balsamic Syrup."

The caps aren't mine, but this is not a lower-case sandwich.

This all is making me not so much hungrier as it is curious: Any Western Pennsylvania places doing special burgers in May?

Bally's photo

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Can you eat a 4-pound burger?

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Sandwich porn

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Max & Erma's describes its "Landfill Burger" as "three, 10-ounce hamburgers layered with pepper jack, Swiss and cheddar cheeses, topped with Erma’s Chili, jalapenos, ham, pulled pork, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and onion."

It weighs in at 4 pounds.


It costs $19.99.

Unless you eat it all, in which case they don't charge you.

Locations around the country are challenging folks to try to finish one. At the Monroeville store, at 2740 Mosside Blvd., the “Landfill Challenge” is happening as a contest at 3 p.m. today.

Pictured is the relative piker that is the restaurants' Garbage Burger ($10.49), which the menu describe as, "Everything but the kitchen sink. We pile on hickory-smoked bacon, cheddar, Swiss, American, mozzarella, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, guacamole & marinara." (That's it?)

What else is there to say except, You probably don't want fries with that.

The Columbus, Ohio-based chain will celebrate National Hamburger Month in May be adding two new ones to its menus: the Wisconsin Cow Tipper Burger ("topped with breaded American cheese" -- huh?) and Tony’s Bodacious Bacon Burger ("topped with creamy roasted garlic cheese spread and savory bacon marmalade") in more manageable Max (10 ounces) and Erma (6 ounces) sizes.  On May 27, the restaurants will hold Free Slider Day when all guests who buy a drink receive a burger-ette. 

Max & Erma's photo

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