I’ve been in a lot of great Italian “delis” all over the world. Two of my favorites (until this week) are Martinotti’s in Portland, OR, and Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica, CA.
Both superb in their own right. I’ve hit a couple smaller ones in Chicago that are also enjoyable.
This weekend I ran across the best of the best, in my opinion, in Kenosha, WI of all places.
Tenuta’s has been operating since 1950, and have aisle after aisle of imported grocery goods, as well as locally packaged ‘fixins’ like many different kinds of pastas, herbs, spices and such.
In their deli counters, they have prepared Italian dishes you can purchase by the pound, as well as in-house made sandwiches and delicious items like meatballs. Fresh take n bake pizzas, too!
Not incidentally, they have one of the largest selections of craft beers I have ever seen anywhere. Rows of shelves and coolers that run the whole length of the store.
It was hard not to spend my kid’s inheritance there in one day, but I did manage to score some goodies.
Having lived in New Orleans, and always eager to eat the local NOLA sandwich the “muffaletta,” I was pleased to see Tenuta’s had their own version, and at about half the price you’d pay in New Orleans.
Their “small” will feed 2-3 people and comes in at a very reasonable $6.99. It IS their own version tho, if you’re used to have the New Orleans ones, which have a layer of “olive salad,” you won’t find that here. Instead they have opted for adding pickled green pepper pieces, and lettuce, neither of which you’ll find in the NOLA versions.
I also bought a container of meatballs, the ingredients listed include: beef, pork, breadcrumbs, textured vegetable protein, ricotta, romano, soy, flour, salt, garlic, spices, parsley, brown sugar and flavoring.I have to say, they are quite flavorful and the texture is to my liking. (I hate “mushy” meatballs). They come in different quantity packs, I got the ‘small’ which is 15 balls for around $7.
I don’t know what they include in their ingredients under “spices,” my personal preference, and how I make them at home, is to include a bunch of dried fennel seeds. It’s a strong flavor, and many people don’t care for it. Tenuta’s meatballs are perfect for the average consumer tho, nothing at all objectionable!
The store is open 7 days, and also does catering. It’s truly a wonderland. I shall return. You should visit too.