Hoagie Haven’s Body Bag: A Play-By-Play of a Food Supernova (VIDEO INSIDE!)
Junk Food Nation, Awkward Mondays will be pushed to tomorrow. Although, I guess, today’s post could be qualified as awkward, as I catalog my own food meltdown. I have to share with you something that happened to me yesterday.
I went to school in New Jersey, and this past weekend was a homecoming of sorts. I drove up there on Saturday and attended a few alumni campus-related activities: football, concert, and beers at a historic Tap Room. The next day was just a beautiful Fall day, as was the day before… and I knew that before my weekend was over, I had to go to my favorite place in the town to eat: Hoagie Haven.
Hoagie Haven, not Hoagie Heaven, known as “The Haven,” is a popular hang out for students for several reasons. Check out it’s website, and you’ll see why: it doesn’t list a closing time and is open seven (7) days a week, which means that if you’re inebriated on a cool Sunday night, you can still have hope that as you wander off campus, you’ll see the glowing lights of the Haven in the distance, promising chicken parms and italian subs to fill your beer soaked belly. The same storefront, from the 70’s, exists, providing a welcome familiarity. And the subs? Well, they’re cheap. A foot-long sub meatball sub that is big enough to feed a horse – $5.50? This ain’t Subway, folks. That’s good value there.
Anyways, as I wandered in on a brisk Sunday afternoon and perused the menu, I knew what I had to have. For you. For you, Junk Food Nation:
The Body Bag. Yep, THE BODY BAG. (Who names a sandwich that? Why??) It reads, “Italian Hoagie & Provolone Cheesesteak, Hash Browns, Eggs, Ketchup or Hot Sauce.” But it is so much more. Please see my video account of the unveiling (and refresh if you can’t see the embedded video):
Yep, so that’s the Body Bag. And yeah, that’s my voice. Yep….<shifty eyes>. Anyways, so I decided I needed to eat this. Now, I’m not a competitive eater – although I have tried (a story for another time) – but I thought, “I’ve finished foot-long subs on NUMEROUS occasions! No problem.” So, here I went!
Hoagie Haven’s Body Bag is a heavy sonofabitch, lemme tell you. I wasn’t lying when I said it probably weighed a pound-and-a-half. I could’ve clubbed a cavewoman over the head with this blicky, if you know what I mean.
When I opened the package, this monstrosity smelled great – a nice mix of onions, ketchup, hot sauce, beef, eggs – all of it pervaded the air.
Up close, you can see the first few ingredients – lettuce, tomato, and onions. Of course! You need SOME roughage in there. If nothing else – to provided a cushion for all the grease about to come. Lettuce was finely shredded, onions were in long fry-like curved sticks, and the tomatoes were thick cut.
Digging deeper. The Body Bag contained a provolone cheesesteak, grilled to perfection, with nice charring on the beef steek and gooey provolone cheese. The backbone of the sub was an italian hoagie, whose meat was ALSO fried on the flattop. It was either salami and ham or salami and pork roll. In either case, it soaked the italian sub roll with pork grease. Heart-clogging.
On the flip side was the has browns (big potato patties, like McDonald’s has browns) and a couple of fried eggs, with the yolks not fully cooked. Oh yeah, I asked for jalapenos too – in addition to mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, salt and pepper. See? It WAS more than just what the sign said.
Time to chomp.
A few bites into the first half of my Hoagie Haven’s Body Bag, and I could feel time slowing down. The flavor was unique and wonderful – you first get the crispness of the lettuce and the tang of the tomato. This flavor is immediately blended with the flavor of hot sauce, ketchup, and mayo – a weird creamy special sauce that complemented the tomatoes well.
With the first chew, your tongue explodes with the flavor of beef and onions, and then you’re hit with the porkiness of the salami and ham/pork roll. Finally, as you chew more, the creaminess of the eggs and cheese work their way to the top. Amazingly, the hash browns give the overall flavor a creamy starchiness, as the hot sauce, mayo, ketchup take over the flavor again.
It was like I was eating that three-course gum that Violet Beauregarde chewed from Willy Wonka – flavors kept cycling through my mouth over and over again. I almost didn’t realize I was having trouble breathing.
As I neared the finish line for the first half, I needed a friggin’ nap. My blood was pumping slowly, I was laboring with my breathing, and I’m pretty sure I was cross-eyed. Still, the flavors were great! Needed more hot sauce. I pushed on.
The sub kept dripping hot sauce and meat juices as I ate, that I tried to catch on the paper the sub was wrapped in. Hoagie Haven is a stand alone counter, no tables – so most people just cop-a-squat outside at a bench.
As you can see, I needed a fork to shovel down any escapees from my sandwich.
Hoagie Haven’s Body Bag put me in a body bag as I finished the first half, and the name was truly realized. I was down for the count. Why, oh why, did I get a foot long? There was no way I was taking another bite of anything…for the next 15 hours. Holy shit.
Still, amazing. Highly recommended…for the brave. Not sure if I’d eat this again…but that’s more because I’m a coward than anything else. I don’t know how competitive eaters do it, or guys like Adam Richman, for that matter. But wow – this food fist punched me in the face and won. Food Supernova, all over my face. Nice work, Hoagie Haven.
Sincerely, Junk Food Guy