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The Pepper and Egg Debate

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 3, 2006 3:00PM

2006_03_pepnegg.JPGWhen Chicagoist was a young'un our family took sort of a "free love" approach to religion. The closest we came to Catholicism was the Missouri Synod version of the Lutheran Church. As an adult we find ourselves living in a neighborhood - if not a city itself - that's heavily informed by Catholicism. While for some the sight of scores of ashy foreheads hark the start of the lenten season, we look for the arrival of lenten menus in eateries throughout the city.

The apparent anchor of lenten menus is the pepper and egg sandwich. For us it's a study in the contradiction of religious teaching: a way to adhere to the arbitrary "no meat on Friday" rule while committing the cardinal sin of gluttony. We've never seen a carb-conscious version of the sandwich; most of the places down here in Bridgeport offer it as a lunch special with fries and a can of pop. It's always at least six inches long and stuffed with green peppers and scrambled eggs. Most of the people we know who order this ask for mozzerella - "motts" - smothered over the whole soft mess.

We all have varying opinions about where to find the best pepper and egg. Back when La Milanese on the corner of 32nd and May was open, Chicagoist would only buy pepper and egg there. La Milanese also made the best breaded steak sandwich in the city. Gio's Cafe and Deli is another standby, but they placed a lot of thought into their entire lenten menu. Pepper and egg registers way down on the list when placed next to crab fingers, caprese salad, and linguini shrimp diavolo. We could go to Freddie's Pizza on 31st and Union, but they barely get pizza right.

Oggi Trattoria and Deli on Grand Avenue makes a good pepper and egg, according to this website. The obsessive foodies over at the LTH forums (thanks for the correction last week, by the way) aren't shy with their opinions. Even Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown weighed in on the subject a couple time in the past year - most recently imagining Joey "The Clown" Lombardo having someone fetch him a pepper and egg at Johnnie's in Elmwood Park.

Where's your favorite place to get pepper and egg?