Friday, October 15, 2010

Off the menu and into your home - Little Joe's

I came upon a curious factoid and had to delve deeper. Little Joe's, a famed Italian restaurant of yore, started life at 900 N. Broadway as an Italian grocery and delicatessen famed for it's imported cheeses and meats. When Little Joe's opened in 1927 this area was known as Little Italy. It's empty building is still here (though significantly altered from the original) and stands across from what is now called New Chinatown. More on the who/what/when of Little Joe's later but the restaurant apocryphally went through a 225 lb wheel of imported Swiss cheese every two weeks. Really? It must have been their formaggio fritto appetizer that did it. Glorified cheese sticks.

Little Joe's Formaggio Fritto

1 lb imported Swiss cheese
1 cup of flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 eggs, well beaten
Oil for frying

Cut the cheese into strips/sticks, roll in the flour mixture, then into the egg and back into the flour. Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry the coated cheese until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel laden plate and voila. Enjoy your fried cheese!