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Our Weekly Bread: Crostone at Parisi

The sandwich: Boccaccio Crostone

What's on it: Fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, pesto and tomato on grill-pressed bread

Where to get it: Parisi (4401 Tennyson Street, 303-561-0234)

How much: $7.99

I'm a horrible American cliché when it comes to all things Italian.

I love the food, the wine, the history, the women, the scenery, the language and the entire idea of Italy - even if that idea is only part reality and a whole lot of fantasy. Italy, I always tell people (actually, I've never told anyone), is like Disneyland for adults.

And if that's the case, then Parisi is like the Disney store at the mall, a small outpost that sells all the magic and all the fantasy to a willing audience of hungry consumers. So call me Snow White, because try as I might, I eat the whole thing up every time I go there.

This time, I wandered around as I waited for my take-out sandwich. I checked out the incredibly awesome-looking meatballs and lasagnas and deep-fried risotto balls behind the counter. I watched a woman making risotto balls and I watched the pizza chef expertly roll out dough, spread the sauce and slide his creations into the brick oven. I looked over the tomato sauces and pastas for sale, and the odd little chocolate treats for kids. I bought a risotto ball and ate it while I waited.

When I finally got my sandwich, I was ravenous -- and half-expecting the fantasy not to live up to the reality. I was wrong, of course, because Parisi has this theme park down pat.

The warm, olive oil-doused bread was light and soft and criss-crossed with smoky grill marks. The pesto was perfectly understated and the non-spicy red peppers and tomatoes gave the sandwich a rich, full taste. The real hero here, though, was the fresh mozz.

It's a small world after all, and Parisi makes the ride worthwhile.

For previous sandwiches, check out the Our Weekly Bread archive.

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