A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 03, 2008
Panini (sandwich)

"Panini” (plural) or “panino” (singular") is Italian for “roll(s).” The sandwich included with that bread roll also began to be called a “panino” or “panini” sandwich. The sandwich ingredients usually contain a variety of Italian meats and cheeses.

Panini sandwiches were especially popular in Milan, Italy in the 1980s. “Paninis” (an English misnomer, since “panini” is plural) were offered by several New York City Italian restaurants since at least 1976, but became widely available in New York’s delis and restaurants by the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Wikipedia: Panini (sandwich)
A panini (plural) or panino (singular) (pronounced /pəˈniːnoʊ/) is a sandwich made from a small loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta. The loaf is often cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, meat, cheese or other food, and sometimes served hot. A grilled panino is buttered on the outside and grilled in a press.

The word “panino” [pa’ni:no] is Italian (literally meaning small bread roll), with the plural panini. “Panini” is often used in a singular sense by speakers of English and French, and pluralised catachrestically into “paninis”.

In Italian, panino refers properly to a bread roll and a “panino imbottito” (literally “stuffed panino") to a sandwich; so a paninoteca is a sandwich bar. In Central Italy, there is a popular version of panino which is filled with porchetta, i.e. slices of roasted pork.

During the 1980s, the term paninaro (slang term originally born to indicate maker and seller of panini, or its shop, and then extended to its patrons as well) was used to denote a youngsters’ culture typical of teenagers supposed to eat and meet in sandwich bars such as Milan’s Al Panino and then in the first US-style fast food being opened in Italy in the mid-80s. Paninari were depicted as fashion-fixated, vapid individuals, delighting in showcasing early 80s status symbols such as Timberland shoes, Moncler accessories, Ray-Ban sunglasses and articles from Armani, Coveri, Controvento. They were lampooned in the Italia 1 comedy show Drive-in by Enzo Braschi. A track entitled “Paninaro” appears on Pet Shop Boys’ albums Disco and Alternative.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
panini, n.
[< Italian panini, plural of panino bread roll (1837) < pane bread (see PANETTONE n.) + -ino -INE suffix4.
The Italian plural form panini began to be interpreted as singular in English use in the late 20th cent. (cf. quot. 1985 at main sense); this was soon followed by the appearance of the English plural form paninis. The forms with -nn- do not exist in Italian.]
In Italy: a small bread roll, typically eaten at breakfast or filled as a sandwich. Elsewhere, now also: esp. a sandwich made from a small flat loaf of Italian-style bread (or, less commonly, a baguette), usually served toasted.
1955 H. KUBLY Amer. in Italy 331 Along the tracks brown men lunching on panini stuffed with cheese and greens..waved purple bottles of wine at the train.
1964 Russ. Rev. 23 153 Dostoevsky worked nights and slept late, so they probably were served with coffee and a pannino shortly before noon.
1983 N.Y. Times 13 Nov. X. 14/2 Also available were panini, prepackaged sandwiches.
1985 Toronto Star (Nexis) 3 Oct. D12 A nifty-looking espresso bar where you can get a variety of great coffees, a slice of pizza or a great panini.
1991 Nation’s Restaurant News (Nexis) 23 Dec. 12 Italian sandwiches served on baguettes called paninis.

Italy—Handbook for Travellers
by Karl Baedeker
Northern Italy
Leizig: Karl Baedker, Publisher
Roll (panino)5, with butter (pane e burro) 20 c.

Google Books
Nicolo Machiavelli, the Florentine
by Giuseppe Prezzolini and Ralph Roeder
New York, NY: Brentano’s
Pg. ?:
She has been up and prepared: four boiled eggs, two panini gravidi (what nations deficient in sexual fancies call sandwiches), a nice round slice of goat’s ...

Google Books
Italy in 1963
by Eugene Fodor
New York, NY: David McKay Company
Pg. 422:
Coffee and a sandwich.
Un caffe en un panino.

OCLC WorldCat record
Panini & sandwiches
by Gianni Bonacina
Type:  Book; Italian
Publisher: Roma, Del Bosco, 1973.

7 October 1976, New York (NY) Times, pg. 77:
The menu will offer stylish Italianate salads and panini sandwiches…
(Caffe Orsini on 56th Street—ed.)

14 April 1982, New York (NY) Times, pg. 8 Q&A:
A. (...) Speaking of Italian foods, many readers wrote in about an earlier reference to “panini.” I stated that the only recipe for panini that I could uncover in my research was for panini di pasqua, or Easter breads. Panini, I was told, is simply the plural of the Italian panino, an overall word for rolls. One reader wrote that “the sandwiches you get on small rolls in cafes in Italy are ‘panini imbotiti’—stuffed rolls.”

9 September 1984, New York (NY) Times, pg. XX6:
..., soups, panini (tiny sandwiches filled with Cipriani favorites such as Carpaccio, chicken salad and spectacular prosciutto).
(At Harry’s Bar in Venice—ed.)

10 February 1999, New York (NY) Times, pg. F9
The panini are particularly good, with combinations like cacciatorini, an earthy dried sausage, with goat cheese and tapenade; coppa ham with hot peppers and arugula, and roast chicken with tomatoes and Asiago cheese. The press, the culinary equivalent of a dry cleaner’s press, gives the ciabata an irresistible griddled texture and makes each sandwich a compact package, which I prefer to the typical overstuffed sandwich.
(At ‘ino, 21 Bedford Street, near Downing Street, Greenwich Village--ed.)

15 September 1999, New York (NY) Times, pg. F2:
Panini With A Difference,
Once Seen Only in Milan

A New York branch of a legendary Italian sandwich shop has opened on the Upper East Side. Via Quadronno, 25 East 73d Street, is patterned on the original paninoteca that was started 30 years ago on Via Quadronno in Milan and attracted cutting-edge tastemakers despite an out-of-the-way location. It was such a money maker that the owner, Hans Pauli, wound up buying Sant’Ambroeus in Milan and opening Sant’Ambroeus branches in New York and Southampton, N.Y. Now, he has introduced his heated Italian sandwiches to New York.

Unlike most of the panini sold around the city, which are made on soft rolls, Via Quadronno’s come on rustic bread, similar to ciabata, making them more of a meal. There are more than 30 varieties, from $5.50 to $13.50, including some open-face tartines. The panini range from simple prosciutto to more inventive combinations like Non Ti Scordar di Me (Forget Me Not); Brie, speck (like Canadian bacon) and pate.

New York (NY) Times
The Next Best Things in Sliced Bread
Published: April 30, 2008
NEW YORK has long been a city of stand-up eaters, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t picky. To make it here, a sandwich has to work overtime, being portable, filling, interesting and tasty.

“What’s better than a really great sandwich?” said Alexandra Raij, the chef at Tía Pol and El Quinto Pino, who is hosting a sandwich potluck for friends at her apartment next week. “Nothing that I’ve ever made.”

It should be noted that Ms. Raij is the inventor of several memorable sandwiches, including one filled with sea urchin and drizzled with fragrant mustard oil. But with all respect to her uni panini, it is not a real New York sandwich. Slim and precise, it lacks the compressed, complete pleasures of the Cuban sandwich, the heft and chew of a fully loaded gyro, the cool crunch of a Vietnamese banh mi.

April 30, 2008
The City’s Best Between the Bread
We’ve got some damn tasty sandwiches in this city, no doubt about it. So today the Times gives New Yorkers a collective pat on the back, surveying seven high points in our spectacular sandwich landscape, including Taim’s green falafel, the Knish Press (a sandwich composed in a split knish) from Press 195, and – in a surprise nod to nearby Montclair – the Benny Mac (a heart-attack-inducing chicken cutlet sub topped with mac-and-cheese, barbecue sauce and bacon).

Interestingly, the best sandwich Times critic Frank Bruni has ever had in his life – El Quinto Pino’s uni panini – is deemed too dainty to meet reporter Julia Moskin’s stringent sandwich qualifications. More uni for Bruni.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 03, 2008 • Permalink