Eat it: Chicken Cutlet Panino @ Calandra’s Bakery

No doubt you’ve seen goods from Calandra’s Bakery in your local supermarket, but we suggest heading to the motherland (or lands, as it were; there are three locations) to experience the full breadth of what this Italian bakery and market has to offer.

We stopped by the Caldwell spot (the other locations are in Newark and Fairfield) recently to peruse the large menu of deli sandwiches, panini, pizza and entrees. Chef Henry recommended the chicken cutlet panino, and we’re not about to disagree with Chef Henry.

Tender, pounded chicken breast is lightly breaded and fried and then placed atop fresh bread (it’s baked every hour, Calandra’s is quick to tell you), with marinated peppers, a substantial amount of fresh mozzarella, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s all pressed together, creating a bite balanced in texture and flavor—crispy bread, creamy cheese and tender chicken, with the fat of the cheese and the slightly sweet, brightly acidic vinegar playing perfectly together.

Of course, we couldn’t leave without a visit to the bakery. We were basic in opting for the chocolate chip cookie, but like all good Italian food, simple is always best. A buttery chewy, cookie abundantly studded with chocolate chips; we ended up going back for another one. Go here.

Calandra’s Bakery. Newark, Caldwell and Fairfield.