Dec 11, 2009

Sandwiches, Part Two: Jewish Deli Love

When I read Jill's comment below, that I'd hate Jewish deli sandwiches, I realized I had to respond. What I don't like is a WAD of meat. The correct way to make a sandwich, and they do this in a proper Jewish deli, is to slice the meat very thinly and carelessly throw it in the sandwich partly crumpled, which creates a very important ingredient: air.

So, yes, I love Jewish deli sandwiches. In particular, I love Koch's Deli. Years ago, I lived in University City and had to walk six blocks to wash my clothes. One frigid day as I dragged my cart along the icy sidewalks with my tri-weekly laundry load, wondering if I was ever going to finish my dissertation, find true love, get a job, or convince my landlady to let me use her washer, I realized I was hungry. After dropping off my laundry, I wandered next door, where I had seen a deli sign. I opened the door and a blast of home-cured pastrami aroma almost knocked me over. A huge line of happy expectant people--black, white, Asian, young and old--waited for sandwiches from two guys telling jokes while they passed around plates of fresh-cut meats and cheeses. This is it, I thought, this is the happy place. Koch's Deli has been sucking in all the local warmth, good will and optimism. So whenever I did my laundry I would get some artery-clogging sandwich with pastrami, cole slaw, and rye bread. That's also where I learned to crave black and white cookies.

Please click on that link up there, it's just like I remember. Must. Return. To Koch's.


Jill said...

I love the Jewish deli scene. I obviously can't partake in all that I used to, but the atmosphere counts, too. Those who don't know anything but my eating habits might question my Jewishness considering I'm a dairy-free vegetarian and I never liked cream cheese, not even on my bagels. Shameful. But the fact that my aunt (who married into the family) only likes a few slices of meat on her two pieces of bread for a cold cut sandwich baffles me. She'd rather have more bread than meat which is not a Jewish deli sandwich. And please, never put mayo with corned beef, pastrami, or salami. Thank you.

P.S. You should get in touch with Guy Fieri. He has a show on Food Network called Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives where he goes all over the country finding the best and strangest diners, drive-ins, and dives that people have told him about and he eats the food and goes in the kitchen and learns how to make it, etc.

MemeGRL said...

When you go, please take me with you. Or at least take my order with you! (The roast beef hoagie uses beef I'd be proud to serve my family on Christmas. And the turkey Rueben still haunts my dreams! And of course I could go on...)

Velva said...

I love the whole idea of a Jewish Deli with sandwiches and everything else in between. I was raised on Miami Beach and have had the pleasure of discovering and enjoying many jewish traditions.
This was a great post.