A co-worker’s birthday brought me and my fellow worker bees to The Hat for a festive lunch. I’ve visited this 63-year-old palace of pastrami twice prior, but didn’t swoon until this time around. Hello, Grilled Cheese with Pastrami!
Archive for the 'Jewish' Category
The Astronomer and I road tripped to the city by the bay this past President’s Day weekend. While the bulk of our days were filled with catching up with friends and family, we were able to sneak in one food-centric outing: Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen. I love Jewish delis, both old school and new, so I was excited to taste this latest San Francisco treat.
Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, the two guys behind the operation, met in 2003 while studying at UC Berkeley. According to 7x7SF, the two threw a weekly 250-person barbecue for Hillel House, the Jewish student center, which led to a pop-up that eventually graduated into a stand at the Tuesday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. In February of last year, they opened Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen on 24th Street in the Mission.
The deli is run in fast-casual fashion, with a line snaking out the door most of the time. Since it was our first visit to Wise Sons, we took advantage of the extra few minutes to digest the menu and to make some tough decisions.
Before boarding our flight home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I lunched at Mile End Sandwich to get a taste of Noah Bernamoff and Rae Cohen’s Montreal-style Jewish comfort food. The couple, he a Montrealer and she a New Yorker, opened the original Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in 2010.
This tidy storefront north of Houston serves an abbreviated menu with over a dozen different sandwiches, seasonal salads, and poutine on offer. We placed our order at the counter and the food was delivered to the table as soon as it was ready.
Mile End, by the way, is the name of Montreal’s historically working-class Jewish quarter.
The “Hot Pastrami Sandwich” ($12), hand-cut Montreal smoked meat served on Orwasher’s rye, could not have looked any more enticing.
The adorably portioned sandwich was stacked tall with thick, tender, beautifully seasoned slices of smoked meat. A touch of mustard kept the protein’s richness in check, bringing balance to the entire creation.
I’ve passed by Katz’s Delicatessen dozens of times over the years while striding down Houston toward the East River for a run, but never sat down for a proper pastrami sandwich until my latest jaunt to the big city.
The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Miho, Cousin Jackie, and Jackie’s boyfriend Aaron, descended upon this New York City institution (est. 1888) for an early Saturday dinner. The crowd wasn’t too robust at this hour, which proved to be a good thing for this group of Katz’s newbies because things work a little differently ’round here…
We were each handed a paper ticket as we walked through the front door. The placards hanging from the ceiling directed us to the various ordering counters. There was a separate queue for each course—appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, and drinks. While this somewhat archaic and chaotic ordering system worked fine for us, it was nice to know that there were a few seats reserved in the dining room for full table service if need be.
As soon as I made my way to the front of the line, my sandwich was constructed right before my eyes. Best of all were the scraps of pastrami that the sandwich artist passed my way to make the wait a tastier one. No cash was exchanged at this point—just a scribble on my ticket and I was set to find a seat.