We love our MINI Cooper, but every once in a while something requires us to have to visit a dealer. This time, it was a warranty issue, and for various reasons we had to take it down to Mini of Peabody in Peabody, MA. However, we couldn’t really complain, it was a chance to do some shopping, test drive a nice new Mini Roadster, and find a new place to eat. Both of us were kind of craving a roast beef sandwich. And that’s a good thing, since the Boston area still has a lot of independently-owned roast beef sandwich shop (see my previous review of Billy’s, for example). This holds doubly so for the North Shore, with a dozen roast beef places within a 15 minute drive of Peabody. We ended up settling on one of the more respected ones: Nick’s Famous Roast Beef in Beverly, MA.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
Quebec isn’t just another province in Canada: it has it’s own language (Quebecois French, which, as my French colleagues like to point out, resembles Continental French, but has a distinct vocabulary and accent), it’s own culture, and, particularly, it’s own cuisine. In particular, it’s rather hard to drive through Quebec without noticing all the businesses advertising poutine (I’ll get back to the topic of poutine in my next article), Montreal-style bagels, and Montreal-style Smoked Meat (aka “viande fumée”, or even, if being a string Quebecois French constructions, “boeuf mariné”). Which brings up the question of “What is Smoked Meat?” It’s really a specific style of prepare beef. Several references claim it’s basically “pastrami”, which is closer, but isn’t quite right, either. However, it shares the basic preparation style with pastrami: the meat is spiced, cured in a brine, “smoked” (which is really more of a roasting step than a proper smoking) and, finally, steamed it until the connecting tissues within the meat break down into gelatin. Where it differs from pastrami is in the spicing and smoke, the result being something approximately halfway between corned beef and pastrami, leaving a bit more of the natural beef flavor. The best description I’ve heard is “the flavor of pastrami but the mouthfeel of corned beef”. If you like a good pastrami, you’ll like smoked meat, although it’ll be a matter of taste which one you really prefer. As far as getting smoked meat, Montreal is full of delis that specialize in it. And one of the classic places to get it Schwartz’s Deli…