Sometimes, I’m drawn into a place due to a recommendation, or a good online review. Sometimes, it’s as simple as walking down the street and seeing a line outside a place. And sometimes, the product itself is calling to you. In this case, we had just finished a rather pleasant visit to the Whitney (in it’s new location at the south end of the High Line, making it a new gem in the meatpacking district). Afterward, we were walking down Gansevoort, and found that amongst the hip nightclubs and galleries that seem to be the staple of the modern MePa (groan, at some point all the TriBeCa/SoHo like names will be taken…), is the Gansevoort indoor market, filled with all sorts of little food stalls (including, interesting, a stand selling autentico horchata de chufa, proper Valencian-style horchatas made with tigernuts). But it was walking by the stand of Cappone’s that my eye was drawn to two things: (a) a picture-perfect slab of rare, herb-crusted roast beef, and (b) the clerk at Cappone’s carving it to make a sandwich. At that moment, a proper, rare roast beef sandwich was what exactly what I was craving, so we decided to lunch there.
As far as I am concerned, a proper pastrami sandwich (or the close cousin, the Quebec “smoked meat” sandwich)is the pinnacle of a good sandwich: moist, seasoned beef that’s been brined and smoked, the resulting meat being carved to order, with a few nice slabs being served up on some good rye bread with some mustard, and maybe some kraut. As you bite into each slice, you get a little bit of meat, a little bit of fat, and, most importantly, a little bit of the salty, spicy, and smoky crust. It’s a bit like going to get some really good smoked brisket at a good Texas BBQ joint. There’s just one problem: the vast majority of places serving up pastrami sandwiches just don’t do that: they usually just slap some sort of pre-made deli meat (like Boars Head) onto some rye bread, and call it good. That’s not a bad sandwich, but it’s missing entirely too much of what makes pastrami sandwiches great. There are some places out there that are that good, and, indeed, a few of them I’ve even written up here, like Guild Fine Meats or the famous Schwartz’s. Or the ones I haven’t, like the famous Katz’s in New York City (I haven’t written up Katz’s? What the Hell is wrong with me? I’ll have to fix that…). But, hidden away on P Street in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood is a nice little gem of a deli that is doing it’s part to offer a good and proper pastrami sandwich.
Coming back from my quick trip to Canada, my return itinerary also brought me back through Burlington, so I decided to check out another newcomer to the Burlington scene: Guild Fine Meats. Guild Fine Meats is the latest storefront operation from the folks that brought you Farm House Tap and Grill and El Cortijo. Back about a year ago, their opened their fine dining steakhouse, Guild and Company, on Williston Road in South Burlington. More importantly, they also took over the Winooski warehouse that was being run by SamosaMan (who seems to have disappeared from the Vermont dining scene), and turned that into their meat commissary, where they do their own butchering, aging, and other charcuterie supporting their several businesses. Well, earlier this summer they decided to open up a retail operation selling their meats, as well as sandwiches made from them.
In late March, my brother Dan was visiting from England. Like most of his visits, he had a rather lengthy list of food items that he was craving that are difficult or impossible to find in London. These include the obvious, like a good old-fashioned American cheeseburger, and quite a few things from the Italian-American playbook, including pizza, meatballs, and a good Italian-American style sub sandwich. Well, the last of these is a little difficult to find around here as well. Sure, there are more Subways than you can shake a stick at. And most any decent gas station around here will make you up a grinder… but Dan was looking for a good, solid sub on crusty Italian bread, with some good meats and cheeses. And that’s a little harder to find, but after thinking a bit on the issue, I remembered one Italian deli we’ve got in the greater area: Marzelli’s in Newbury.
Providence is always surprising me. Anyone that has followed the Providence food scene has been aware of Farmstead (the Wayland cheese shop) and their good reputation for supplying excellent cheeses. Well, this spring the folks at Farmstead opened a small deli and sandwich shop in Downcity, one that several people were recommended that I try. So, this week, while passing through town to visit my grandpa down in Wickford, we stopped by for sandwiches…
he one thing about getting back from a 4-day cruise is that you’re not terribly hungry. After several days of heavy dinners and the like, Carol and I were ready to tone it down a little bit, and go explore South Beach while finding a nice snack to tide us over to dinner. Luckily, South Beach has no shortage of restaurants, pizza joints, and food stands, so it was mostly a matter of wandering around until we found something that tickled our fancy. What we found was Mattarello Bakery Cafe…
Okay, I admit, I’m close to running out of breakfast places to review, so I decided to start reviewing some lunch spots on days when I haven’t brought a lunch from home. However, I’m trying to focus on the more unique places, the out-of-the way spots, the locally-owned businesses, the hidden gems, and the good deals. And, most importantly, the places that are close enough to my office and fast enough that I can grab lunch, bring it back to my office in Etna, and eat it at a reasonable pace all within about 45 minutes or so. Today, it was Jake’s Market and Deli on Mechanic Street (a.k.a. the Mobil Station). What brings me to this particular gas station on a Tuesday at lunchtime? Chicken.