As much as I long for real, honest-to-goodness fried chicken and other delicacies of Southern cuisine, there are some fundamental New York eatin’s that I truly relish. Like cold borscht and hot pastrami sandwiches.
Last week I discovered Bloom’s Deli, corner of Lex and 40th, on my way to a doctor’s appointment. The beauty of living in a place where your feet are your main mode of transport is that you can make little sparkly findings like Bloom’s as you trudge from one place to the next. Anyway, after my appointment I nipped into the deli for lunch.
The day was cold, and so was the borsht. Cold and sweet and spicy and absolutely delicious. Craveably delicious. Tiny diced beets sat at the bottom of a sweet, thin broth. I passed on the sour cream dollop because, well, that just would’ve been gilding the lily, and needlessly wreck my diet. God bless the Lithuanian Jews for bringing this dish to Manhattan delis! Mmmmmm. I could become seriously addicted to the stuff.
So addicted, in fact, that when I came upon Bloom’s near the end of my midtown saunter yesterday, I had to go in for more. The borscht was excellent, of course. I expected nothing less. But I added a classic hot pastrami on rye to the mix. Hey. I’d been power-walking for an hour-and-a-half and needed nourishment.
Now, a New York sandwich is not built like a sandwich anywhere else. New York completely reverses the huge bun-little piece of meat version offered most places. New York sandwiches are mostly meat – 2 or 3 inches of meat – on regular-sized sliced bread (white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, etc.). So my hot pastrami arrived stacked high. It was perfect. A little squirt of hot mustard made it more perfect. I had to take half the sandwich to-go, such was the size of the thing.
And did I mention the pickle bar? Another thing New Yorkers are proud of are their pickles. And rightfully so. A healthy variety spread before you – just take your pick. And lovely cole slaw (not the creamy, gooey kind).
Cold borscht. Hot pastrami. Pickles. Cole slaw. Hearty food for a late-winter’s day.