Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cold Borscht/Hot Pastrami

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.


chux said...

An english sandwich is just pathetic in comparison! I'm not sure about the cold broth, not my sort of thing. A nice hearty soup especially chicken on a cold day is heavenly. I'm very conservative with my sandwich fillings. For years I wouldnt eat what I called 'fussy foods', anything spicy, creamy or hot. So the fact I have meyo on a 'Sarnie' is an accomplishment for me. So chicken and stuffing with Mayo is a nice treat.

Would like to try out that Deli, it scares me that they dont show the prices on the menu!

Elsie said...

Our deli(s) here must have stolen a page from a New York City deli. The sandwiches seem about the same -- scrumptious. I've never seen borscht on a deli menu here, though! And the pickle bar thing -- I could definitely go for that!

MaryB said...

True, chux. But you do a mean fish and chips and Yorkshire pud. I love hot soup as well, but I'm a sucker for gazpacho and other cold soups. You may be too fussy an eater to enjoy NYC food. And re: the prices, nothing out of the ordinary and downright cheap for you folks across the pond, who pay double what we do for just about everything. C'mon over, and I'll treat!

Elsie - well, next time you're in New York we can do a tour of pickle bars! Woo-hoo!

Anonymous said...

We have a wonderful place her which has authentic New York deli style subs , etc. The owner is from Brooklyn. His food rivals the Carnagie wife says so . But my favorite place is in Nashville. They serve homemade pickles at the Noshville Deli..A great touch of NY down south...JMB

Anonymous said...

Whenever I was working in either the Northpoint area or in Birmingham, the place for lunch was always Jason's Deli. Even our resident New York Jewish salesman would say, "Not bad for deli this far south".

MaryB said...

Jay and Bro - it's good to know you can get a good pastrami, even in the South (if you look real hard)!