Thursday, September 3, 2009

Memphis Minnie's and Golden Gate Meat Company

Hello all my loyal pastrami subjects,

I have gotten a few different types of responses to starting this blog. Some people think it's really awesome. Some people think I'm ridiculous and laugh at me. One friend told me to watch out for the foodies, they'll get upset! Closer friends of mine have lauded this blog's launch as a success and a great way for me to outlet my pastrami knowledge.

I have been busy this past week looking at new sandwiches to feature in this next post. My first visit was last Saturday to the San Francisco Ferry Building, which houses The Golden Gate Meat Company. It was a scorcher and I left from Pacifica worrying about how I would manage to get a parking spot down by the Ferry Building. Luckily, it wasn't too bad. I drove all the way down Mission and parked by Steuart Street, two blocks away from the destination. It was a convenient place to park as there was a Walgreen's right next door and I went in to buy a soda to get change for parking. The lady was very understanding and gave me two dollars in quarters which gave me about 40-50 minutes. That's just enough time to get my sandwich and enjoy it by the pier!

It was about 2 P.M. and the farmer's market people were cleaning up their stands while still trying to get that last minute sale before ending the day. I had tunnel vision for my pastrami. The Golden Gate Meat Company is located in the actual Ferry building, not on the outside, towards the North end of the building. It can be very intimidating; crowded with alot of noise on the weekends, but I managed to find the place alright. I heard some good things about this hot pastrami on yelp, plus I had made the pilgrimage to the Embarcadero. I was expecting great things. I ordered the pastrami and I saw the guy grab a roll and grab some pastrami out of a heated dry bin...this is a big no no. Proper pastrami should either be kept steaming or freshly sliced. To add insult to injury there were absolutely no fixings to be offered except for mustard. No rye bread, no Russian dressing, no tomatoes, no coleslaw...what gives? With a drink and a bag of chips, I believe it came to 9$ which is pretty reasonable. I went and found a near by bench outside of the building with a view of the Bay Bridge and began the pastrami analysis.

It was pretty weak. The pastrami was thin and a little chopped up. It tasted more like hot beef than hot pastrami to me; it lacked that "cured" meat flavor that corned beef or pastrami has. PASTRAMI FAIL! This was a below average pastrami sandwich, by the King's standards. I feel like this is the type of pastrami sandwich someone from New York would try and would say "This place doesn't have any good delis. They wouldn't know a good pastrami if it slapped them in the face." Speaking of pastrami sandwiches smacking people in the face, have you seen the new preview for the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? It's based on a children's book written in the seventies. In the book a town's food supply comes from the weather. It would come three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Falling snow was actually mash potatoes, the rain was either juice or soup, winds would rustle up hamburgers and other falling foods. All you had to do was come outside and catch it. Eventually it becomes out of control and a Tornado made of tomato sauce combined with large boulder sized meatballs end up crushing the town. The locals float to safety on a piece of bread and begin a new life in a place where they buy food in grocery stores instead of it falling from the sky. The movie preview seems to globalize the food falling epidemic, as I saw the Eiffel tower essentially being turned into a toothpick for a ham and cheese sandwich while a large corn on the cobb was rolling up and down the Great Wall of China. I saw this movie ad and I couldn't be help but daydreaming about pastrami sandwiches flying from the sky. Everyone on earth deserves a well made pastrami sandwich to fall out of the sky into their laps...just at 12:30-1 PM time. How great would that be?

The second pastrami sandwich I had this past week from Memphis Minnie's on Haight Street in between Steiner and Fillmore. Memphis Minnie's isn't known for their pastrami, they're a BBQ joint. When you enter Memphis, you notice the quirky decorations. There are pigs all over the place on the wall, flying from the ceiling, on the counter...they pride themselves in ribs, pulled pork and Texas BBQ beef brisket. I think their brisket is the best I've ever had, another place I can remember off hand that could shake a stick at it was Jake's Roadhouse in Monrovia, CA. As far as the Bay Area Gorilla BBQ in Pacifica and Great American BBQ in Alameda do a pretty good BBQ beef brisket, but I think Memphis takes the brisket belt. It's a bit surprising a place that specializes in pulled pork would serve pastrami sandwiches. They only serve this sandwich on Wednesdays and I had it about a year ago and didn't think it was all that great, it was the same bread with the same red BBQ sauce they used on the brisket sandwich so it didn't separate itself from the pack very well. However several weeks ago I notice a new sign advertising the addition of a Reuben sandwich that came on rye bread, with sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese. I took note and promised myself I would come back to try it soon. I came in last Wednesday and ordered one pastrami sandwich on a roll, with Russian dressing only, side order of coleslaw and one of the new Reuben sandwiches. I was pleasantly surprised, Mr. Bob Kantor stepped up his pastrami game! The rye bread was toasted and crispy with lots of melting Swiss cheese, more cheese than usual. The sauerkraut was mild, not overpowering like some can be and the Russian dressing was perfectly creamy, not too red.

Pastrami on roll at beginning

Pastrami with Memphis' slaw, Colorful!

The new hotness, Reuben sandwich

The pastrami at Memphis Minnie's is a different take on pastrami. It's smoked, not cured the way traditional pastrami is. You can tell it's brown in color and not red. However, with the Russian dressing I could very much tell the difference between the brisket and the pastrami. The pastrami does have a cured flavor that is obtained somehow by Mr. Kantor. I will have to chat him up next time I see him in there and talk to him about how he makes his pastrami, because it's very unique and yummy. I highly suggest you make a trip to Memphis Minnie's on Wednesdays and try out their new Reuben or the regular pastrami on a roll. Next time you come in you can try the brisket, and trust me there will be a next time!

That's all for now, folks. For the next post I plan to upload a paper I wrote for a class last semester. The class was called Biography of a City: New York. Instead of taking the final I chose the other option of writing a term paper. I did a history of delis, although the subject matter had no academic value, I received a high grade on it and I think some of the information presents a small overview of the different neighborhoods in New York City as well as the interesting history of delis in America and their origin.

Please e-mail feedback, comments, questions, suggestions of places to try to Yelp reviews can be found at

1 comment:

Photon Bombs said...