Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guerra Quality Meats, Attman's Reuben Dip

Happy May, pastrami fans! I have an excellent installment for you this month. I tried and perfected a deli recipe from the book America's Great Deli: Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast and also visited an Italian Deli - Guerra Quality Meats on Taraval Street in San Francisco. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I did eating the good food.

 Reuben Dip @ Yelp Softball Game

This is the lovely Reuben dip I made for two parties. The recipe was taken from an old-school Baltimore deli named Attman's. They're known for their succulent corned beef. The hardest thing about this recipe was finding the large round 12" rye bread.

Here is the recipe from the book.

 2 pounds corned beef, chopped
1 pound shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup ketchup
4 tablespoons mustard
½ cup chopped yellow onions
½ cup sweet pickle relish
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 12-inch round Russian rye bread, for serving
1 loaf rye bread, cubed for serving

Place the beef, Swiss cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, relish, cream cheese, and sour cream in a large bowl and stir to combine well. Cut the top off of a round Russian rye bread. Scoop out the inside of bread. Add dip to hollowed-out bread and serve with the cubed rye bread. Refrigerate until it is served.

I made a few changes to the recipe that I would like to suggest to you. I used an unspecified amount of mustard in my Reuben dip (seasoned to taste), because when I tasted it the first time around I just thought it needed more of a kick...could be just me. Also, get a good cream cheese - the first time I used Lucerne from Safeway because it was on sale - not as good as the Russian Viola cream cheese I picked up in the Russian Supermarket out on Geary Ave. That is also where I found the Russian Rye bread - in the Richmond District, the area known as "Little Russia" which runs on Geary between 14th and 26th Avenue. The specific shop I found the Rye bread was called Gastronome. All the other shops in the neighborhood had rye bread, but the problem was finding it unsliced.  Walked right in the door at Gastronome and I saw it! A large, round, unsliced Russian Rye loaf. Eureka! The lady rang me up at the counter and I paid cash and at the end of the transaction she asked in an accent "Would you like me to slice your bread?" - NO!!!!! If anyone else knows another place to get an unsliced large round rye in SF - please leave a comment. My last suggestion -  get corn chips or bagel chips for dipping. They suggest a loaf of rye bread cubed up - but then you need toothpicks and honestly they tasted better with corn chips...one person suggested bagel chips and I thought that was a good idea, but I have yet to try it.

The first party I took this dip to was a birthday party for my good friends Heather and Jessica - it was bad movie night and "Snakes on a Plane" was the winner of the voting process. When I brought in the dip, they hadn't quite gotten the other appetizers out. When I put the Reuben dip down people pretty much mob attacked it. The second time I made it - I knew what I as doing a little better and I think it came out slightly better than the first. That was the one I brought to the Softball game. People loved it there as much as they did the other party - all the girls were exclaiming how much they loved my ""creamy meat".....well at least one girl said that.

Guerra Quality Meats is a place where salami proudly hangs from the drying rack - a true Italian deli. A new friend - Jon B. suggested this place to me. I was happy to "meat" him on a Sunday afternoon....being in the Sunset District - it was nice and foggy.

On walking in - you see their awesome display counter which has loads of goodies  either to cook or just eat right there. Deviled Eggs? Don't mind if I do.

They also had an awesome butcher shop in the counter. This place has way better cuts of meat compared to the Safeway a few blocks away. I saw their Marin Sun Grass farms - that's local, organic beef - hard to beat. I don't know if that's where all their meat comes from (probably not) but they promise on their website that the beef comes from "from quality local providers."

I came in with the crown on because Jon wanted to see it - the owner thought it was pretty ridiculous and busted my chops a little bit. Sometimes you have to make a scene if you want to get noticed. I don't think the workers will forget me and a couple of them took my pastrami blog card - hopefully they're reading this. Jon also ordered a sandwich and we took them to the hood of my car to discuss life and playoff basketball. Ugh...my Lakers. Ugh.

I ended up ordering a pastrami on Dutch Crunch with Swiss cheese, mustard, tomatoes and a bit of lettuce. That's not a traditional Jewish pastrami (which are my favorite), but this Italian style pastrami was my favorite Italian Deli pastrami I've had. It was lighter, more delicate and not as salty...but still peppery on the outside. You can tell it's fairly lean and thin sliced - which is nice when you want it that way. I also got a side of macaroni salad - which was awesome. It has more vinegar and oil mixed in it and less mayonnaise but I think there was still a little bit of mayo in there to discern it from a regular pasta salad.

If you're ever on the L-line traveling from West Portal to Taraval you'll see Guerra as you turn onto Taraval Street - Get off the train and get a sandwich if it's a nice afternoon. I'll probably go back soon to try another sandwich from their menu - perhaps a prosciutto or coppa. Thanks Jon for meeting me there and pointing out a new spot to check out!

Please leave a comment if you liked this post or if you tried out the recipe. I would love to hear from you! Pastramiking@gmail.com , @Pastramiking on twitter, and my yelp address is pastramiking.yelp.com. Enjoy the Spring sunshine until next time.


theTsaritsa said...

I love real Italian delis! Will check out Guerra :)

Razzle Dazzle said...

Your Majesty, I'd love to make some Reuben Dip. However, it would be wise for me to watch you make it first.

yausser said...

You know, food layout and photography can be a profession. I think you'd do very well laying out and shooting food. With the pastrami dip, you get to eat it, too!
I especially like the bread, but wait, who tears it up and eats it?

w1wc said...

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/170406 There is going to be a discussion on Delis @ the JCC in the East Bay!