Friday, January 13, 2012

National Pastrami Day 2012 - Miller's East In San Rafael

National Pastrami day is here! January 14th is the date started originally by Togo's several years ago. This year Togo's is actually offering sandwiches to someone for a whole year in a contest known as  the "Pastrami Challenge". Someone will win the contest by eating one of their two and half foot long sandwiches filled with over a pound of pastrami. Whoa!

I've been celebrating the holiday for the past 3 years and I plan to go to The Refuge tomorrow for the holiday. I know it's a busy weekend and the 49ers play tomorrow, but please find some time this weekend to honor the national holiday. While you're enjoying your pastrami reflect on past, present and future pastrami sandwiches And what they mean to you. To me it means good food with family + friends and always reminds me of my grandpa at Langer's.

I was lucky enough to try the new Miller's East Coast Deli in San Rafael this past Tuesday. They were only open to friends and family as they opened a little too early and were unable to quell the demand of the North bay pastrami urge and had to shut down for some fine-tuning. The official reopen will be this Saturday, just in time for National Pastrami Day.

We showed up around 6:30 for our dinner and  Robby Morgenstein, owner of Miller's, also came by to say hi. For appetizers we got the stuff cabbage roll and well as two Empire sodas - one cream flavored and one cola flavored.

Cabbage Roll

The cabbage roll was very flavorful and I enjoyed the meat and rice on the inside of the stuffed roll. My girl said the tomatoes may have been canned, but that didn't seem to bother me. The cream soda was just OK, but the Cola was a real winner and I would recommend it to anyone who comes in the restaurant. Cel-ray or Black Cheery Dr. Brown sodas are also excellent, but you should give the Empire Cola a chance.

I got a corned beef and pastrami sandwich and my lady did the same but got it Reuben style toasted with sauerkraut. I actually liked her sandwich better.

My Sandwich

Reuben with Corned Beef and Pastrami

I could tell they were working some things out in the kitchen as they weren't sure they could do a half pastrami/half corned beef Reuben and they had to confirm the cooks could do that. They'll be better in a few weeks as far as knowing the menu and serving the food, however the taste is excellent and tastes similar to that of the Miller's East Coast on Polk. I recommend trying this place soon, but perhaps wait a few weeks for the initial buzz of the first Jewish Deli in the North Bay to calm down before expecting to get your sandwich in under 10 minutes. It'll be busy at the start and I hope they are more prepared for the pastrami demand for their reopening. More business is good, we're "Saving the Deli" in the Bay Area.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jim's Burgers, Tommy's Pastrami, Reuben Balls, Miller's New Location

Happy New Year from the Pastrami King!

This installment of the Pastrami blog I tried to find the best pastrami sandwich in the Central Coast of California. With suggestions from yelp, I tried a place called Jim's Burgers in Santa Maria, CA.

Jim's Pastrami

The owner of Jim's is a gruff, rough around the edges. He tried to charge us an extra 50 cents for mayonnaise which is ridiculous when I'm already ordering a sandwich with fries and a drink, but it is his business. He sliced the pastrami with a machine slicer and brought it to our table. My company had recently been to the Refuge in San Carlos, as well as Miller's East in SF and this was the first time she had tried some fast food pastrami. She was disappointed, as was I. The machine-sliced pastrami was the same kind of LA fast food pastrami they serve at The Hat or Johnny's Pastrami (which I reviewed in my old LA post), but this was not taken care of as much and it was drier and less flavorful than the previously mentioned LA fast-food pastrami joints.

 Tommy's Pastrami

On the flip side of the fast food pastrami section - I went to the Tommy's Pastrami in Hemet, California. Although it was the same lower quality fast food pastrami, it was much better because they took proper care of the meat. It had it's own steam locker and when you ordered the pastrami the worker would take the pastrami from the steamer and then grill it for a small amount of time before serving it. The result was a delicately soft pastrami that still tasted like hot dogs, but at least they got the texture right! I wouldn't recommend either Jim's pastrami or Tommy's pastrami to a Jewish deli fan - however I think it has it's place.

Reuben Balls

Deli Board made these beauties and called them "Reuben Balls". They featured corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and some other stuff. It was like a Reuben egg roll. Check the Deli Board menu daily as they have been having them from time to time as well as other awesome specials.

Miller's East Coast Deli is set to open up their San Rafael location this week and I hope the Marin area is ready for that rye goodness. Please go visit the new location that will feature the always lovely Sy Ginsburg pastrami from Michigan. They're truly one of my favorite delis in the city and I wish them all the best with their new location.
Le Smoked Meat

This picture was sent to me from a yelper who has been making his own smoked meat. Thanks Jordan for the awesome photos. I would love to try a small piece of it next time!

National Pastrami Day is January 14th. Mark your calendars and make your plans to have pastrami sometime that weekend - as I know sometimes it's hard to get to your pastrami spots on Sunday. Make sure when having your sandwich you remember the past pastrami sandwiches as well as the future pastrami sandwiches and what this holiday truly means to you. To me - it means smoky, spicy, meaty goodness. What does it mean to you? Leave a comment and let me know :)