Being engaged to a Jewish girl has it's perks. One of the best is the wealth of food and culture I was rarely exposed to in my formative years growing up catholic in south jersey. She has brought to me a love of bagels (not the frozen Lenders crap from shoprite), knishes, matzo ball soup, hamantaschen & brisket (her grandmom makes it best).
The metaphorical cherry on top of all that savory goodness though, is the pastrami sandwich. Immitation is the highest form of flattery, and you see "pastrami" sandwiches on almost every deli and diner menu. Take a ride on the Megabus up to NY, and you'll see what the real thing is all about. It must be served hot, and has to have been carved just before assembly on fresh rye bread. The juices from the meat should be messy and worth sopping up with extra bread. Famous 4th Street Deli has the best in the city that I've tasted thus far - although I've got a lot of work to do on checking out other offerings. Koch's deli at 43rd & Locust, and Delicatessen at 7th & Chestnut are on my list.
Famous 4th Street serves theirs with about a 1-1/2 lbs of hot pastrami, some spicy mustard and those free pickles that get you warmed up for the meal. The fiancee orders extra bread, so she can have another sandwich with the extra meat later on. Food baby doesn't roll that way - it's all or nothing. So put on your eatin' pants and prepare for a nap afterwards. If you knock this thing out in one sitting, you've earned a rest. Enjoy.
Food Baby Rating:
Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen
700 South 4th Street (4th & Bainbridge)