The Perfect Sandwich

tostitos.jpg I can’t help it.  I really can’t. 

When I go into a grocery store and I put an avocado in my cart, I think “Ohmigoshwhatif someonecomesoverandwantschips too?” And so I go and buy chips.  Two kinds.  Because what if a friend has a craving for blue corn instead of yellow?  G-d forbid I should not have blue corn tortilla chips in the house.  That’s thought one. 

Thought two is more like “hmm, never heard of that before.  Maybe it would add a nice kick to stir-fry.”  And so I put the odd looking, non-English labeled jar into the cart, too.  

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41-french-laundry.jpg frenchlaundryinside.jpgI went to the French Laundry restaurant located in the Napa region (specifically, Yountville, California) in 1996 and haven’t been able to get a reservation since – at least until a week ago.  Of course, that’s what happens when a chef later becomes tops in the U.S. and his restaurant is voted tops in the world.  But with one day’s notice, I was told my group of four were in. Pack your dinner jacket we were told.  They should’ve added cash out your 401k and clean out your savings account with a scrub brush.  The price to party was now $240 per person for a nine course tasting menu (two options: Chef’s and Vegetarian) not including wine – a decent bottle (not a case) of which will cost you $200 more.  

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zings1.jpg I have a vivid memory of my parents entertaining friends on Christmas Eve in 1982.  My mother threw all of her Protestant tradition out the kitchen window and ordered Zingerman’s pastrami on rye sandwiches with giant garlic pickles.  I was enthralled by this rebellion at age six, although I had no understanding of what pastrami was. I just knew it was special.

The ingenious ingredients and thoughtful, bountiful preparation is half of the magic pf the pastrami sandwich.  The other half is the Zingerman's magic, the palpable feeling of community provided by the owners, Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, who instill in all of their endeavors a familial rhapsody. (I have dined at the Roadhouse and had Ari come to the table to fill up my water glass more than a few times…enough said).  In a town high on intellect,  Zingerman’s employment is looked upon as social cache (or junior college).

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NathansHotDog.jpg My dad was a two job guy.  We lived in a representative, working class neighborhood in Brooklyn, which was to me, the paradise of the world.  Representative I learned years later meant not just Jewish people, like us, but an equal mix of almost everything else.  The working class is obvious.

My dad worked at a brokerage house on Wall Street as a runner from 9 to 3.  That was his first job.  His second job was at the Morgan Annex branch of the US Post Office, in mid-town Manhattan.  He had started at the PO as a teen-ager, and was in it for the longest possible haul, a modest pension being the carrot at the end of his rainbow.  His hours on that job were 4 pm to mid-night.  He rode the subway to work.  He never owned a car.  Once in a long while he got driven home. 

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"Whether you’re an avid Grilled Cheese lover or want to whip up something totally indulgent (and worth it) with one of summer’s finest foods—lobster- you'll want to make this amazing recipe courtesy of Iron Chef Marc Forgione. Forgione’s unique twist on the classic grilled cheese makes the perfect mouth-watering meal."

Lobster Grilled Cheese courtesy of Marc Forgione and T-fal

lobstergrilledcheese

Ingredients:

For the Chili Lobster:

2 cups Lobster Stock (If you can’t find Lobster Stock, get seafood stock, which should be available at Whole Foods or Fox & Obels)

4 (1 1/2 pound) lobsters, claws removed
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 2 limes
6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
4 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
8 slices of fontina cheese
4 slices Pullman Loaf or other high-quality thick sliced white bread (1” thick)

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