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Sorry Food Truck Friday missed a week (and that I continuously fail to post it on a Friday). There were a variety of circumstances that kept me away from the deliciousness on wheels, the biggest of which was Halloween draining my wallet. Do not fret though! Your weekly dose of mobile nosh is back. This week’s installment is…

Canter’s Delicatessen

Not my picture. It's too nice. This is pulled from their website.

I had heard a lot of hype about Canter’s, and I knew they’ve been around for a while so they must be doing something right. Well, let’s just say, they most definitely are. Canter’s has been serving up old-fashioned deli sandwiches since 1931. With 80 years of sandwich crafting experience under their belts, they don’t mess around. I knew things were going to go well as soon as a I looked at the menu. The first thing I saw was that underneath the heading “Sandwiches” was the word “with.” I love when things come with other things. I don’t care what it is—chips, dipping sauce, some sort of salad, whatever. After “with” came “pickles.” Yeessssss. I love pickles. But wait, there’s more. Next came “&.” Pickles & something else?! Following the “&” was your choice…your choice…of coleslaw or potato salad. You get to pick! Incredible. All of this excitement, and I haven’t even got to the actual menu items yet. Lucky for you, I picked the first thing, or else we could be here all day. Pastrami. That’s all it said. No explanations, no apologies, just “Pastrami……..$8.50”. Now, I did balk a little at the price. I don’t like paying more than $7 for food. That’s just my magic number, for whatever reason, but I sucked it up because they were going to throw in pickles and a side. I ordered it with the suggested rye bread, and opted in for mustard. I even decided to pay fifty cents extra so I could try both the coleslaw and the potato salad, for the sake of blogging, of course. My food came lightning fast, despite there being a bit of a line. I sat down and unpacked my bag of wonders, not sure what to expect. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had pastrami on rye before. I removed the lids from the coleslaw and potato salad, unwrapped my precious pickle spears, and last, unveiled the sandwich. Things were looking promising.

I let the anticipation build, first tasting the coleslaw and the potato salad. Perfectly traditional and unassuming, which for once, I appreciated. They were slightly sweet, slightly tangy, creamy, and held no surprises. Comfortingly delicious. Next, the pickle. It was so perfect. Crispy, not too juicy but not dry, and it tasted like it was pickled in a unique house blend of spices.

As for the sandwich…I would love to bask in it’s simple glory every day.

Soft, chewy rye bread, lighter in color than a typical rye, spotted with floral fennel seeds. Even the crust was perfect–sprinkled with corn meal and more fennel seeds so that you see what you’re getting yourself into. Not crunchy or invasive, but tougher than the rest of the bread so that it adds some textural interest. Underneath the bread is a lathering of yellow mustard, which is the only condiment needed on this sandwich. And finally, we have pastrami. Layer upon layer of thinly sliced, tender, smoky, juicy, briny, rich, almost buttery beef, piled high on rye. Bites of sandwich punctuated with a cleansing forkful of slaw or potato salad and a nibble of pickle made for lunch time perfection. I almost couldn’t even finish it all. There was so much food. I could have easily shared with a friend, especially after getting the extra side. Wait, no, just kidding. I wouldn’t be able to share.

In case you didn’t gather, my Canter’s experience was sublime, and I can’t wait until they stop on campus again so I can try the turkey salad sandwich and the Reuben and the matzo ball soup and everything else on the menu.

Did someone say Sublime?