From Hot Pastrami To Matzo Ball-Kimchi Ramen, Nancy Taunts Me With Her East Coast Eats

Jun 4, 2014

Nancy Leson recently traveled to Philadelphia for her cousin’s wedding, and she taunted me with emailed photos of some of the great deli chow she enjoyed.

She also raved about the teensy lamb chops her cousin served. 

“They were just perfect. I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t rubber chicken,” Nancy said. “But the thing I really want to tell you about is the open-faced pastrami reuben I had at the Chit Chat Diner in Hackensack, New Jersey.”

When I got a picture of that thing, I thought, ‘What is that goop sitting on top of the pastrami?’

“That wasn’t goop, Stein!” said Nancy. “That was melted cheese on top of some kind of homemade sauerkraut.”

Who put the Matzo ball in Nancy's ramen?
Who put the Matzo ball in Nancy's ramen?

At Philadelphia's Cheu Noodle Bar Nancy got a bowl of ramen with matzo ball, brisket and kimchi.

Then there was Pumpernik’s Deli, where she had the “biggest, thickest, double meated pastrami sandwich.”

“You know, I’m such a big pastrami lover that if I would’ve had my way at my wedding, we would’ve had hot pastrami sandwiches,” said Nancy. Instead, she served Armadillo Barbecue.

I looked up the current average cost of a U.S. wedding and was astounded. It's right around $30,000. 

I freely admit that DeGroot and I kind of low-balled our nuptials at around 150 bucks. But still, thirty thousand? Especially since it's even money the happy pair will de-hitch not too many years later.  They could have used that 30k for a down payment on a house and had something to contest in the divorce.  Who lawyers up over custody of the wedding pictures?

But back to that pastrami. I can already make good N.Y. rye, Cel-Ray and half-sour pickles. Now I have more incentive than ever to finally try making my own pastrami. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, and I'm gonna do it. Keep watching this space for progress reports.

By the way, that ethereal opening tune was from Harry Nilsson's A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, my all time, nothing-else-even-comes-close absolute favorite standards album ever.

"The most dangerous food is wedding cake."

– James Thurber