In the 1970s, when I shopped in Manhattan with my mother, we always had lunch at Lord & Taylor or B Altman’s.
I remember once ordering a Reuben sandwich. It sounded really cool to me. Trouble was, I hated pumpernickel bread, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.
Then there was the thousand island dressing. This is essentially mayonnaise and ketchup, both of which I’ve always despised.
So I customized. I asked for a Reuben on rye, with no dressing, sauerkraut or cheese. The waitress said,
‘So you want a corned beef sandwich.’
‘No,' I insisted. 'A Reuben.’
Flash forward a few years. Ok, decades.
As a vegetarian, I will never order corned beef. But I love sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and pumpernickel bread.
So I just had to get the veggie Reuben at Thistle Hill Tavern. This sandwich is made with beets, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and excellent Orwashers rye bread.
I still hate mayo and ketchup, and I’m not sure what condiments were on the sandwich, but it was a glorious, messy delight. And if that waitress from long ago want to claim it’s not really a Reuben, so be it.