Monday, March 4, 2013

Vegetarian Reuben Love: a lifetime in the making

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.

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