On Friday evening, I went in New York to spend some time with dear Phil. As you may recall, Philly left New Jersey several months ago and returned to being a city mouse. This weekend, his lady went home to visit her family while Philly stayed behind in Brooklyn Heights. I was concerned he might go blind from non-stop playing of Grand Theft Auto and proposed an outing.
So, you can imagine that it was a lot like last summer, except instead of me dragging Phil to Jersey gustation landmarks, Phil decided it was time that I experienced Katz’s Deli on Houston. Katz’s, of course, is the scene of Sally’s orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.
What can I say? Phil declares Katz’s to be his favorite in all of New York and that declaration is not without excellent reason. Phil recommended that we split a pastrami sandwich. This from the kid who never wants to share his fries with me, so I figured this must be a sandwich to reckon with. And oh boy, was it. Simply put, it’s ginormous. We split the pastrami on rye with mustard (and I was completely shocked to see people getting a pastrami sandwich with cheese – American cheese(!) – which is about as sacrilegious to me as filet mignon medium well) and we each got fries. By the end of the meal, I was completely stuffed. The pastrami is really incomparable.
Growing up, we were always surrounded by great Italian delis. And whenever a new deli would open, my mom would sigh that she wished there were a Jewish deli in the area. She always said it was one of the things she missed most about living in New York. So keep in mind that my pastrami experiences in life are couched by the fact that I live in Jersey and I completely accept the argument that you don’t know good pastrami till you’ve had it in New York.
So I’ve officially had the best pastrami there is. I highly recommend you check it out. And, if you get bored while sitting there, look around at the photos of all the celebrities with the owner. Wu Tang Clan, Spike Lee, Bjork and Bill Clinton all have their photos on the wall. According to Phil, when President Clinton rolled in, he had a sandwich, a hot dog and an order of fries. The man can eat.
We finished up the night at a Brooklyn Heights bar with not one, but two cask ales on the engine. Since Phil moved back to New York, my social life has changed. I spend a lot more time now with my new co-workers. I still try to see as much of Anhabelle, Gena, Pablo, et al. as I possibly can. I see Liana Banana and Wendy nearly every week. And when I do get to see Phil, it’s usually in the context of a poker game. So I’ll just say that while I try to navigate my little boat on the changing currents of life as gracefully as possible, accepting and embracing change as it comes my way, I am at times struck by how much I miss certain times, people and places. This outing reminded me that I miss Phil, which I already knew, but most especially if there’s a good meal and beer to be had.