I am smitten.

Oh Reuben. How I love thee.

With you, man has mastered the sandwich. You make the turkey club cower for mercy. The patty melt averts its eyes. Even the mighty monte cristo walks away in shame.

I will find you, Reuben, where you most expect me to: any fine establishment, or shithole, at which you are prepared. The best amongst you will be documented here, for all to share in your majesty.

Let those who have gone before me lead the way. And I, Reuben R. Reuben, will share tales of your glory.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mitchell's, Chicago, IL

Reuben R. Reuben is in Chicago, and there he finds himself out with his brother, looking for lunch. The item of choice to be lunched upon was clear.

We found me my Reuben at The Original Mitchell's.

Solid. The beef was corned fairly well, and as always a huge bonus is given for the bread toasted, then grilled.

The half sandwich closeup provides a few bits of insight:
1) the beef was nicely layered, folded on top of itself.
2) My phone camera needs a better focus function
3) This sandwich came without 1000 Island dressing on it.

Perhaps #2 didn't allow you to notice #3, but you are hindered by not having RRR's Reuben-analysis gene.

Mitchelll's loses crucial points for whatever this is being labeled as 1000 Island dressing.

Anyone have a thought here?
Strawberry cream cheese?
Pink spackle?
Silver polish?

Flat out troubling.

I had one sammy swipe's worth, and went dry the rest of the way.

Mitchell's receives huge bonus points for the orange juice coming in a frosted mug. Classy.

The sandwich was left unfinished, in a nod to attempted weight management.

I blame this cherub-faced waitress for nothing, not even the pink spackle, and she received a solid 20% gratuity.

If you see this man, drinking his ice-less water with a spoon, run. If he catches you, ask for tales of Reuben R. Reuben's youth. RRR's brother knows more than he lets on.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nate 'n Al's, Beverly Hills, CA, plus Passover teaching

At Nate 'n Al's in the 90210, they make a damn tasty sandwich. Perhaps the best prepared rye Reuben R. Reuben has ever had. Clearly toasted, then buttered, then grilled. Firm as a linebacker's buttocks (so I'm told), and an excellent support system for the beef.

Corned beef was not greasy, not drippy, and solid. As the CB melded with the kraut and swiss, the flavor profiles were slightly below top notch, so it does not make the ever evolving top 5. That said, I was nonetheless deeply pleased. Bonus points for high quality potato salad, that being the gelatinous yellow orb to the upper right.

But, my friends, how I got to Nate 'n Al's is a tale worth telling. Do you have a moment? Good. Me too.

I occasionally troll the gigs listings on Craigslist, envisioning that a burgeoning sandwich maker will be looking for a tester, or perhaps a 1000 Island dressing factory needs a taster part time. I saw a listing requesting someone to help prepare a host for his first Passover seder.

Now RRR has attended and led seders for decades, and finds Passover to be the coolest of all holidays, goys included. The Passover Blog is not far off in the distance. So I answered the listing, and the man on the other end agreed to meet. But where? I had mentioned this blog...not sure why...it always seems to enter my conversations somehow...usually from me. He said let's meet at Nate 'n Al's. "I'll be the guy in the Red Sox hat."

And so he was.
Meet Sandy.
Reubenites, RRR himself has been a Red Sox fan since Smoky Joe Wood won 34 games in 1912.
So even on Cragslist, there is kismet.

He wisely placed the same exact order as I; Reuben, potato salad. I hope he was sated.
Sandy increased the quality of our visit, and the quality of my life, by bringing along his Uncle Irving.

Uncle Irving's picture is slightly larger. He deserves it. He's 90, and eats Matzah Ball soup like a champ.

Irving has written a script for a film about peace, and has a meeting with the Dalai Lama's people this week. I shit you not...this is LA.
Irving asked me if I knew Hollywood people, like Madonna, or Harrison Ford. Sadly, I do not. If you do, please send them my way, and I will pass them on to Uncle Irving.

I ate my customary half sandwich, and packed the rest to go. The amount of dinners I've had of half-Reubens now numbers in the teens.

Uncle Irving, whose picture again is symbolically and justifiably larger, only hate half of his soup.

I hope his leftovers were outstanding.

Our lunch included hardcore Passover prep. Gear to buy, food props to have on the table, menu possibilities, non-kosher watchlists.
I recommended shrimp, bacon, and cheeseburgers, naturally.

After we dined, we headed to Arata's judaica store on Fairfax in West Hollywood, where Sandy and Uncle Irving browsed through overpriced Passover impulse items.

A fabulous Sunday spent.
Thanks for hiring Reuben R. Reuben, Sandy!

I teach a mean Simchas Torah...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Omelet adventures continue

Reubenite Lewis is the inventor, and so far, sole documented partaker of the Reuben Omelet. He is fearless, determined, and exactly the right degree of unstable. He files the following report.

The Ruben Omelet from Factor's Deli., 9420 w Pico, blvd, LA, CA.

The waitress took the order, but she seemed a little upset by the idea of putting sauerkraut in my eggs. She tried to push the "Bread-less Ruben" as an alternative, but I was not swayed. The omelet was pretty tasty. The corned beef was flavorful and not at all greasy, it was cut small and combined well with the kraut. The only real flaw was the traditional Los Angeles problem of the cheese being on top of, and not in the omelet. Who thinks that cheese on top is better? Added points for the waitress calling everybody at the table "young woman" and "young man" despite nobody under 35 being present.

Thank you Reubenite Lewis. He also sent along this titillating bonus photo of passover fix-ins in the Factor's display deli case. It's Charoset season!

If you don't know what Charoset is, ask a jew. While you're at it, you may also want to ask a jew other stuff, like how to instill guilt in a child, or to name the middle infield of the 1983 New York Mets.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Final Frontier, mach 1

It was inevitable. Eventually, I, RRR, was bound to attempt Reubenology with my own stubby Jewish fingers. Fate brought me to the home of Reubenite Hutch, an Irishman, in the week of St. Patrick's Day festivities, in a house laden with leftover, freshly prepared corned beef. Our mission became clear.

Some things are fait acccompli. You put a Jew and an Irishman in a room together, and eventually, you have a Reuben. If we had a homosexual with us, we would have ended up with a Broadway musical.

There is deep symbiosis amongst our people, as the corned beef bonds run deep. Look it up here. Me and Reubenite Hutch's theoretical ancestors once bonded as we were.

As I watched him slice much goodness, we ran down the list of necessary ingredients. Rye, check. Kraut, check. Swiss, check. But Reubenite Hutch had mistakenly bought Country French dressing. Preposterous. I beat him several times about the face and neck, then hit the grocery store to get 1000 Island.

An aside here. Reubenite Hutch dared me to wear his daughter's clip-on earrings to the store. I did. Thankfully, no pictures exist. This being Los Angeles, I went virtually unnoticed and un-commented upon. There was an old man in a Red Sox hat checking out at Register 4, and I will forever regret not starting a conversation with him about Josh Beckett, then enjoying his double take.

The corned beef was sliced thickly, and then strewn across the bread with much love.
This is one of the essential differences between the home Reuben and any other; the lack of an industrial slicer. Instead of bunched and folded thin slices, you get manly hunks, requiring incisor control. If you're not up to it, consult an orthodontist.

Replicating a lesson learned at Canter's, we drained our Kraut thoroughly. A much less messy sammy than a leaking Kraut would have wrought. Insert your own Dirk Nowitzki joke here.

The Swiss was hand-torn and shapen to fit the sammy...went with just single slice thickness here in mach 1.
1000 Island lovingly slathered on the left, Hutch's stone ground mustard on the right.

I frankly do not approve of the mustard's involvement, and had to fight the urge to again beat him about the face and neck, but I learned a valuable lesson my friends. To thine own Reuben self be true. A Reuben in the hand is worth two in the bush. Two Reuben's diverged in a yellow wood....I chose the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

Admittedly, I've now lost my way. The valuable lesson is somewhere in there I think.

The George Foreman grill was now utilized. Say what you want about Foreman the blowhard, Foreman the Ali impersonator, Foreman the shill for damn near anything, but this bitch can make a grill. Fatless prep. Truth be told, I wish we would have buttered the bread, or perhaps even toasted then buttered then grilled, but hey, it was mach 1. Back off.

The plated results photo.

The mildly phallic close-up.

The impossibly sexy full frontal super close-up.

Burgeoning Reubenite Imogen, the Ginster, clearly approved.

Overall, a solid effort on mach 1, and an afternoon inspiringly spent.

Top o' the mornin' to ya. Does Manischevitz make a stout?

Friday, March 13, 2009

The invention of the century

Last century it was the ballpoint pen, or perhaps the bread slicer.

The 1800's brought the cotton gin.

Now we here at The Reuben Blog bring you the printing press of our times, the invention of the century so far.

The Reuben omelet.

Here she is: the Reuben omelet, as invented by expert Reubenite Lewis at Canter's in West Hollywood, CA.

Eggs, corned beef, sauerkraut, with 1000 Island dressing on the side.

It's carbless.

It's delicious.

It's ingenious.

Reuben varietals, like Merlot, are apparently boundless. Who knew?

Canter's, West Hollywood, CA

Finally, Reuben Rubinstein Reuben has made it to one of the more hallowed jew meccas of La La land. I came to support my people, and to Reuben with friends.

RRR's troika of peeps sat there and planned Pesach goodness for the coming weeks, plotting what will be undoubtedly the best seder man has ever witnessed. Yes, The Last Supper, I'm looking in your direction.

So the atmosphere was thick with Naches my friends, and the Canter's Reuben did not disappoint.

I was most impressed with the mechanics of it. The bread was so wonderfully firm and solid, supporting the inner girth comfortably. The corned beef was not greasy or fatty, staying solidly in place instead of sliding to and fro like so many inferior models. The sauerkraut, as expert Reubenite Lewis pointed out, had been drained of needless excess liquid.

All hail the drained Kraut!
Shame on those of you who take that as a bad sexual Himmler joke...I speak only of vittles!

Canter's gets bonus point for atmosphere....it is enormous, with entire realms of framed reviews and photos lingering on walls you'd never see without effort. And next door, is The Kibbutz Room, one of mankind's only Jewish bars. Gather soon, we must, for scotch, pickles, and guilt.

Canter's catapults towards the top 5!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gibson's, Chicago, IL

I myself can seldom afford the mighty Gibson's. But, when the Reuben revolution is complete and I am named King of Reubania, I expect to eat there fairly often...maybe once or twice a month.

Trusted Reubenite Brian J. Stevens offers the following report, and appears angling for my job. Bastard.

Today, I tried the Gibson's Reuben. For those of you unfamiliar with Gibson's, it is arguably (clearly) the best steakhouse in Chicago. This is saying something, because there are some great steakhouses here. Today, however, we couldn't care less about steak. We are here to try the Reuben.

One of the first things I noticed was the beautiful grill marks on the natural seedless rye bread.. This is an indicator of two things. 1. Love went into making this sandwich.
2. This Reuben was toasted and grilled. This chef knows the importance of proper Reuben technique.

Dave, the bartender informed me that they brine the Corned Beef in-house, and slow cook it for many untold hours. The result is a very tasty and tender corned beef which is very thin-sliced. Mixed with the Thousand Island (my personal choice for a proper Reuben) and the obligatory swiss cheese, this Reuben fit the bill.

If you haven't tried the french fries at Gibson's, I highly recommend them. In fact, the only negative that I can find with the Gibson's Reuben, is that they serve it with "shoestring potatoes." DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE! I would sign a petition to remove them from the menu given the opportunity. They are not only difficult to eat, but they are very unsatisfying when compared to the world-class french fries that can be yours for the asking.

If you are looking for an interesting suggestion for what to drink, today I opted for the juxtaposition of a Hendrick's Gin martini. Not your typical beer to accompany the Reuben. Try it. You might agree. (editor's note: a little gay)

Lastly, I leave you with this photo, and defy you to tell me what in this meal would have warranted ruining with ketchup? If you say fries, you are not worthy of these french fries.

Reuben R. Reuben here again.
Best Reubenite report to date? Perhaps. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Game on.

Hot Doug's, Chicago, IL

Hot Doug's calls itself The Sausage and Encased Meat Emporium.

It's a Chicago landmark. That said, they now have rankled my essence. How dare they mess with greatness!

From trusted Reubenite S. King, esquire, comes the following picture of an epicurean atrocity!

It's called a Teuben. He says it's a Corned Beef Sausage, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, and Russian Dressing.

Alright, actually, that sounds amazing. I take back my anger, and feverishly await my next midwest excursion.
In the meantime, Hot Doug, if that really is your name, please fax me a sandwich. Reuben R. Reuben must feed.

Can you make a grilled rye bun?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What makes the perfect Reuben?

Many of you have asked me this question recently. And by many, I mean just one. But that's enough! I must answer this impassioned call.

It’s gotta be big. Not too big that I have to break out the knife and fork…but big enough to make me think a little bit before I attack it. It’s got to make me pause and strategize. I like food that makes me strategize before I eat it. But, I have to be able to manhandle it.
What makes it truly great, or not, is the proportion and relationship of the 3 vital accoutrement; the kraut, the dressing, and the cheese. That relationship has to be blissfully, meltingly, symbiotic. The blend has to be seamless…like the colors of the rainbow fading into one another.

It’s man’s greatest sandwich…where kings commune.
The bread is rye…the king of breads.
The cheese is Swiss….king of the cheeses.
And the beef is corned. It’s the best way to have beef. Everything should be corned. There should be corned turkey…corned ham….corned bologna.
So you have these kings coming together, making the Reuben not simply a sandwich aristocracy, but a sandwich oligarchy!

By the way, the picture above is the graphic representation of perfection. Check out the link below to have your mind expanded. Drop the acid first.


The Whaler, Venice, CA

The Venice Whaler is on Washington Street, right at the ocean. Apparently the Reuben price goes 100% to the rent for this location.

Marble Rye is an affront to the very fabric upon which this nation's flag was weaved. Marble Rye is an atrocity akin to genocide. Too strong? You must not have had Marble Rye recently.

The Reuben's components were not melded together in a symphony of chewy bliss as much as they were slapped haphazardly into place by a line cook with one eye on the waitresses' lumpy rack.

Still, I ate the whole thing, because even a terrible Reuben is better than a great non-Reuben.

Go to the Venice Whaler to meet up with good friends from when you were 10, as I did. But for the love of god, get a burger.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Reuben R. Reuben on the radio!

The great Nick DiGilio of WGN-Radio in Chicago is no fool.

He welcomed me to his show Sunday night to discuss the blog, and the majesty of the world's greatest sandwich.

Reuben R. Reuben, explained and unleashed!

Listen here to part 1, after a 2 minute discussion on Robin Trower:


And here to part 2:


The Reubenization has commenced in earnest.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wilde, Chicago, IL

From trusted Reubenite B.C., in Chicago, IL.

This is at Wilde, which a little birdie called their website told me is an upscale Irish pub and gathering place located just between the borders of the Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods in Chicago.

This would be an Irish Reuben...on the brown bread. Bonus points go to Reubenite B.C. for the Bloody Mary accompaniment, and double bonus points for the fact that the picture hit the inbox at 3:45 PM. Late lunch Reuben and Bloody Mary? R.R.R. approves.

Reuben Sano goes to the Windmill in Peotone, IL

From a trusted Reubenite, with Zappa overtones:

We went to a family restaurant called the Windmill in Peotone, IL. There was only about a dozen people in the whole joint and there was no muzak, much too quiet.
Good service, hot food (decent soup) and on came the Reuben. When I saw it and got a good whiff I heard magical sounds, like the ones you hear when you first see the golden gates; you know what I mean. It might just have been my ears ringing because it was so damn quiet, but I heard them.
Deep dark rye, thinly sliced corned beef, real swiss cheese, not that plastic wrapped stuff, and just enough kraut, the way it should be. The steam was still rising off the top of the sandwich.
I enjoyed the pickle first (a decent pickle, B Minus) then lifted the Rube to my mouth. What a wonderfully constructed delicacy. It was even and easy to handle, not too much stuff, not too scarce, little red riding hood would approve.
The Corned beef was very good, sliced thin, not fatty, perhaps a bit flaky. The cheese was a little un-melted, for the bread was toasted and not grilled.
On the second half of my Rube, the toasted bread was starting to crumble a bit. I think grilling somehow solidifies the bread, perhaps it was over toasted, or not toasted enough, and was it fresh? There are many variables to bread.
Good lookin' sandwich though. The cheese was cheesy, the beef as corny and the kraut was......krauty.
Reubens grade is A-, not a religious sandwich experience, but like when you get some sex after a drought. Even if its not GREAT, it's still pretty good.
I will continue my search for perfection.


Reuben Sano

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beware the imitators!

A website was pointed out to me today by a trusted Reuben concigliere.


Trust not the word of this charlatan!

Reuben R. Reuben is unimpressed with the fact that they seem to have been at this Reuben evaluation game for years, or that they have their shit extremely together, or that they have more than 50 reviews from over 20 states.

They clearly anticipated my efforts, then went back in magical Reuben time to sabotage this very blog.

For shame.

Some useful stuff there though...I guess I'm gonna have to try Kuhn's next time I'm in Des Plaines, IL.

Onward Reuben soldiers!

Beverly Hills Hotel coffee shop

It's worth it alone to bask in the pink and blue Art Deco goodness.
This is the mist hidden and unswanky eateries at the Bev Hills Hotel.
The Reuben is not on the menu, but if you ask, they give you a knowing look and get it done.
For those of you who like less meat (and you know who you are), this sammy is solid. Each bite has well-conceived proportions, mingling for a moment before they melt into each other.
Huge bonus points for toasting, and then grilling the bread, an extra step which results in maximum crunch.
I didn't stay long enough to see if Avril Lavigne had one, but I'm gonna go with no. Cottage cheese and a speedball? Eggs Benedict and a guitar lesson?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brent's in Northridge, CA

Brent's is the standard bearer.
It's a ridiculous, boring drive only survivable with the specter of this sammy at the conclusion.
Valet park in the strip mall which houses this jewel of the valley.
You can get it with their home made pastrami, or corned beef. Just enough kraut, toasty fresh rye, and thick as hell. This 2nd half came home with me for dinner.
One caveat -- the Russian dressing comes on the side, which is great for people like me who want to parcel out the right amount.