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.

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.