23 May 2006

Manny's Deli

Being carless, going to restaurants that are not in the neighborhood and not "on the way" somewhere is a project. As a lover of food, and one who's always looking for something different, hoping to find something really good where it wasn't expected, I'm typically up for projects, dragging Victor along by main force (he's usually glad when we get there, but would've been happy enough at the diner down the street).

When a restaurant is open only for breakfast and lunch, and closed Sundays, and you have a day job, opportunities for turning it into a project are limited. Until very recently (when I started working from home) Manny's Deli fell into this category. Which was too bad, because I love corned beef (Manny's specialty)!

A couple months ago, I found myself downtown, hungry, and at liberty on a bright, mild weekday morning. So I decided to take a bit of a walk. I arrived at Manny's at around 10 AM. I didn't want breakfast, though. I asked the guy at the counter, who was slicing meat, "Is it too early for corned beef?"

"If it's not too early for you, it's not too early for me."

I grinned. "One corned beef sandwich, please."

"Potato pancake with that?"


I watched him make the sandwich. Talk about giant! A 3-, maybe 4-inch pile of meat.

I'm not so big on masses of meat. I didn't grow up with gargantuan sandwiches. The sandwiches of my childhood were modest: on Levy's rye, smeared with Gulden's on both sides and a just a few slices of kosher corned beef. Corned beef was a big treat; we somehow knew it was expensive. We never got them for school lunches. But I can remember picnic lunches at Jones Beach, unwrapping the foil packages and biting into surprising coolness.

So for me, the taste is the test; not the amount.

And the taste was right. Flavorful, tender, sliced thin as thin. The potato pancake was good, too.

Of course I didn't eat all that meat. Not right away. I asked for a box.

To my shame, I did not give my leftovers to the panhandler I met just outside Target on my way to the L station. I kept them close and took them home, and picked at them (with help from Victor) over the next couple of days.

Manny's is at 1141 S. Jefferson and is open Monday through Saturday from 5 AM to 4 PM. And according to their website, they have free wireless Internet! Hey, now that I'm freelancing, I may be spending A LOT more time there...

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