Archive for November, 2008
This is Sam’s moment, so it would be both inappropriate and desperate of me to mention that I wrote a section (Hythe) of Crap Towns and another (Windsor) for its sequel.
Well done, Sam.
I’ve been invited back on BBC Radio Berkshire with Henry Kelly today, following my enjoyable spot their in September.
I used to bunk off college to watch Henry’s brilliant Going For Gold, so it’s great to get the chance to be alongside him in the studio.
I recently re-read one of my favourite books about food: How To Feed Friends And Influence People. It’s the utterly devourable inside story of New York’s famous Carnegie Deli. One of my favourite eateries in the world, Carnegie Deli truly does the pastrami sandwich like nobody else.
Not that America is short of such delis. Sam LaGrassa’s in Boston is understated when compared to Carnegie, but does a killer pastrami sandwich. Another favourite of mine is Canter’s, which is a Los Angeles landmark. Then there is the Las Vegas, scaled-down Carnegie Deli which is located in the Mirage Hotel. The atmosphere isn’t as good as at the New York version, of course, but the pastrami is just as orgasmic.
The opposite is true of Katz’s, in New York’s Lower East side. There, the atmosphere is fantastic but the pastrami a little tough and disappointing. Elsewhere in Manhattan, I’ll give the renowned Stage Deli the benefit of the doubt and assume I caught it on a bad day, because the pastrami was horrific when I ate there in March.
As you might have guessed, I am obsessed with American delis and their pastrami sandwiches in particular. I’m far from alone in this and visitors to the States flock to such outlets, joining the natives in the long queues. The mystery to me is why nobody in the UK has cashed-in on this popularity and opened such a place here. There are a fair amount of outlets punting decent salt beef sarnies, but I’ve never found anywhere in these shores that does anything remotely like the gargantuan, juicy joy that is the Carnegie hot pastrami sandwich.
I’m getting really hungry just thinking about all this.
While Chris and I were in the USA last month, there was an amusing incident at Ronald Reagan National Airport, in Washington DC. As we were queuing at the gate for our flight to New York, I noticed the guy on the gate getting rather overexcited as he studied the passenger list. He turned to his colleague and whispered: “Charles Newkey-Burden? No way, I can’t believe it!”
When we got to the front of the queue and handed over our boarding passes, he was positively beaming as he said: “Okay, which of you is Charles Newkey-Burden?”
I said: “Me.” (I’d noticed my books on sale in quite a few American stores and I’ve been interviewed on two American TV shows, so I already had an optimistic theory as to what was going on here.)
He got even more excited, and said: “Dude I can’t believe this. This is SO exciting…”
Wow, I thought, I’ve got an American fan! Another dream come true!
So imagine my disappointment when he continued: “…this is SO exciting because you have the most ridiculous name I’ve ever, EVER heard! Respect, man!”
Chris was very kind and didn’t laugh at all. Not much.