I don’t think there is anything that I could write about Zingerman’s Delicatessen that hasn’t already been written in some form or another. Also, I really have no business writing anything about Zingerman’s as I have just wrapped up a holiday season under their employ (though I worked at their Mail Order operation and not at the deli itself).
I suppose I could note that I used to be a hater, but since my hatred was mostly based on lack of funds and knowledge (and I’ve solved at least the knowledge portion of that equation), I don’t even have an interesting turning point or redemption story to write about. Bottom line: I enjoy Zingerman’s. Yes, it is very, very, very, very expensive, but once again, better defenses of their prices have already been written. It is up to you to decide whether or not you are willing to pay them.
I am. (However, for this trip we didn’t have to – Noe and I each received a voucher for showing up for all of our holiday shifts.)
I ordered the #74, Dave’s Open Road (I just wasn’t in a pastrami or corned beef mood today). Big, moist chunks of Amish free-range chicken mingled with thick-cut Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon and homemade ranch dressing and some mild but nonetheless tasty muenster cheese. A crispy green piece of lettuce rested delicately atop this pile of food, carefully sandwiched between two grilled pieces of thick, fresh challah baked at Zingerman’s own Bakehouse.
I was fairly certain that I had died and gone to sandwich heaven until I noticed Noe’s #11, J.J.’s Pastrami Special. Juicy pastrami smothered in high-quality swiss cheese and (the best part!) oven-roasted onions. I adore onions in any form, and the slight sweetness that comes from roasting them paired excelently with the pastrami. The fact that this deliciousness was sandwiched (ha ha) between slices of my very favorite Zingerman’s bread, the Jewish Rye, caused me to wonder how I had missed this sandwich when placing my own order.
Despite the dazzling array of choices in the salad case, we played the side dishes relatively safe with garlic potato salad. Delightfully goopy without being TOO goopy (goop generally grosses me out), this salad tastes of much more than mayonnaise. Huge pieces of perfectly-cooked redskins were enhanced by lots of garlic, black pepper, and sherry vinegar. The whole thing had a pleasantly acidic tang that I really enjoyed. Noticing my selection, an employee informed me that, in her opinion, garlic potato salad was the “only potato salad that matters.” I had to agree.
All this was served up with a Zingerman’s pickle. I thought I didn’t like pickles. I have, since this afternoon, changed my mind. Why on earth would I think that I did not like pickles?! I enjoy cucumbers, salt, and vinegar. The “old” pickle that accompanied my sandwich was sour to the point that it almost burned my tongue, and I LOVED it. Noe’s “new” pickle had a more fresh, cucumber-y taste. It was good, but we preferred the old variety.
We poked around the retail section for awhile after eating, pausing to taste lots of olive oils, fig vinegar, and multiple cheeses before heading back out into the snow, which by that time was starting to get pretty heavy. I can not think of a more delightful way to have spent a partial afternoon. Hopefully I’ll make some serious cash in the near future so we can go back for more!