She-who-must-be-obeyed was in Lincolnwood on a job interview before moving to Chicago. With a need to occupy myself while she convinced them to hire her (which, of course, she did!), I walked around. And discovered Fannie's Delicatessen, on Touhy, just a couple doors down from the well-loved home of the best bagel in Chicago, New York Bagel and Bialy.
In all the years I've been here and been to NYB&B, I somehow never managed to enter Fannie's. That has now been changed forever. I had a pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard (two pickle slices were very good without being exceptional), some potato salad, and hot tea--my standard "let's-test-their-quality" lunch. (Actually, I usually have cole slaw, but the potato salad beckoned.) I can honestly say I've never had a better pastrami sandwich since moving to Chicago 18 years ago. They have a choice of either regular and lean; I opted for the lean and, as promised, it had nary an ounce of fat. That's my peculiar predilection; I know many others--my family included--who think I'm crazy and that the right amount of fat is absolutely essential. I am not interested in pursuing that debate; I am interested only in pointing out the exceptional quality of the pastrami at Fannie's--juicy and exceedingly well-flavored. A generous portion without inviting comparison to the gross excesses of the Carnegie Deli in NYC. The potato salad was excellent as well: creamy, well-flavored dressing without being too assertive.
The decor, such as it is, is pure deli. A couple of small tables and walls plastered with so many signs, announcements, posters, and other mishegas (Yiddish for...crazy stuff...same root as meshugenah) that one quickly loses track. Huge handwritten wallboard announcing all the sandwiches and other choices; lots of take-out. Lots of local, especially Jewish, community flyers and so forth. The obligatory copies of the Sun-Times for lone lunchers....
The sandwich is $6.75 (as is the corned beef; lean versions in both cases are an additional $.50). My only dilemma now is: am I more thrilled that she-who-must-be-obeyed got her sought-after job (children's book editor, for the terminally curious) or that I now have regular access to Fannie's?
Needless to say, highly recommended.
Fannie's Catering & Deli
4718 W. Touhy
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