We had to take the car in for repairs yesterday and happened to be near Varvaro's Delicatessen (48 Russell Street, White Plains). I sent hubby in there to grab a bagel for me.
Along with the bagel, he brought out a huge wrap, a Brobdingnagian tamale, an apple turnover, and a hard boiled egg (just one, Marx Brothers fans). We ate at home.
The wrap he procured was the New Yorker (pastrami, Swiss, sauerkraut, and mustard). I swear it was the width of my fist and was awfully close to a pound in weight. The pastrami was sublime. Not first-cut, but with a lot of the fat beautifully rendered off and permeating the meat to a juicy finish. The grainy mustard, kraut, and Swiss were great counterpoints, but the pastrami was the star.
The tamale was the biggest I'd ever seen. This isn't always a good sign, but it was in this case. It was wrapped carefully in what I think were banana leaves. Dang, the texture was so light and fluffy, like the world's greatest matzoh ball (if matzoh balls were corn-based). It was filled, and I mean FILLED, with a delicious chicken tinga. I had to fight to get a couple of bites before hubby gobbled it up. The leaves gave the outer portion of the tamale a slightly smoky tea flavor reminiscent of sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. It was so fabulous, we picked up 2 more when the car was ready. I had mine for breakfast this morning.
The hard-boiled egg, as simple as it was, was done so well. It was presented in a little wax bag which included a single serving of salt. I love that kind of thoughtfulness.
We had the turnover a bit later and it was fabulously flaky, with an outer glaze thar tasted like honey. The filling was average. It was all about the pastry. We ended up picking up another of these later as well.
This place also has hot lunches, so we're excited to try these when doing last-minute shopping next week. I think the tamales alone are worth the repeat visit, but don't forget the pastrami!