Often, my default choice on a menu is a Reuben Sandwich. I love that rye, sauerkraut, corned beef, thousand island (Russian?) dressing and swiss cheese combination melded together on the griddle.
I recently was at Max's in Highland Park for a Reuben fix. When I placed my order the waitress only inquired whether I wanted the potato pancake with sour cream or apple sauce. Waiting for my order, I munched through their delicious fresh pickles and generous bread basket: mini challahs, matzo, bagel chips, bagels, bialy, ect.
My Reuben arrived missing an essential element of its' Reuben-ness, the thousand island sauce was on the side and not in the sandwich! Here I may have had a justifiable case of return the sandwich to the kitchen. However, I was wimpy and commenced studying how to repair the damage. I used my knife to lift the layers trying to figure out where to best place the sauce. Getting a bit annoyed because my sauce in the plastic food service container was cold straight from the refrigerator. I experimented by smearing some sauce on top of the melted cheese, too strong a taste from the sauce. Finally, I buried the sauce with the sauerkraut and began work on making the evidence disapeer.
I don't know if sauce on the side is a new trend in Reubens. Have alleged 'healthy choices' advocates corrupted a perfectly good sandwich? It may behoove one to ask a few more questions about how these standards are prepared in the future.
An aside you may want to ignore...
Summer 1976, we had begun the day in Salt Lake City with plans to reach Chicago in a day or two. We were having problems finding a room for the night in Des Moines. The next day Presidential Candidate Jimmy Carter was going to speak at the Iowa State Fair.
We pulled into a diner and I ordered my default choice: Reuben Sandwich from a young waitress who seemed to be on another planet. My Reuben appeared with rye bread which had a distinctive blue color. In the next booth were two drunk farmers and a sober, angry wife. Husband of Angry Wife offered to give her to his fellow farmer for FREE. He estimated he couldn't sell her since she was such a b*tch. He then carried on to give excruciating examples of her less than friendly character.
My Mother rattled by the incidents in this Diner declared if we didn't get a room at the next stop, then we were driving straight home. We arrived home at 5:30 AM after plaguing my family with the Well Tempered Synthesizer all night. It almost melted that 8-track cassette.
See what goes through my mind everytime I eat a Reuben?
Max's Delicatessen & Restaurant
191 Skokie Boulevard
Highland Park, IL 60035
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