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You know how you are walking down the street one day planning to do one thing but find your feet taking you somewhere else? No? Well let me put it another way, have you ever wanted to go somewhere but not really known where that somewhere is? Like maybe you want to be around people, without actually being around people so you end up at a library or sitting solo at a bar?

This recently happened to me (three weeks ago) and it was delightful (not the library or the bar but you get the idea). Delightful might be a little misleading because I wasn’t having tea and crumpets or anything but delightful is what it was. I found myself with extra time (I know, I know – extra t i m e) which is something I never have extra of, but there I was, leaving work on a Friday afternoon (yes, l e a v i n g work), only two hours past my scheduled departure of 1:00 pm for the first time in what seemed like a year (I work longer days to have a supposed short day on Friday).

I began walking to the bus stop but didn’t really want to get on the bus, or more to the point, didn’t really want to go home, quite yet, despite wanting to surprise the pups. Because also at home there were tasks to do such as the dishwasher to empty, then fill. The vacuum to run, clothing to…o r g a n i z e and dinner to make. Oh, dinner. I had nothing to make, yet.

It was crisp out, but sunny. I arrived at the bus stop which was crowded; the bus was due to arrive any minute and then I would get on and go home. Without slowing down, I kept walking instead. Walking and walking right past the crowd, North up the sidewalk toward The Market. Before I knew it, I found myself at sandylew, one of my favorite little boutiques that I hadn’t made time to visit since Summer, 1, 2, 3…6 months ago. Inside were the same friendly faces and a candyland of artistic and unusual garments (lucky me the entire store was o n s a l e)!

One hour later, I walked out of the store with my polka dot bag of pink tissue-wrapped treasures and found myself entering Delaurenti to buy vinegar (yes, vinegar). I didn’t make it past the meat counter for another 1/2 hour. Without missing a beat, I began ordering Porchetta and hot Italian sausage, bresaola and rosemary ham. Then came the cheeses, fresh mozzerella (made in house), Comte from France, and a pastoral cow milk cheese featured that day on the chalkboard. The whole time, there was no pressure for me to hurry. Each selection was expertly cut and wrapped with a hand-written label. Each selection led to a question and often to a sample, then in turn, a selection of what I had sampled. Each question was answered with delight (yes, delight); and so it went on this way for awhile. Oh, happy day!

So rare it is anymore, to find a place such as this, that transports you back to another era, another country so completely. When Louie Delaurenti sold this place in 2001, I was sure it would inevitably turn into something it was not. Sure, I have stood in line several people deep and waited and waited during the holidays, swearing never again.

Yet, here it sits, delivering and delighting both the loyal, long-time clientele as well as the frequenting locals and the Seattle visitors with more than a product; an epicurean experience, without having lost the charm that brought us there in the first place. Just as I thought I had more than sufficiently filled up my basket, I spied a hunk of pastrami labeled “Carnegie” from New York (ooh, rival only to Katz’s), where we spent hours years ago (with Tom threatening to replay the Meg Ryan scene with Billy Crystal; one rare time he refrained from movie re-enacting).

20140208-192636.jpgBut alas, my basket had to make room for one more bundle.

Pastrami Toast with Egg

Ever since reading about standing in line outside a deli in New York, eating a hot pastrami sandwich on Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs , I have been craving a Reuben. Since it was technically brunch time here, I decided to do this instead. It hits both the high points of a Reuben and my requirements for a meal after 10 am and before 3 pm on a weekend. Bloody Mary recommended.

Quantities are approximate and subject to discretion and personal taste (as usual).

INGREDIENTS for two servings

1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp natural sugar
6 grinds fresh pepper
1 tsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp L’Estromell Grenache vinegar

2 slices dense bread (I used Ciro’s ciabatta, but a good dense rye would be swell)
Dijon mustard for spreading
2 – 3 oz thinly sliced pastrami (the good stuff)
1 oz thinly sliced Comte (France) or gruyere (enough to cover with two thin layers)
2 organic eggs

1 TB ketchup
1 TB mayonnaise (I use Wildwood aioli)
2 slices dill pickle, chopped


Mix the sliced red cabbage with salt, sugar, pepper, horseradish and vinegar.

Spread a slice of bread with Dijon mustard and put the prepared bread on a baking tin.

Top with a layer of cabbage,

followed by pastrami,

then Comte cheese slices, one layer slightly overlapping.


Fry the eggs in a skillet until just set on the bottom (tilt the pan to let the white thin out and set). Carefully transfer the egg, using a spatula, to the top of each piece of prepared bread slice.

Mix the ketchup, mayonnaise and pickle in a small bowl; set aside.


Cook in a 400 degree oven for approx. 7-8 min (if the white is not cooking, add a few drops of water over the egg being careful not to let it run over the bread. Top with another slice of cheese and turn the oven to broil. Keep your eye on it and remove when the cheese is melted.

Serve with knife and fork, sauce mixture on the side.