Skip to comments.La Pastrami Fuses Jewish and Mexican ... and It's Actually Pretty Good
Posted on 06/20/2012 11:30:57 AM PDT by nickcarraway
"Goyim pastrami." That's what SFoodie's New York-loyal Jewish grandma angrily called any pastrami that wasn't served between two slices of rye with a dab of mustard. Even a reuben sandwich was suspect. Well, two-week old food truck La Pastrami has upped the ante on grandma's anger: enter the pastrami burrito ($8). Owner and creator Dion Watkins stuffs a well-griddled flour tortilla with a wad of smoky, peppery meat, rice, crunchy strips of pickled red onion, a few specks of green onion and "secret" sauce (think Russian dressing.)
Watkins, a first time food operator after a career in San Francisco's Department of Human Services, won't reveal his pastrami supplier, only hinting that it's locally made. Asked where he got the idea for this cultural mishmash, Watkins said "Why not? It's like any other beef. It just works." To be honest, we were astounded by the unique flavor profile of our first few bites of Watkins' creation but the salty beef and onion combination eventually wore out the palate, causing us to quit at the burrito's heel.
Still, curiosity and a rebellious streak (well, for a Jewish kid) will bring us back to La Pastrami, to sample both their simpler sandwich offerings as well as other Jewish-Mexican mash-ups like the pastrami quesadilla and pastrami tostadas. Grandma? She's turning in her Boca Raton grave.
La Pastrami, For schedule and location, follow on Twitter
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I had a corned beef burrito at an Irish bar in San Diego. It was deliciosa.
Interestingly, corned beef was actually introduced to the Irish by the Jews, after they had both immigrated to the U.S.
Almost 30 years ago, I saw a sign in the window of a store in Miami, FL, which read: “Pruebe nuestra pastrami caliente.”
My great grandfather was from Sighet Romania (Transylvania muahaha!) so I take pastrami very seriously along with garlicy vinegar-free pickles.
While corned beef usually comes from a nice second cut brisket, a good pastrami comes from the navel/plate cut (sort of like the bacon part of the cow). It has to be steamed so when you eat it, it is like melted butter. It also has to have a nice garlicy peppercorn & coriander crust. Part of the fun of eating pastrami is eating all those meaty pepper crumbs that fell off the top and are left on the plate.
I don’t have a problem with pastrami burritos, eggrolls, fried rice, etc. But if people want to put ‘stuff’ on their pastrami, it usually means their pastrami is too lean and that’s not good pastrami.
Actually Corned Beef was well known to the Irish well before they landed en masse in America. It however wasn’t food they regularly ate as it was prepared for the British and trade.
Just like the Jewish didn’t event it or Pastrami, it was introduced to them by Czech immigrants.
My favorite local eatery which specializes in “mid-western” food with southwestern kick (my favorite side there is the mac and cheese with Hatch chili peppers) did corned beef tacos for St Patrick’s Day, WOW delectable.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
And a real pastrami sandwich is pastrami on rye with mustard and a pickle on the side. I favor the green pickled tomatoes. You never saw Reuben sandwiches in the old delis. You ate the coleslaw on the side not in a sandwich. I find Reubens disgusting overkill but to each his own.
Pastrami is in these days so pastrami burritos are not a surprise
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