There was a time in my life when I couldn’t conceive of going to Katz’s Deli and not ordering the pastrami.
That would be like going to France and eating pizza; or going to the world’s best sushi restaurant and asking them to cook your fish. Go to Katz’s and not order pastrami? You’ve got to be kidding! Only the other night, after we saw our friend Cary’s movie “Jane Eyre” (Cary went to film school with Craig), we found ourselves at Katz’s Deli and I was very hungered. And the line for pastrami was oh so long. Reader, I got a hot dog.
For years, I’d been meaning to try the Katz’s Deli hot dog. It’s actually pretty legendary, if not legendary on the level of Katz’s Pastrami.
I was sheepish at first, having just read an interview with Jonathan Safran Foer where he said, after interviewing scores of farmers, both industrial and small-business owners, that the one thing they all agreed on is that none of them would ever eat a hot dog.
Let’s ignore that for now.
Instead, behold the Katz’s Deli hot dog! You don’t have to wait in line for it! And it’s cheaper than pastrami!
There’s a little dangler on the bottom hot dog there, but let’s ignore that now too.
I couldn’t skip my essential Katz’s Deli beverage, a Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda, and while waiting for one I met The Feral Gardener, a friend of my friend Anna’s. As a vegetarian, he was skipping both the pastrami AND the hot dog. I quickly changed the subject and he told me about the garlic that he’s growing.
Now on to the hot dog. It’s a good one! It doesn’t have that annoying snap everyone raves about when they talk about Pink’s in L.A. I’ve never been into a hot dog snap and I’m glad this one didn’t have one. Instead, this one had a deeper flavor–it seemed darker than a normal hot dog–and the meat had a good texture, a nice balance of firm and pliant.
Did I look covetously at Craig’s plate, a plate that contained a pastrami sandwich, which he earned after standing in the long line?
And did I offer to trade him one of my hot dogs for half his sandwich?
These things are not important. What is important is that sometimes you have to take a stand for what’s right, for what you believe in. And in this case, I believe I made a mistake. Next time you’re at Katz’s, let someone else get the hot dog so you can take a bite and admire it. Then stand in line for pastrami.
And pray to the deli gods for forgiveness.
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