I've been looking into the best things I ever ate around town, kicking the list off lightly with Houston's best vegetables before diving head first into a vat full of grease with the best fried bites. Now I'll move on to a classic - the sandwich.
Having moved to Houston a year ago (really, like one year ago today), I knew one of the things I'd miss most about home was the food. I spent a lot of time in Boston visiting the boyfriend (before I hooked that sucker) while he was finishing up his PhD, so to me, the city became a second home. And
the only one of the things that kept me sane on that 4.5+ hour greyhound bus ride from NYC was the promise of a visit to All-Star Sandwich Bar.
This place had killer sandwich combos; like the Atomic Meatloaf with the East Coast Grill's famous Inner Beauty hot sauce, jack cheese, and red onion jam on grilled sourdough, or The Gobbler, oven-roasted turkey topped with apple-sausage stuffing, cranberry relish and homemade gravy on grilled rustic white. But somehow, even with all of that, it was the Sunday special, their spin on the classic The Rachel, that had me coming back again and again. Picture freshly sliced hot oven roasted turkey, melted Swiss cheese, creamy Russian dressing, and slightly sweet coleslaw stacked harmoniously between two slices of thick, buttery sourdough grilled to the perfect amount of crisp.
So naturally, the instant I moved to Houston I began to seek out my beloved All-Star Sandwich's equivalent. And I found it...times 10 at Kenny & Ziggy's. Literally times 10; as with most Jewish delis, the sandwiches are like 10 times the size that of their normal counterparts (plus everything's bigger in Texas, right?). So it isn't exactly on the menu, but with a few easy tweaks to one of their Triple Decker clubs, I've hit the bulls eye. I order the #2: One in a Minyon - house-baked seeded rye loaded with oven roast turkey, cut-to-order corned beef (bonus!), Russian dressing and coleslaw.
Donning my sweetest 'I swear I'm really not a bitch face', I kindly ask the server for grilled bread and the Russian dressing and slaw on the side (I like to add them myself; so I have a few control issues - whatever stop judging me). My fiancé and I split this monstrous sandwich (clearly we're doing a good job shedding for the wedding) and he agrees with me - it is perfection.
Can we talk about the corned beef for a minute - Oy vey! How did I ever eat my All-Star sandwich without this? You can tell these guys are a legit third-generation delicatessen. Their house-cured corned beef is expertly done, salty and juicy, lean yet melt-in-your-mouth tender. The flavor-packed meat is balanced perfectly by thick cuts of moist roast turkey and nutty Swiss. The rich, tangy Russian dressing and creamy, tart slaw add just the right touch.
Plus, they give you a bowl full of pickles; I mean c'mon!
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And of course, a special shout out to All Star Sandwich Bar for teaching me that buttery, crisp grilled bread can elevate a sandwich to a whole new level. Pair all of this with a diet Dr. Brown's Cherry Soda, and you may find yourself in a real-life version of that infamous Katz's deli scene from When Harry Met Sally.
I am yet to perfect exactly how to eat this sandwich that is the same if not bigger than the size of my head, but I'm more than willing to go back and figure it out.