Week 39: Sandwiches I've Never Heard Of

I teach two students that I desperately want to fight each other. One is named Jesus Romero. The other is named Christ Vazquez. 

More than anything, I want to catch them fighting in the hallways so I can yell, "Jesus! Christ! What the hell is wrong with you?"

...That's all I've got for you for insights today.

Sandwich 39: Kalustyan's Deli

After you've been around the block thirty-eight times, it's tough to surprise this man in the sandwich sphere. But the beauty of this project is that, just when I believe I have experienced the full spectrum of the sandwich canon, a new entry will leave me in glorious confusion and awe.

Kalustyan's Deli is located above Kalustyan's grocery, a bakery/spice shop in Murray Hill  overflowing with with a wealth of international spices you've never heard of before and can't pronounce. How many spices do they have? Let me put it this way: if you lived in Columbus' time and you owned this shop, you would be the world's richest merchant. 

Upstairs lurks a humble-looking deli that does not inspire a surplus of confidence; their seating area is small, like that of a greasy Chinese take-out place where no one actually sits and their menu contains perhaps six words I understand and is otherwise saturated with terms including "moussaka" and "kasseri." 

Knowing nothing, our choices were the bastirma with labne and the mujaderrah. Turns out, we made the correct decisions. 

Bastirma is a salted beef, sliced thin, and hailing from the Middle East. It is, for lack of a better description, something of what good pastrami would taste like if you turned it into a soft jerky. The labne is a cream-cheesy like spread that makes beautiful love with the bastirma along your taste buds, and comes highly recommended by yours truly.

For the vegetarian, go mujaderrah, a combination of rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. Think of it like a Middle Eastern stuffing, a slightly bizarre concept that totally works. 

Pretension will not serve you well at this spot. Only with trust and an open-mind will these flavorful doors be opened unto you.