Awarded by Aucklander Kerrie McGirr
Growing up as a young girl in Greymouth I played netball on a Saturday morning. Knees and legs whipped red by the wind and rain, I'd get home to warm up in front of the fire with one of mum's toasted sammies. You know the type...white bread, onion, cheese, a bit of ham if we were lucky. Tomatoes only in summer. Good, traditional heartland Kiwi fare. As a naive teenager, I was whisked away to the USA as an exchange student. Going from mums toasties, meat & three vege, or bolognese if you wanted "international food", to an multicultural urban hub of millions was an eye opener. Living with a Jewish family I couldn't have asked for more. 'Adopted' great aunts & grandparents with loud, Fran-Drescher-in-The-Nanny style eastern seaboard accents and tons of love in their hearts. Latkes, matzo, bagels & lox, knish, spicy pastrami, sauerkraut and of course an intro to the Reuben. I fell in love and returned to Greymouth with a thump. Fast forward twenty something years and the fabulous pastrami & Reubens from the delis in the USA was but a distant dream. However, I've found a cure...the absolutely delicious Toasted Reuben at Federal Delicatessen. Words can't convey the deliciousness, except to say that this is the best Reuben I've had outside those traditional USA Jewish delis. A generous serve of smoky, spicy, great ratio of fat to lean pastrami, wonderous white rye with a right-side-of-tangy mustard and just enough sauerkraut to make your tastebuds tingle. Crispy toasted and crowned with glorious melted cheese. Federal Delicatessen's Reuben shows how far we've come on our culinary journey. Travelling back to the USA might be a pipe dream for now, but in the meantime I'm thrilled to know the best toastie in NZ is available right in the heart of Auckland!