Oy My God


I’ve  schmoozed with brisket sandwiches in NYC and Chicago and even in my own kitchen, but none compare with the one, or should I say half of one, that I ate last Thursday in Philly at Hershel’s East Side Deli.

As with most redirected eating plans upon which I embark ( with the diligence of a Border Collie), someone, like a husband, or something, like a brisket sandwich, derails me.

And so the derailing occurred in a perfect place: the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia. Formerly a train station for the Reading Railroad, the space now bustles with hungry humans searching for pork, honey, ice cream, Whoopie cakes, and pastrami sandwiches on marbled rye or pumpernickel.

So much for a diminution of carbs and fat! So much for cutting back on cheese and special sauces! So much for a reduction in salty pickles!


I approached the counter with the anticipation one might experience when diet restrictions die by the side of the road, when all preconceived notions of triglycerides evaporate into heavy air, when the light turns a bright green and one is  behind the wheel of a high octane-burning race car—with the reckless abandon of a teenager.

The pastrami has been inhaled off the cutting board above. Pastrami  or brisket?

A short-circuiting began first in my brain and then in my salivary glands, much like my Labrador Dinah waiting for her meager meal each morning.

I asked the owner, Steve, to “ take care of me.”

When he returned with a marbled rye hot brisket sandwich with the Rachel—a layering of Russian dressing, cold slaw, cheese, and other family secrets—I descended into a culinary high rarely experienced.


To be honest, that sandwich put this old cracked bell to shame.

Liberty, Schmiberty!






About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in healthy eating, Life, Places and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Oy My God

  1. Muni says:

    Hi Cheri, Always enjoy reading your prose and viewing your pictures. I owned the Reading Railroad once! (In Monopoly) The sandwich looks great (reminds me of Zingerman’s deli in Ann Arbor) but we are gluten free and Sue is dairy free so the taste and smell have to come from our memory bank! Enjoy.

    • Cheri says:

      Ha! It’s funny that you, too, thought of Reading Railroad and Monopoly. That is exactly what I first thought. Well. Your memory bank won’t put on the calories! Maybe I should try that but then I would have missed this culinary delight. (and thanks for reading my prose).
      Did you see that I misspelled cole slaw?

  2. Lue Perrine says:

    Looks and sounds absolutely delicious!
    There are different levels of affixiation! 😆
    World Famous!

  3. wkkortas says:

    If asked to choose between pastrami and brisket, there is no bad choice.

  4. I can almost smell all that caloric goodness. Why can’t WE have a deli like that here?

  5. Richard says:

    Summoned to comment, I say:

    Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof.

    Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.

    Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!

  6. Cheri says:

    YES!!! We definitely ate and drank while in the City of Brotherly Love. There was a lotta love at the counter at Hershel’s, believe me. Love of kugel, mazoh ball soup, pastrami and brisket sandwiches and lots of desserts, which we politely declined when offered. I didn’t even feel guilty about eating that sandwich. First, I only had half. Second, it was my only brisket sandwich so far in 2018. Third, as you observe, we only live once. (Don’t tell Glenys…I have no idea what the sugar content was)

  7. Christopher says:

    That brisket sandwich looks like fare I used to eat heartily when in my twenties and thirties.

    Being long since a vegetarian (I saw the light) and in my seventh decade, I would have to check in at a hospital after eating a sandwich such you ate at Hershel’s East Side Deli.

    • Cheri says:

      Well, it appears to me that you are still vigorous and sharp so 6 decades of meat-eating didn’t kill you. I respect you for choosing the vegetarian way. I haven’t eaten lamb or veal in 15 years but a brisket or pastrami sandwich I cannot pass up when in a Jewish deli. Hope you are doing well, Christopher.

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