Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brisket and Fastnachts

With the Home Show finishing up today, the RTM lunch merchants are looking forward to the new convention and show season, with the auto show opening on Groundhog Day, the big crafts buyers show in mid-February and the Flower Show two weeks later in early March. If you want to avoid the crowds, stay away from the RTM during lunch hours those days!

Folks have been asking for platters at Hershel's East Side Deli, so they are obliging. You can get that brisket on a plate with mashed potatoes and other veggies or starches, instead of on a sandwich or accompanied by slaw or salad. If you haven't tried the brisket, do. It's moist and flavorful, and Andy will cut it for you lean or fatty, as your preference dictates. (Andy cooks his brisket whole, not just the lean flat portion, so if you like the fatty deckel like I do, you can get it.)

Speaking of fatty food, expect to see Fastnachts, a pre-Lenten South German/Pennsylvania Dutch donut, at Dutch Country Meats by next weekend. The Fastnachts will come from Haegele's and are traditionally made with mashed potatoes added to the flour, and frequently prepared hole-less.

Jake Fisher, the shop's proprietor, told me he plans to go whole hog into German foods. Although the Dutch Country Meats has de-emphasized fresh pork cuts and only displays a limited selection, you will occasionally spy a piggy item that's otherwise hard to find. This week it was salt-cured pork belly. (Okay, that's really not a fresh cut, but it wasn't smoked so it's close enough.) If you don't see something, ask. Not all the available cuts are in the display cases; they might have what you want in their walk-in fridge.

This week I purchased the Wien Kuchen, Bienstiche Kuchen, Zweibel Kuchen (all from Haegele's), double-smoked pork butt (from Rieker's), and sauerkraut. The Zweibel Kuchen from Haegele's was unexpected, since it wasn't a sweet treat. Instead, a savory egg-onion-sour cream pie (in this version, sans-crust). I'll re-heat the Zweibel Kuchen to go along with the Carbonnade Flammande I braised yesterday from Harry Och's lean chuck.

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