The Perfect Reuben

A short vocabulary lesson-

Cabbotage: Placing soured, spoiled sauerkraut on an otherwise perfectly amazing pastrami sandwich. *

*No cabbotage EVER found at Kenny and Zuke’s.

            I’ve never particularly cared for fermented cabbage, so I’ve rarely indulged in Reuben sandwiches. Until I discovered Kenny and Zuke’s- a Portland Mecca for perfectly cured, smoked meat sandwiches and homemade pickles with an already outstanding reputation. There are a millions reasons to stop in for lunch or all-day breakfast, piled into juicy, pickle-y, meaty layers.
            I went a few weeks back for a lunch date with one of my best friends. How can a weekend get better than a stop at Powell’s (where I picked up Habibi, Craig Thompson’s new graphic masterpiece), followed by the best Rueben I’ve had in my life, at a sidewalk table on the last sunny afternoon of the mild Portland summer? I’m still daydreaming about the toasted rye bread; the sweet strings of the kraut not too tangy or assaulting my taste buds with vinegar, the teeny-tiny-diced pickles in the creamy Russian dressing. The sweet delicate cabbage, complimented the savory, ultra-thin pastrami; the heaping layer of gooey, nutty, salty Swiss cheese balanced everything out.

            I was so excited just holding the wrapped tinfoil packet, letting it warm my hands. Walking to our table, the smell of it floating on the breeze was taunting my growling stomach. By the time I opened it, I couldn’t wait long enough to get a picture before taking a bite, two actually.
            There were certainly a few minutes of waiting. But, having the best quality is worth the extra anticipation. From my experience nothing this good stays a secret. I never trust an empty restaurant. For a delectable cabbotage-free experience: 
Kenny and Zuke’s Delicatessen: 
1038 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205. 
Hours and full menu available at 


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