April 05, 2012

the reuben challenge

I'm not sure if many of you remember me discussing this new theme I wanted to run with about things I've tried and whether or not I liked them. One reader, a favorite of mine, aka Kallay over at kalllaydoscope was listening to me the day I vowed I had never tried a reuben sandwich. I believe this post caught her eye because like me, she had never tried one in her life either. I shouldn't have felt so alone in this, my husband had never tried them in his lifetime as well.

Suddenly it was born, the Reuben Challenge. Both Kallay and I set out to find this sandwich. We wanted to hunt it down, and try it out. At the least if we didn't like it we at least gave each other something fun to do with our time and something to blog about, right?

IMAGE BY KALLAY • I didn't have my crap together to take pictures!!!
In the past I've always, always, always snubbed my nose at this sandwich. Corn Beef? Sauerkraut? Blech, no thank you! Oddly enough I love Rye bread, as well as pumpernickle. Judging by my mid section you could say there was never a carb that I met that I didn't fall madly in love with. For years my parents made these sandwiches for dinner. Looking back I wish I would have given in and tried it. It was one meal my parents never forced on me, instead I ate pizza or made my own sandwich. Since my mother's passing it's one regret I have, not sampling her homemade reuben sandwiches.

REUBEN TEST #1: Montagu's Sandwich Shop
I'm sure you're asking yourself, Number 1? Yes, to be scientific I tried the sandwich two times, from two different places. I had heard from a few friends that the reuben sandwich at this place in particular was killer so Mike and I headed over there to sample it one day for lunch. What I enjoy about this little sub shop is that they cook everything right in front of you so I was not only able to eat the sandwich but watch it constructed. As they set the plate in front of me I took a quick sniff of the sandwich. {I smell most everything if I've never tried it before.} And I took a small bit of the meat off the plate to sample it. I had never had corn beef so wanted to see what all the fuss was about without the kraut. It was salty, almost too salty for my liking. To be fair I've had subs here before and had the same complaint. I guess it's the special spices they use, and they must be heavy on the salt. No time like the present it was time to dig in. I took my first bite and immediately my mouth was flooded with the sour bite of the kraut, but honestly I sort of liked it. I'm a big pickle fan, so the tartness of the kraut was a nice compliment to the saltiness of the meat. The rye bread was simple, I would have loved to have a thick marbled slice like Kallay's sample pictured above. All in all the sandwich I thought was great. I wouldn't say I had a new favorite sandwich, but I did enjoy it.

I'm not sure what made me decide to try the sandwich again. Maybe it was the fact that while I enjoyed the meal I wasn't as wowed as I thought I would be. Everyone always raves about reuben sandwiches and I started to worry that maybe my first one wasn't all it was cracked up to be... even though friends had raved about it. I went with the second, affordable option that other friends had raved about and that was the reuben sandwich at Arby's. Uh, yeah... you read that right. Arby's. Let's just say our town is slightly lacking in the awesome Deli department, ok?

REUBEN TEST #2: Arby's, yes... Arby's - It's Good Mood Food, right?
Again Mike was my wing man and decided to again sample the Reuben sandwiches with me. We both ordered the basic reuben - they have one with turkey meat as well but I really didn't want to taint my experiment with a new meat.

Arby's had a bread that was a bit more marbled like Kallay's sandwich which got me sort of excited. They had plenty of kraut, lots of meat and just the right amount of swiss and Thousdand Island Dressing added. I took a bite and wasn't really flooded with a much different flavor. I started to think well maybe all reuben sandwiches are created equal and I need to get over this desire to find the perfect one to love it like everyone else does.

I wasn't over the top wowed but as far as fast food sandwiches go, it was pretty damn tasty. I'd order it again if I got the hankering for something savory and sour... doesn't happen often but sometimes I do.

While I don't see myself calling the reuben my favorite sandwich of all time, I will say I enjoyed keeping an open mind and trying it, not once but twice. Both sandwiches were tasty and I sort of see myself trying this treat again, maybe at a more fancy bar or restaurant. One local establishment has a new sandwich entitled the Grouper Reuben. Deep fried fish with the toppings of a reuben, might be interesting. 

Please head over to Kallay's blog and read about her experience!!!

I look forward to doing more of these posts so stay tuned. I have a few to share about the food on my honeymoon as well!

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Kallay said...

You'll definitely have to try and come up here! If you ever have a hankering for Chicago time, Michigan City is only about an hour away. The sandwich was magic.

I never knew that Arby's had a Reuben! Haha! Just goes to show how much of a Reuben fan I wasn't.

Lora said...

Try it with Cole slaw instead of kraut. So so so much better!

400 Wakeups said...

The grouper reuben sounds DELISH!!! The only time Neal eats a reuben all year is when we go to Keeneland for the horse races twice a year (or did, when we lived in KY). They make the most killer reuben at the racetrack. I, too, love a really good one..but sometimes it's hard to find a really good one. But I don't judge, Arby's will do in a pinch!

Shana said...

You seriously have to come here and we'll go for reubens. I promise, it will be better than Arby's.

Cathy said...

My MIL can make a mean homemade reuben. I hadn't really tried one until a few years ago. I didn't think I'd like it because of the kraut. I was wrong. I love me a reuben. One of my fave sandwiches is a Cuban...I mean, you can't go wrong with pickles and ham. mmm...pickles:)

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