Muse & Schmooze: Corned Beef Picnic Time

Aside from weekend travel, the Fourth of July has me thinking about hot dogs and barbecues. And while this may not be a direct connection, it also gets me thinking about another form of beef I really adore—the corned variety. (None of that wet, round kind, but the real, flat, Jewish-brisket kind!) Last weekend I was in Cleveland for a family wedding, and while the wedding was lovely, I have to admit that a highlight of the weekend for me was eating a top-notch corned beef sandwich at the famous Corky & Lenny’s. This place has been in business for over 55 years and makes a mean corned beef. We were even lucky enough to chat with Gloria, the 85-year-old owner we fondly refer to as “Mrs. Corky.”

Want to enjoy some of this cured delight during a summer picnic in Boston? Here are several options:

Michael’s Deli: This is, without a doubt, my favorite in Boston. The real deal New York style—approved by my New Yorker food-snob aunt!—comes in regular or extra lean, as it should. Get a sandwich on their excellent rye bread, or go for a pound. This corned beef is properly cured and can be sliced to your liking. The deli also makes top-notch knishes, with an insane variety called “krazy knishes.” If you were at Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen this year (save the date for March 1, 2015, next year!), you may remember the heavenly Cuban/Jewish-inspired guava challah bread pudding knishes.

Sam LaGrassa’s: This is a Boston institution near Downtown Crossing that’s only open for lunch during the week. The sandwiches are so huge you might want to split one. They make a perfect rueben, and they even have the Food Network stamp of approval!

Corky & Lenny’s: You don’t have to take a trip to Cleveland for this one—just pay shipping and they’ll send anything you want! In my opinion their properly chewy rye bread is also worth the shipping.

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