Is it noshworthy?


March 26th, 2010

There are few things as wonderful as the pickle.

If you ask a group of people what they think of when you say “pickle”, you’re likely to get a range of answers. Perhaps they’d talk about those sweet, little gherkins that you find on deli plates at parties. Anyone who’s lived in the South would talk about that amazing creation known as the Fried Pickle.

To me, the first thing that comes to mind when I say pickle, is the classic, Kosher, deli pickle. Actually a very specific one. The ones I get at my favorite San Diego deli, DZ Akins.

DZ Atins is one of the best delis anywhere, and even better since its not in New York or Chicago.

You see, DZ Akins not only has some of the best pastrami, but on each table is a crock of Kosher dill pickles. And not just any Kosher dills, but incredible ones! If the rest of their food weren’t so amazing, I’d just sit and eat pickles there all day.

As a kid, my favorite was bread and butter pickles. There are bunches of people who have no idea what I’m talking about, and those of you unfamiliar with them should join our little club. You’ll be really happy you did. You can still find them in most supermarkets.

Bread and butter pickles are served in slices, and have a slight, yellowish hue. This comes from the mustard and turmeric, which give the bread and butter pickles part of their unique flavor. We used to keep jars of these delicious pickle chips in the refrigerator for snacking.

For a few years, my family lived back in Chicago, where I was introduced to the Polish dill pickle. Imagine a kosher dill with a spicy, garlicy flavor. They’re really amazingly yummy. Just be careful, since no one will want to be around you for a day or two after eating them.

With the exception of pickle slices and relish, most people think of pickles as an ingredient for other dishes. Fortunately, this isn’t entirely true.

One of my personal favorites is the Chicago style, Vienna Hot Dog. Not only does it have this awesome, DayGlo green relish, these classic dogs are served with a complete, kosher pickle spear running the length of them. It makes them a little difficult to eat, but the effort is worth it.

Another surprise came in a Panini the other day. Among the prosciutto, provolone and garlic aioli , was thinly sliced pickle! Not exactly what I expected in an Italian sandwich, but I can’t say I minded in the least. It was clearly a pleasant surprise.

I love pickles. And since they are considered both a fruit and a vegetable, it even counts as eating healthy.

Pickles, our tasty friend. Now where is the nearest Jewish deli?

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