Brian's Photo Blog — Article 634
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Discovering Corned Beef and Reubens
Friday 17 March 2017   —   Category: Cooking & Food
I must have lived a sheltered life, because it wasn’t until I was already 54 years old that I had my first taste of corned beef. As I wrote nearly a year ago:
I stopped by Otto’s Sausage Kitchen in Port­land’s inner-​southeast Woodstock neigh­bor­hood. Once I entered this den of fleshly de­lights, for quite a while I gazed with saucer eyes and gaping jaw at the piles and piles of incredible sausages and cured meat. The coun­try bumpkin in the big city strikes again!

They were quite generous with their free sam­ples. It was the first time I had ever tasted corned beef and pastrami in my more-​than-​half-​century so­journ on this planet. One of the employees told me that I can now cross those two items off my bucket list!
After making this awesome “discovery” I bought about a third of a pound of corned beef, which my wife, daugh­ter and I used to make sandwiches instead of our favorite roast beef. We all thought it was truly scrumptious, so it seemed likely that we would deepen our acquaintance with corned beef in the future.
My next encounter with corned beef was about five months later. Before attending the September 2016 moon-viewing event at Portland’s Jap­a­nese Garden, I stopped for lunch at the Goose Hollow Inn.
This fifty-​year-​old restaurant is located on the corner of SW Jefferson Street and 19th Avenue, across the street from the Goose Hollow / Southwest Jefferson St. MAX Station, in the Goose Hollow neighborhood next to Downtown Port­land.
The Goose Hollow Inn claims to have “The best Reuben on the planet.” So I tried one for my first Reuben sandwich in my 54 years on this planet. As you can see, it was served with carrot sticks, potato salad and a large pickle.
According to the menu, it consisted of “corned beef, sauerkraut, natural Swiss cheese, and Reuben sauce toasted on dark rye bread.”
To wash it all down I enjoyed a 20 oz (British pint) glass of pFriem Family Brewers’ award-winning Pilsner. According to the brewer:

“The story of pilsner starts in 19th century Bohemia when a Bavarian monk smuggled a special yeast to a brewmaster in Pilsen. The story of pFriem Pilsner starts in the Pacific North­west where it acquires the aroma of fresh grass and flowers and a touch of honey. While there are no monks involved in this pilsner, there is still a crisp and spicy finish.” Measurements: 4.9% ABV • 38 IBU

My notes from that day read: “A really good pilsner ... tasty and not watery ... I would get it again!”
It is a strange combination of in­gre­di­ents, but I really enjoyed this sandwich — it was def­i­nite­ly not going to be my last Reuben!
As a gourmet chef wannabe I love the challenge of trying to duplicate at home a tasty dish I first had at a restaurant. Making my own Reuben sandwich did not seem like it was going to be too hard, so a couple of months later, in No­vem­ber 2016, I bought the necessary in­gre­di­ents and gave it a go.
To build my Reuben I used Oroweat Dark Rye bread, Trader Joe’s Uncured Sliced Corned Beef, Havarti cheese, homemade Russian dressing and Stein­feld’s sauerkraut.

I served it with my German Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, but perhaps two cab­bage dishes in one meal is kind of over­do­ing it.
I wasn’t quite sure how my family would react to this concoction. For my Swiss wife, the idea of eating sauerkraut with cheese and a tomato-based sauce is very bizarre. And my fifteen-​year-​old daugh­ter is a some­what picky eater.

To my surprise, delight and relief, they both really liked it. If you are a bit queasy about such a combination, it helps to not think about the ingredients but to just enjoy the wonderful taste.

Since then we have had Reuben sand­wich­es a couple more times. And we are having them again tomorrow to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Éirinn go Brách!

The best six photos from dining at Goose Hollow Inn have been added to the Oregon Pub Crawl 2016 album, while the best three pictures of my homemade Reuben are now part of the Gourmet Chef Wannabe 2016 album.

For details about how I spent this Irish holiday last year, see A Three-​Sausage Portland St. Patrick’s Day.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 634
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