Friday, December 18, 2015

Episode XXXVIII: Candler Park Market (ATL)

And I’m back in the game! 

Budget season is behind us, finally. Right…  Jeff, Charith, could you please confirm that?

That means I can get back to the Reuben Ranger.  First though I have to give a shout out to a fan of the blog we lost this week. Don Giovanni, the family Golden Retriever, died this week back in El Paso.  That dog never met a stranger.  His father, Don Juan, also lived with us before he died 4 years ago. So the bloodline had been with the family for 15 years! We loved them so much and we know they loved us too, and anyone else that happened to be holding a tennis ball.

Back to the blog! A slow Friday at the office meant I was home at 4:00! The early arrival threw off Danny’s routine. He is usually so excited when I come home but he knows he gets to watch Sesame Street at 4:30 and sensed that my early arrival would somehow jeopardize that. He politely suggested I go back to work. So we let Danny watch the show, then we headed out to the Candler Park Market. I was looking online for a Reuben close to work and came across great reviews of this place instead. 

Here we go.

Reuben (Hot ‘n melty!)
“pastrami, swiss, kraut, 1000 island, spicy mustard”

Appearance – (4.4/5.0)
Clean cut, simple appearance here.

The small deli basket does not lend itself well to the middle cut shot.

 Here it is:

Look at the kraut (I’m using their term from the menu). You may have noticed this Reuben had spicy mustard and it gives the kraut a jaundice tint.  It kind of looks like a Moons Over My Hammy, and I’m OK with that.

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.8/5.0)
I was very impressed with the quality all around, and not just in my Reuben. My wife had the Firehouse Italian and everything in there was top flight as well. What struck me first was the kraut. I asked the server behind the counter and she said it was sourced locally. She said, “If we don’t make it here, then we source it locally”.  

The kraut tasted like it came from an episode of My Grandmother’s Ravioli, old world. You need those slightly bitter and vinegary elements in a good Reuben. Some people don’t like this and that is why you usually see this part of the Reuben most commonly substituted for Cole Slaw or some other less offensive green. 

The 1000 Island was not quite as noticeable given the spicy mustard laced kraut but it was still a plus. They did a good job of constructing the Reuben by keeping the 1000 Island below the pastrami and the kraut above it. As a result of the 1000 island being on the bottom of the sandwich, you get some drops of it in the basket which made it easy for me to try it by itself. It was smooth and tangy, and our friend behind the counter confirmed that they make it in-house.  

Price – (4.7/5.0)
$7.25! That rounds down to 7! No complaints here. I think the portion size was just right for the price. The Firehouse Italian was $7.75 and also a great deal. The biggest value proposition might be that this place is in the back of a mini-mart. So you get your ticket from the deli and pay up front at the register. On the way to the front I picked up some BBQ chips for Danny (“Orange Chips”) and the three of us shared a huge fountain drink. Take that Bloomberg! So instead of restaurant margin pricing on the drinks you get 7-11 big gulp value pricing.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.6/5.0)
This place is a Deli counter in the back of a neighborhood mini-mart, and by counter I mean counter. There are no tables. There are some stools at the counter and that is it. Like most of the ITP neighborhoods in Atlanta, Candler Park has some nice parts and some not so nice parts. This mini-mart was a microcosm of the neighborhood. The aisle with the chips and cereal is a nice up-and-coming part of the store but if you go over two blocks to the cheap wine aisle, yikes… You may not want to walk home down that way. You have to take the good with the bad and that is part of charm of living ITP.

Taste – (9.6/10.0)
Classic Reuben taste and it really was Hot ‘n melty! The cheese was flowing over the side and I got to have a few bites that were just melty cheese. The pastrami was thick cut and I think it worked well here. You got some substance in the meaty bites. It was warm but not falling apart tender. Sometime you get meat that is so thin and so tender you don’t even have to chew. I think this goes back to my Texas brisket roots, you need some thick warm cuts of meat to really enjoy the flavor. 

Overall – (28.1/30.0)
Would I order it again? Yes! It was a great way to get back into the blog. This is really the essence of what this blog is all about. It is an adventure to find gems in the back of a neighborhood mini-mart.  The Mean Green sounds awesome too for my next meat-less Monday.

Well done Candler Park Market! 
Candler Park Market Deli and Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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