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In search of Rye Bread – A Scowler Leaves San Francisco

There are certain things that I really missed when I lived in San Francisco. I think that it's best summed by this letter that I sent to my management on my last day at work:


In a startling move, Avery Glasser, Product Manager for <name of company deleted>'s wildly successful Network Voice Response offering, ended his five-year tenure at <company name> and decided to persue opportunities outside of the company.

The reason cited: "I just can't get good rye bread in San Francisco." Glasser, a Connecticut Native, and lover of good, hearty rye bread has been lamenting the lack of good bread products in San Francisco for the last five years. In a press conference at the Toronado (a local establishment in the Lower Haight district&#41 last month, he presented his case for leaving the West Coast:

"San Francisco just can't seem to do a decent job on any of their bread products. Sure, you can get a damn good Sourdough batard almost anywhere, but once you try to find a rye bread or [even] a pumpernickel…   good luck. All you'll find is mushy, flavorless bread that could barely stand up to peanut butter and jelly, let alone a substantial Corned Beef and Horseradish sandwich. Then again, you can't get good Corned Beef, Pastrami or even something as simple as good mustard or horseradish out here…"

Glasser then obtained another pint of Prohibition Ale, and after taking a hearty sip he continued:

"…and don't get me started about those circular sponges that they call bagels out here. But hey, it's not like people out here know a damn thing about bagels, lox or baked salmon anyway."

Glasser then commented about his search for a blueberry muffin that didn't have oatmeal, wheat germ, or some other "absurd excrement" added to it, and then proceeded to make his way towards the door muttering something about needing a "schwarma" [ed. schwarma is a syrian dish made up of roasted vegetables, grilled meats and sesame sauce, wrapped in a piece of lavash, or middle-eastern flatbread].

When asked about the press conference the next morning, Glasser responded that he "didn't remember" stating his departure to the crowd assembled at the Toronado, but after four or five pints of something called "Arrogant Bastard Ale" he couldn't remember even getting the aforementioned schwarma.

Glasser then commented that he had "tons of stuff" to complete before shutting down his laptop for the last time, and as he headed for the door, he commented:

"Yeah, it sounds like me to say something like that. I stand my my initial statement that the bread here…   well… it sucks. Still, I am sure that there will be enough food stuffs out in Hartford [Connecticut] that will suck as well.

"At least I'll finally be able to get a decent pastrami sandwich whenever I want."

Yesterday, I had decided that I had been without any good Jewish soul food for too long, so we decided to make a pilgrimage to one of the best delis in Connecticut: Rein's Deli in Vernon.

Rein's is the quintessential deli for New York City ex-patriates. Here, you can get anything from baked salmon to bialys to a pastrami on fresh baked rye with Hebrew National mustard and fresh horseradish… actually, I did get an order of baked salmon, a bialy and a lean pastrami sandwich on fresh baked rye… and an egg cream and a Dr. Brown's black cherry soda. Sure, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, but it was time for me to indulge in one of the joys of being Jewish and living in the Northeast.

It's funny. Some people have told me that you can't go home again… that every fond memory I have is just that, a memory. Nothing will ever live up to the memories of my childhood. Maybe for some people that's true, but right now I'm thinking of that perfect pastrami sandwich and I've realized that I really have come home.

Posted in Smirks.

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