Saturday, October 24, 2020


I love surprises! Happy ones, that is. I am so not into surprise phone calls about something horrible that has happened to someone I love. Like the time my kid called me to say he was in the hospital and was diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf. And a couple more small ones in his lung. WHAT? ARE YOU F’ING KIDDING ME?? ARE YOU OKAY? TELL ME EXACTLY WHAT THE DOCTORS SAID! I’M FLYING DOWN TOMOROW!

THOSE kind of surprises I can totally live without. But surprise parties for ME, let’s say?? Surprise phone calls?? Surprise gifts?? Surprise visits from people I’m crazy about?? Man. THOSE surprises are way up my alley. I love anything that makes me happy or makes me smile or even makes me cry from heartfelt delight.

And guess what? I had perfectly wonderful surprise last week!

It began with a phone call from my sister in law, who btw, I have known since I was 12 years old, given she began dating my brother while they were in high school. Both of them have been soooo good to me throughout the years not to mention loyal, supportive, generous, and loving. Even when my heart broke at the loss of my brother, my sister in law never failed to stay by my side when I needed a confident, an ally or just someone who would listen and offer advice. Now, whether or not I took her advice is another story, but for today, it doesn’t matter. Both were two of my biggest P.R. fans. Anyway…

Given the stress for everyone during this pandemic, a surprise can be mighty welcome. And mine went down like this:

I got a phone call from my sister  in law asking me “what’s a good day for me to bring lunch to you?” Uh… I’m free almost ANY day. Already I'm excited. And before you know it, boom. We set up a date. I was then told she was going to bring everything… there was nothing I had to do but have a pot of water boiling and a pan on the stove. And of course, a hungry stomach which is so not a stretch for me. Geez. Talk about easy. Thus I complied with a smile on my face, having no idea what sort of surprise was in store for me, as if it even mattered. YAY FOOD. YAY SOMEONE MAKING IT FOR ME. YAY SISTER IN LAW.

Next thing I know, the day of my surprise lunch arrives and sure enough my sister in law shows up with a package of goodies in her hand. And, we head right smack into the kitchen. Oh wait… a little background here…

Katz’s delicatessen in NY is my all time favorite deli! The first time I was there, I was 12 years old and my parents had taken me during my very first trip to Manhattan. While there was plenty to see and do in the city, the most MEMORABLE part of the trip for me was eating a hot pastrami sandwich at Katz’s. F the Empire State Building. The hell with Elllis Island. Big deal about Broadway shows. But FOOD?? Now THAT can easily be first on my list for ANY city to which I travel. And Manhattan did not disappoint. I totally loved it. Which brings me to my recent surprise.

We were in my kitchen, I closed my eyes while my sister in law unpacked her package and bingo. Next thing you know… I open my eyes and what do I see? A complete array of fixings for a hard core hot pastrami sandwich lunch from Katz’s! OMG. I was THRILLED. I was hungry. And I was ready to chomp down the most fantastic lunch I’ve had in a LONG time! Think: excitement and mouth watering.

Apparently what happened was, for her birthday last month, my sister in law received a food basket from her children and yes… the food basket was right smack from Katz’s!! Hallef'ingluyah! You can see it in the photo up above. EXCELLENT GIFT, RIGHT?? Like who wouldn’t love THAT sort of a gift? Plus… it came with corned beef AND pastrami, although pastrami with a lot of fat on it is the ONLY way to go, if you ask me. Trust me… I’ve eaten enough fabulous food in my lifetime to know all about this. Soooo…

We get all the goodies laid out, pop the packaged pastrami into the pot of boiling water to get it hot and within minutes my sister law is putting together the sandwich of a lifetime. The meat, the cheese, the pickles, the EVERYthing is ready to be assembled. I was like the little kid watching every move their mother made so they could then lick the bowl after she mixed the cake batter! Except I’m 72 and was just as excited.  

Well… do I even need to tell you how delicious this surprise tasted?? Think: OUTSTANDING. That’s all I can say. Just the sort of pick me up I totally needed to get my mind off the election for a happy couple of hours. Man. Was I ever a happy lady. Given I've been such a wreck over the upcoming election, lunch was almost as good as downing an Ativan. Keyword: almost. 

In the meantime… and this is totally true…  while you would think what I loved best about all this was the scrumptious food, I do have to admit even better than that, actually… was the fact my sister in law KNEW I would love this treat and made a hard core effort to share it with me!! For if the truth be known… while the rest of the world has a bucket list of sky diving out of an airplane or climbing a huge mountain or visiting the Taj Mahal, MY bucket list pretty much has one item on it.


Deli’s, pizza, astounding hamburgers, Chinatown, Russian Tea Room, Jean-Georges, Little Italy, ALL of it. Ohhh Lordy… if only.

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