Monday, February 27, 2012

Off the Map: They Could've Spared a Pickle

Brisket -- Edmart Deli, Pikesville, MD
Edmart Deli

"I forget this about you: you don't actually like people.  And that's why we're friends."

And so begins Vodka's 24-hour food spree around Baltimore.
Good Morning, Baltimore. Here's the Brisket That Lives Next Door
Vodka is in town visiting one of her oldest and dearest friends -- well, if 'dear' can be defined by such antics as blaring the car horn at the MegaBus stop by way of greeting.  Said friend, who is insisting on being referred to in this blog as "Bloody Mary," is also a New Jersey native, and is therefore hesitant about the mission of the day because she fears that it will involve interacting with a lot of people (a happenstance that we "affable" New Jerseyans try to avoid at all costs).

How Bloody Mary forgot that Vodka lacks much in the 'friendliness' department is beyond us.

Anyway, after multiple wrong turns and a few complaints about why Duff Goldman has sent us to Pikesville in the first place, we end up at Edmart Deli.  Actually, we end up in a strip mall parking lot across from Edmart Deli, which Bloody Mary points out, based on our mutual New Jersey roots, is the perfect way to begin the day.
If This Were a Diner Instead of a Deli, We'd Feel Even More at Home
We enter Edmart's and place our order for one brisket sandwich on rye with tiger sauce, as per Duff's instructions on the AT A DELI episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.  The man taking the orders is not only about as pleasant as us, but completely lackadaisical about the fact that we are ordering a thick, meaty sandwich at 10:30 in the morning.   The store itself is stocked with typical deli wares, and thankfully, it is virtually empty.  Vodka approaches the counter to pay for our sandwich and two Snapples, and it soon becomes clear why the price tag for these three measly items is quite high for Maryland standards:

The proprietors are originally from New York.
Which Also Explains the "Charming" Attitude of the Sandwich Maker
We discover this fact when the lady at the cash register asks Vodka, seemingly out of no where, "Are you here from out of town?"  Whether this line of questioning arose from Vodka's sour expression, desire for mid-morning brisket, or penchant for photographing Edmart's "Best of Baltimore" signs is unclear, but the lady clearly has her pegged as a foreigner.  She then reveals that Edmart Deli's roots, and meat, come from New York originally, and therefore, the $13 price tag begins to make sense (thank you, New York City inflation).
So What You're Saying Is the Locals DON'T Normally Take Pictures of Your Signage?
We retreat to Bloody Mary's car, where Vodka makes a spectacle of herself by photographing our meal on the dashboard, completely unaware that there are two Baltimore residents stationed in the car directly across, completely confused (some would say "perturbed") as to why they are having their picture taken through the windshield (truth be told, we are lucky we weren't jumped for our high-price meat).
Nothing Like Getting Killed for the Sake of a Photo Op
Diving into our sandwich, we find unbelievably fresh rye bread -- soft and supple and able to blend perfectly with the brisket meat.  We are so taken with the bread, in fact, that the brisket itself almost becomes an afterthought.
WonderBread Indeed
"It's very good... for brisket," Vodka ventures.  This comment results in an inexplicable burst of laughter from Bloody Mary, followed by an accusatory, "How many times have you had brisket?!"
As If Brisket Is A Dish That Belongs on 'Man Vs. Food'
Vodka, mid-chew, is rendered incapable of answering, so she merely holds up varying numbers of fingers until Bloody Mary is forced to guess, "Once?  Twice?  Three times?"

"A lady," Vodka completes the lyric.  Despite our apparent dearth of past brisket-consumption, we decide this meat is remarkably tender and easy to consume, if grossly lacking in tiger sauce ("I knew he was going to be skimpy with that tiger sauce," Bloody Mary comments in what is usually Vodka's tone of judgment).
Never Lay Low on the Condiments with Us Around
We are satisfied, if mildly unimpressed, with our first Maryland Best Thing I Ever Ate meal of the day, especially when Vodka stuffs our trash back into the Edmart Deli paper bag with the following quip of dissatisfaction: "You would think they could've spared a pickle."

Edmart Deli's Brisket: 3 stars