Best Place To Stop Being a Vegetarian

Parkway Deli
8317 Grubb Road, Silver Spring; (301) 587-1427
I was a vegetarian for more than 15 years. I technically stopped being one last summer when I nervously glanced up a Parkway Deli waiter and asked for half a pastrami sandwich (lean, make it hot). I couldn’t think of a better way to jettison a decade-plus of environmentally conscious, Linda McCartney-approved, heart-healthy eating than by ordering this old-timey, nostalgic trip to meat nirvana. During my time eating cheese subs and deep-fried tofu, I’d never given much thought to burgers, crispy sea bass, or fried chicken. But pastrami had been a cornerstone of my childhood. The Parkway comes closest to those cherished memories. Plus, you can’t beat the place’s pickle bar. It had to be Parkway. It had to be pastrami. When that briny, smoky beef, slathered in mustard and piled high between two crusty slices of thin rye bread, finally arrived, I didn’t think about Michael Pollan or Fast Food Nation. After that first salty bite, I thought: I’ll never miss deep-fried tofu cubes again.

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