by Steven Doyle
Dan Weinberger has been on the family deli trail most of his life. His own deli, Weinberger’s located in the heart of the tourist trade of downtown Grapevine has been operating for 16 years selling a large variety of unusual and familiar sandwiches. Certainly his Chicagoland favorite “beef” is a a hot item among transplants from Illinois, as are a slew of other choices, some named for infamous characters in the DFW area. Check out the Pugs and Kelly the once popular talk show hosts which consists of Hot Roast Beef Dipped in its Drippings, Horseradish, May Red Onion, Kosher Pickle Planks, on Toasted Kummelwec. There is a Mark Cuban, too. Rest assured there are all the deli favorites you could imagine including one very serious Reuben.
“My family had five delis on the Southside of Chicago from 1952 to 2003. So there has been a shop on continuously 65 almost 66 years. My father learned the business from one of the prominent deli families in Chicago, the Markon family. Ray Markon owned the Seaway Deli in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago but even he goes back to the 30s in the Albany Park area of Chicago. So we have Deli history.” Dan tells us.
Dan is a culinary school graduate with one eye on the past and the other on the future. He is always inventing. Enter the most expensive sandwich in the DFW area.
“So the idea was presented to me by one of the GrapeFest directors from the city of Grapevine, that it would be cool if I could create a sandwich that would complement the Spanish wines that they are featuring. I have one that would go great with a white wine, but what to do for red. So I began to study foods of Spain. I have always been intrigued of Iberico Hams. So that’s where this started, “Dan continued, “This ham retail costs $213.00 (Black Label) a pound and I was not shelling out $1,500.00 for a shank just to get it at a wholesale price, so Central Market was helpful.”
The search for the ideal and expensive sandwich continued. “Closest I came was a Club Sandwich made in England for about $235.00, (might be in Euros). Also, edible minerals, gold, silver, diamond flakes to inflate the price of the sandwich don’t count. That’s bullcrap. I’ll thrown in a diamond and make it a $2000.00 sandwich.”
Dan continued his sandwich studies and kept coming back to Iberico ham for its delicious richness, and discovering the right components to join the ham between bread was the trick he needed to uncover.
“Finding the right elements to elevate the flavor is the task at hand to balance the flavors. I have had both classical culinary training and have grown up in the deli business. When it comes to sandwich making those worlds clash. Counter men (at least old school Counter men) make sandwiches different then they do at the CIA. The construction of the sandwich, or placement of elements is as important as the elements themselves.”
Thus the $225 sandwich was born:
3 oz Iberico Ham
12 mo aged Manchego Cheese,
Venta del Baron Extra Virgin Olive oil
Cracked Black pepper
Heirloom Tomato Slices
Butter Leaf Lettuce
2 Quail eggs (over Easy) option
3 Slices of toasted Peasant style Pumpernickel
The sandwich retails for $225 but does include chips and a pickle spear. It will only be available at GrapeFest September 13-16 but with a few days notice and a deposit Dan will create the sandwich for you.