Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tidbits from the Sixth Issue of The Henderson Press

I want to write about my first movie in Nevada, Beauty and the Beast 3D at Regal Fiesta Henderson 12, and about hours spent at the Galleria at Sunset mall with Mom and Meridith while Dad went for a test and a job interview at the Clark County School District offices. As I read more and more books from my Las Vegas stack, that desire returns to describe the starship-hallway feel of the one corridor at the movie theater that contains the entrances to all 12 auditoriums. Yes, just one side of the building.

But not yet. Soon, though. I'm sure of that. For now, I've opened the .pdf file of the sixth issue of The Henderson Press, which is Vol. 2, No. 1, and dated January 13, 2011, which is strange because the previous issue, Vol. 1, No. 5, was dated December 30 - January 14, 2011. But considering that this is the sixth issue and can pretty much be considered still the beginning of The Henderson Press's run, that's understandable. Takes time for any new venture to establish a rhythm of sorts. I'm not a stickler since the writing's good and therefore there's more to occupy my mind than errors like that.

So let's see what this issue has on tap:

- I peeked at the latest issue and found that Jeremy Twitchell is no longer there. A search on Facebook finds him in College Station, Texas now. I only hope that there are writers now at The Henderson Press who can fill what would seem to be a gaping black hole after Twitchell's departure. Fortunately, Don Logay, my other favorite reporter, is still there, and I get to enjoy what there is of Twitchell from this issue to whenever he left.

- The U.S. Veterans Administration is planning to build "a new clinic on the east side of Boulder Highway." 38,000 square feet and "more than 100 parking spaces." I like seeing efforts like this in progress in my future community.

- I don't like Jennifer Twitchell's column because she doesn't have a firm line on what she wants her columns to be about. There is a purpose there, but it's mired in what feels like sentences that haven't been properly edited. However, when she has to focus entirely on one topic, and it's not part of her column, she's really good. Her article about unused airline miles being donated to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth to help homeless teens is focused (finally), solemn, and caring. When her writing isn't about her, her husband Jeremy, and their son, she's a decent writer.

- For municipal elections, Henderson uses "vote centers," as it had in 2007 and 2009, which don't require precincts and permit residents to vote at any of 13 vote centers during early voting, and 12 on election day.

- Two months and "almost $88,000" to renovate the indoor pool at the Whitney Ranch Recreation Center. Aging tile, plaster, ladders and other fittings to be replaced. It's said here that the new materials will last 10-15 years. It seems small in the scheme of a city, but I like these kinds of stories. They show that nothing's too small in this city.

- Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa has a show called Nashville Unplugged, hosted by country songwriters Aaron Benward and Brian McComas, with two invited songwriters, discussing their backgrounds and inspiration behind various hit country songs. If it's still there after we move, I want to see it.

- Julio Iglesias at the Grand Events Center at Green Valley Ranch Resort on January 15. Maybe. He's not one of the top names on my list, but still impressive.

- Henderson Farmers Market on Thursday, January 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seems to me that a farmers market would be better on the weekend, considering how many people work, but maybe there's something more leisurely about doing it on a Thursday.

- There's a coupon for $9.99 winter jackets at Lakes Discount Center. I've got to see this place.

- In the transportation section, there's a listing for a 1997 Honda Accord. $1,400, the owner's moving and it has 200,000 miles on it. Oh, and the keywords "needs tlc." It means you're going to paying out your ass to fix it up.

- The back page of this issue has a full-page ad for Lakes Discount Outlet (where the coupon's from), showing off many discounts, including 2 for $10 on graphic t-shirts. I want to see what they've got.

This issue is a turning point for The Henderson Press. They've settled into a comfortable, informative rhythm, with much of the writing less self-conscious than it first was, and it helps that Jennifer Twitchell's column isn't here. That makes this issue much easier to read.

I'm hoping for more articles by Don Logay. In The Henderson Press at least, he writes strictly with the need to inform in mind. A true journalist.

This is starting to feel like a true community newspaper, since all involved clearly care about their community.

Sandwich #2: The Emmy at Junior's

A block away from The Landmark, where Meridith saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi and I saw We Have a Pope last Friday, is Junior's Deli, one of the very few authentic Jewish delicatessens in Los Angeles. The greatest is Langer's near MacArthur Park, which has retained its dignified feel through all these decades. It's small and it will remain that way, and it will always have the best Jewish food you will ever taste.

I would place Junior's second, but a very distant second. The food is decent, but they don't know what full-sour pickles are. Half-sour perhaps, but when we asked three times for a bowl of full-sours, they came back with the same pickles, what they apparently consider full-sours. If you're running a Jewish restaurant, you'd better know what full-sours are. Dad said that it's based on the population. Florida was populated with Eastern European Jews. Los Angeles has Israelis. Two very different belief systems in the way of pickles. It's hard to take, though, when you've grown up in one very particular way, when the passion for full-sours and really good kishka requires you to be exacting about your tastes. After that third bowl produced nothing of what we asked, we let it go. What else could we do?

When it came time to order, after I had quickly perused a fairly lightweight menu that felt disappointing, I ordered the Emmy sandwich, billed as "hot corned beef, pastrami, swiss cheese, and Russian Dressing." It's the kind of sandwich that needs fries, but no fries. Only cole slaw comes with each sandwich. Meridith had their Build-a-Burger option, choosing pepperjack cheese, and of course that came with fries. Fortunately, Meridith doesn't eat restaurant fries that often unless they're really fried, and these ones were, but I still got my chance at a few.

When I was a kid, I used to be impressed with the sandwiches I saw at The Rascal House in Sunny Isles, north of Miami Beach. They were huge! How could someone stack that much meat between two slices of rye bread and have it remain stable like that? What magic was there that kept the balance? And look at all that corned beef and pastrami and chopped liver! Amazing!

In my pursuit of my standard of perfect sandwiches, I'm a little incredulous now at sandwiches of that size. For Dagwood Bumstead, that size works because it's in a comic and that's his appetite. I know that there's Blondie's at Universal's Islands of Adventure, which Meridith and her friends searched for during their 8th grade end-of-the-year trip in order to try a Dagwood, but couldn't find the place. To me, that describes exactly what I think of such jumbo sandwiches: They're novelties. There comes a point when a sandwich becomes tall enough that it's more about the size than the sandwich itself. I believe attention should always be trained on a sandwich and the elements that make it so.

The Emmy is manageable with both hands, but you're just chomping into a lot of meat. The Russian dressing is slathered on both slices of bread, but never in between, I guess because to have it on any slice of the meat is to risk the balance of the reputation of sandwiches like these. One slice of meat has to cling to another. No sliding. And the Swiss cheese is only latched to the dressing on each slice of bread. Again, nothing in between, and again, just a whole lot of meat in your mouth. Stop giggling.

Fortunately, a squeeze bottle of Gulden's mustard was at our table and as my sandwich shrank, I thought to squeeze some on the meat. Oh god. If I had done it before, the sandwich would have surely fallen apart, but that combination of salty meat and Gulden's is a kind of heaven that can only exist in that moment. It counteracts the straight salt from the meat, elevating the flavors of the meat. It's as if the corned beef and pastrami stop trying to compete with each other in taste and just link arms and hum in peace. Gulden's is truly the United Nations of mustards, but more successful.

Tall sandwiches being a novelty that shouldn't be indulged in too often, I liked it in those moments of all that corned beef and all that pastrami. But separately, even though I know that's part of what Jewish delicatessens thrive on (the Carnegie Deli at the Mirage in Las Vegas does it too), it's still too much. Fortunately, the slices of rye bread at the top and bottom held really well, and that's how you know you're in a good Jewish restaurant. Rye bread needs to be strong for these sandwiches, but not too hard a crust. This worked.

The Emmy goes well above the egg salad hoagie I had from Pavilions, but probably lounges in the middle of my list. #5, I think. I'm saving the top spots for sandwiches that I'm sure will either come from Southern Nevada or New Mexico, or those cities I visit during my visits to presidential libraries. We shall see. I do know that I want to find a sandwich like The Emmy, but with some self-control, and more sandwiches that use hoagie rolls. I like the strength of those.