Corned beef at Old World Provisions

Corned beef 1.jpg

Pass the cabbage, please.

By Jessica Pasko

As any good Irish-American or wannabe knows, St. Paddy's Day is quickly approaching and that means it's time for corned beef and cabbage. But where to get your corned beef--that's the question.

What if I told you you could get corned beef in Albany from the place that supplies some of N.Y.C.'s most famous delis? Yes, that's what I'm telling you.

Where? Old World Provisions Pastrami and Corned Beef Outlet on S. Pearl Street. Yep, a corned beef and pastrami outlet.

Old World has been operating as a wholesaler for years. It supplies the corned beef and pastrami to such New York City deli institutions as the one and only Katz (That's the one where they filmed the "I'll have what she's having" scene from When Harry Met Sally.) Yep, OWP is the real deal. Beat that downstate naysayers!

The corned beef (and the pastrami) are cut to order ($8.99 a pound), served hot and wrapped in a retro-looking white cardboard deli box, releasing an aroma so enticing you'll probably have to restrain yourself from opening it and eating the whole thing with your fingers on the way home. Seriously, it's that good. Sure, you might have to pop a few Lipitor first, but it's totally worth it.

The company has been working overtime to fill all the seasonal corned beef orders. And customers keep calling the shop to see how far in advance they need to order their C.B. in time for St. Patty's Day. For the record, there's no advance notice required. You can come in during the shop's hours -- Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. --and order in person. You can also call or fax your order ahead for faster pickup.

As the name implies, the focus here is clearly on the pastrami and corned beef. But the all-beef shop also sells beef tongue, hot dogs and even beef bacon.

old world extras.jpgUnfortunately, you'll have to get your cabbage elsewhere. And while Old World won't make you a sandwich, they do sell almost all the fixings for you to recreate a New York City deli experience at home. There's Gold's mustard, rye bread - seeded or seedless, half sour and full sour pickles and even six packs of Dr. Brown's soda. (Yes, even Cel-Ray!)

Did I mention it goes great with green beer?

Find It

Old World Provisions retail shop
193 South Pearl at Westerlo
Albany , NY 12202

Phone: 514-1556
Fax: 514-0327
Hours: M-F, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Please do NOT drink Cel-Ray. Seriously. This is no joke. That stuff is too intense for the current generation. You cannot handle it unless your first name is Sadie or Morty.

Also, does anyone else find it amusing that the only place you can find Dr. Brown's around here is in the "ethnic" section?

Mmm, more delicious reporting from AoA - I love it!

@Erik, it's not that odd considering I've met three people in the past two moths who managed to graduate high school without ever meeting a member of The Tribe.
*cough* Saratoga and Washington counties *cough*

And don't start me on trying to get an egg cream in this town!

Hey Sandor-- There are decent egg creams to be had at Emack and Bolio on Delaware Ave.
Also, we haven't tried them yet, but The Good Leaf tea shop on Lark has them too. They use Foxes U-Bet syrup and owner hails from Brooklyn, so they have promise.

@Sandor, Miss Albany's are good too!

OK, please pardon my ignorance, but what's the difference between corned beef and pastrami?

But do they use the concave or the convex side of the spoon to stir?

Thanks guys, but as someone who spent his formative years slinging seltzer in diners and coffee shops across the Borscht Belt, I'll reserve judgment. :)

What's an egg cream? I'm scared...

Katherine - no fears, there is no egg in an egg cream. I believe it's called that because egg white was originally used to make the foamy top. Sandor can give you the further history, but I believe it's just Fox's U-bet syrup, seltzer and milk.

@Summer- I believe it has something to do with the finishing process. Pastrami starts off as corned beef but I think it's then cured with a spice mixture on the outside. As much as I love my cured meats, I am sadly no expert on their production.

In short, pastrami is smoked, corned beef is not.

There can be other subtle differences, but for the most part they are both prepared the same way -- brined, seasoned, and dried. The additional step of smoking the meat makes it pastrami.

Normally I'd go into why corned beef doesn't actually have corn but if you read The Omnivore's Dilemma it becomes kind of depressing to realize how much corn actually is in corned beef.

The Egg Cream

  1. Add a little milk to an empty 16 oz glass. You'd think more would make it creamier, but it doesn't so don't go crazy with the milk.
  2. Fill the glass most of the way with seltzer. Use a long spoon to direct the spray of the seltzer and encourage head formation. Obviously the only correct way is with the convex side of the spoon.
  3. Add two squirts of Fox's U-bet chocolate syrup. One is too thin and three is too sweet. You might disagree but that's because you have an unsophisticated palate.
  4. Churn the seltzer with the long spoon till the body is brown but the head is white (think a pint of Guinness that's rested for a few minutes.)
  5. Add straw and consume as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you end up with chocolate water.

"You might disagree but that's because you have an unsophisticated palate" is one of the best things I have ever read on AoA... I want to start using that phrase.

This article made me have a reuben for dinner last night. From the bottom of my cholesterol-choked heart, thank you.

"You might disagree but that's because you have an unsophisticated palate" by Sandor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Sandor...your egg cream recipe....reminds me of many a great memory at Jahn's in Richmond Hill...that and having the side saddle which had enough ice cream and other goodies to feed a small army.

ahhhh great memories...thank you for sharing

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