As I’m writing my chapter on Los Angeles’ delicatessen scene, one of you loyal readers sent me a great article, which I have actually been looking for for some time now. In 2002, the great LA Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold gathered the creme de la creme of LA deli men (and woman) for a panel discussion on LA’s deli scene. In the panel are Marvin Saul of Junior’s, Art Ginsburg of Art’s, Terri Bloomgarden of Canter’s, and the late great Al Langer of Langer’s. Less of an article and more of a slice of rapid fire conversation, Gold’s snapshot of this fleeting moment in deli history has to be up there with the classic deli articles of all time.
“ART GINSBURG: Al, I want to thank you for the hot bread. ‘Cause what you didn’t tell them is how to get it hot.
SAUL: Trade secrets, trade secrets, trade secrets . . .!
GINSBURG: What you gotta do is take a loaf of bread, put it under the faucet with a little water on both sides of the things, and then put it in the oven for about 15 minutes. So it gets crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside. And then you slice it.
LANGER: Ooh. So that’s the way it works?
SAUL: This is the carrots getting up and slapping the farmer in the face, right?
GINSBURG: I just wanted to tell you, because I’m a little younger than you.”