Save the Deli

PhilADeli slipped through the cracks

Friday, May 30th, 2008

I have to say that I’m disappointed in myself. Usually Save the Deli is on top of all deli news, but I am only one man, and even this tireless deli crusader can screw up. Which is why I’m not only sad to report the closing of Philadelphia’s PhilADeli, but I’m also disappointed in myself because it closed way the hell back in February…sorry, I must have been skiing. (more…)

Shopsy’s may be on the outs…

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

If one deli represents both the bright and dark sides of Toronto’s bittersweet deli story it is Shopsy’s. For years, Shopsy’s was the granddaddy of the Toronto corned beef scene, ruling over the corner of Spadina and Dundas (now home to King’s Noodle) for many decades. It was our equivalent of Canter’s or Katz’s or Ben’s, and people knew and respected it around the country. Great deli men like Yitz Penciner (aka Mr. Yitz), cut their teeth there, and it fed corned beef to millions of Torontonians, both Jews and non. (more…)

Jon Orren’s Wheelhouse Pickles

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

I want to talk about pickles…

The question is, am I a half sour or a full sour? Well, to tell you the truth, in all the confusion, I kinda forgot. So you gotta ask yourself, “Do I feel hungry?”. Well do ya, punk?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet a softspoken Brooklynite named Jon Orren, who, when my big fat mouth finally gave him a chance to speak, told me about his pickle company. You see, Jon was always a pickle lover, and he ate so many as a kid that his mom refused to buy him jar after jar of pickles. She said that if he wanted to eat pickles, Jon could get some cucumbers from the garden and soak them in the leftover brine. Needless to say that a passion was born, and though Jon spent years in some of New York’s most fabled kitchens as a chef, his love for pickles remained strong. (more…)

A 2nd 2nd Ave Deli? Not quite.

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

I got a little flurry of emails over the weekend from New York readers eagerly excited at the prospect of another 2nd Ave Deli… just a few blocks from the original East Village Location. The report came from the foodie website Eater, which passed along info from one of their loyal readers: (more…)

Guide to Kosher Imaginary Animals

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Yes, but is she kosher?

For the kosher deli eater, figuring out what to eat and where to eat is a feat in itself. For the kosher deli owner it’s a daily battle that eats up a significant chunk of their operating income. Considering delis mainly serve beef, chicken, and fish, what’s one to do with an Amikiri or Chupacabra? Can you make lox out of Mermaid? (more…)

Caplansky’s is coming to Toronto

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Oh joy of joys!

Here in Toronto, sweet as the deli may be, it is unfortunately all rather far from where I live. Though deli began in the downtown Kensington Market area, which later became Chinatown, the last deli to leave the city core did so decades back. Downtown Toronto is largely deli deprived, save the New Yorker Deli, which I’ve been to a few times.

But in the areas where the Jewish core of Toronto once grew…Chinatown, College, the Annex…there ain’t a knish in sight. (more…)

The Blue Bloods Finally Get Salt Beef!

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich 1718-1792
To whom we owe everything.

Ahh back to London again. When I was there last fall, one of the refrains I heard most commonly in the salt beef bars was how deli remained very much an enterprise sold by Jews to Jews. Unlike in New York, where it crossed over to the Irish, Italians, and other immigrants, or Montreal, where le smoked meat is a Quebecois dietary staple, the UK’s salt beef often remains scorned by the upper crusts.

But now, the proud deli men of London can raise their heads even higher, safe in the knowledge that the blue blooded establishment may be coming around after all. Just read the following Daily Mail article from food writer Tom Parker Bowles, an esteemed gastronome and son of Mrs. Prince Charles herself, Camilla Parker Bowles: (more…)

A Cautionary Tale

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Jewish delis are one of the few restaurants where pretty much anything goes. You can make a mess, talk loud, jump between tables, and complain at the top of your voice, and it’s a safe bet that the owners have seen it all before. But Ariel Kraut’s cautionary tale, “Sonic Boom Ruins Deli Experience” published in the University of Wisconsin’s Daily Cardinal shows that even delis have a limit:

E-mail It