Save the Deli

Gourmet weights Smoked Meat vs. Pastrami

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Katz’s Pastrami (photo credit:


Schwartz’s Smoked Meat

Gird yourselves deli lovers, because a great debate is about to rage up.

Gourmet Magazine (which will shortly publish a story of mine on deli), has a post by famed New York food critic Robert Sistema on weighing Schwartz’s smoked meat vs. Katz’s pastrami, both of which are eaten within hours of each other. This is a taste test of champions. Read on:

My wife, Gretchen, and I recently found ourselves faced with a unique opportunity: to eat the famed smoked meat of Montreal, then travel back to New York and taste our home city’s notorious counterpart, pastrami, all within a few hours of each other. This rare, real-time comparison turned into a pastrami vs. smoked meat smackdown, as we tried to answer the fundamental question: “Which is better?”

The Secret History of the Bagel

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I don’t talk about bagels much, though I love them dearly, because I try to keep the deli world distinct from the bagel/appetizing world…as it should be. But I have to post about this.

Last week I read a great article by my friend Ari Weinzweig, the guru-founder of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor. Two years ago Ari took me to Zingerman’s bakehouse, where they were making chewy, crisp, hand twisted bagels similar to those I’ve enjoyed in Montreal. The man knows and loves bagels, and his article “The Secret History of the Bagel“, in the Atlantic’s food pages, is a worthwhile read.

Are you ready for Save the Deli?

Friday, March 27th, 2009

It’s official folks. Save the Deli the book is heading to the presses shortly.

After nearly three years of toil and gluttony, the publishers have both confirmed their publication dates, which means the day this puppy hits the bookshelves of stores, Amazon, and delis everywhere.

In the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will start selling the book on October 19th.

In Canada, McClelland & Stewart will sell it on October 20th (it’s a day behind because of the time difference).

Here’s what the Canadian cover is going to look like (the US cover is still being tweaked).


Schwartz’s in France (kinda)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

We all know (or should know) Schwartz’s, that shrine of smoked meat in Montreal where the briskets are cured, smoked, and hand-cut in house. Oh heaven, oh rapture. The beauty of Schwartz’s is that it’s a lone wolf, never a chain, and a unique, one of a kind place. Others have tried to copy and replicate it over the years, some with decent success, but nothing equals the original.

One of the reasons for this is that Schwartz’s (and Montreal delis in general) is as French as it is English. The French Canadian tongue loves garlic, salt, fat, and spices, and so their adoration of le smoked meat is one of the keys to Schwartz’s greatness and longevity.

So it should come as no surprise that someone in Paris, France is trying to open a Schwartz’s there.

Oui, oui mes amis, c’est vrait. (more…)

NY Post: Kosher Dog Fight

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

You have to love the New York Post. Not only are they on the kosher beat, but they find the most insane angle of it, and then write it up with so much sick humor, that you can’t help but laugh and cry at the same time. Check out the comments on the Post’s site. They are utterly insane:


It was kosher chaos.

A riot erupted at a Brooklyn restaurant last week when Orthodox Jewish patrons discovered the “kosher” hot dogs on the menu were chicken franks that didn’t answer to a higher authority.

What ensued was as unholy as the hot dogs. The eatery’s frightened manager was punched in the face and fended off the angry mob with an electric carving knife until cops finally broke up the frankfurter fracas.

“They were yelling at the guy behind the counter,” one witness told The Post. “They started spitting and throwing things at him. They were shaking the counter and trying to jump over to search the fridge.” (more…)

Good Deli Joke for Tax Time

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Moshe, the owner of a small Kosher New York deli, was being questioned by an IRS agent about his tax return.
The following joke comes courtesy of Mark Schachner from Brooklyn’s Mill Basin Kosher Deli:

Moshe, the owner of a small Kosher New York deli, was being questioned by an IRS agent about his tax return.
He had reported a net profit of $80,000 for the year.
‘Why don’t you people leave me alone?’ the deli owner said.

‘I work like a dog, everyone in my family helps out, the place is only closed three days a year.

And you want to know how I made $80,000?’
‘It’s not your income that bothers us,’ the agent said.
‘It’s these travel deductions. You listed ten trips to Israel for you and your wife.’
‘Oh, that?’ the owner said smiling. ‘Well… We also deliver.’

Own Your Favorite NY Deli (In Miniature)

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Today I bring you a very special offer to own a chunk of New York deli history and miniature real estate. I was listening to NPR this morning and I heard a story about how the famous Queens Museum of Art is auctioning off the real estate in its giant New York City Panorama model to raise money for the museum’s funding.

What the heck’s a Panorama, you ask? (more…)

Late Night Noshing

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009


Most delis I know close early at night, not usually after 8pm. I get why this happens. Owners want to get home after being in the deli all day, and in many cases deli customers are older and generally don’t eat late at night. But I think delis are missing a key chunk of business…the late night noshers.

I bring this up because I got word this week that Russ and Daughters, home to the finest appetizing and smoked fish on earth, will be extending their hours to reflect the changing face of the Lower East Side (from elderly immigrants and crackheads to hipsters and young professionals). It will now be open until 8pm on weekdays. (more…)


Monday, March 16th, 2009

Sorry for not posting all week. I was in Mexico. No deli to speak off, though I’ll launch save the taco real soon.

Damn you YouTube

Friday, March 6th, 2009

So it seems that the legal powers that be at the record labels and youtube have decided to freeze a bunch of my videos because of the soundtrack music in the background. Which means I may have to re-edit or use the crappy music they have available, and that these vids won’t be as awesome as before.

Once again, the record industry is showing itself to be as nimble as a dead sloth. Why not just pop an ad in front of my video and let me use my minute of your song? Don’t you know this is the way things are going?


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