Save the Deli

The US Cover is Here

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

So we’ve seen the Canadian book cover, but now it’s time to see what the good folks at my US publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have come up with.



Essex on Coney: still alive

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Once, Brooklyn was teeming with delis. Thousands of them. Literally.

Then they left, one by one. Then by the hundreds. Then, like the Jews who once inhabited much of the borough, en masse.

Today, though many Jews do live in Brooklyn, including the Flatbush area, Borough Park (heavily Hasidic), the neighborhoods along Ocean Parkway, and those in Park Slope (me), the delis are few and far between.

They are (in no specific order): Jay and Lloyd’s, Adelman’s, Gottlieb’s, David’s Brisket House, Junior’s (of cheesecake fame), and the Mill Basin Deli.

That list now apparently lacked one more, as I got word today that Essex-on-Coney, has closed for good.

So reports Kosher NY: (more…)

Swine flu not kosher say Israelis

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Ok, so some people took my posting yesterday a bit too seriously:

Flu scourge has a pig of a name for Jewish state

JERUSALEM (AFP) — It may be called swine flu around the world, but a senior Israeli official on Monday changed the term in order not to pronounce the name of the animal whose meat is banned by Judaism.

“We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine,” said Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party.

Eating pork is prohibited by Judaism, the religion practised by the majority of Israelis. Islam, adhered to by most of Israel’s Arab minority, likewise bans the consumption of pork.

Swine Flu good for Jews?

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Dont eat pork, not even with a fork.

As news of the swine flu spreads from Mexico (read’s Michael Hogan on that) and beyond, I can’t help but wonder about the deli in all this.

See, I’ve been in Europe during mad cow disease (when McDonald’s in Austria offered the McFarmer line of burgers with pork), and I heard firsthand from my family in Toronto about SARS hitting my hometown (Chinese restaurants empty for months, thanks to knee jerk racism). So now that the little piggy went from market to the infectious disease ward, I’m predicting a shunning of pork in the near term (short pork bellies!). (more…)

Leo’s and Gleiberman’s in Charlotte

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

So as one old friend and Save the Deli fan recently wrote in an email “Sax, your less than once a week posts to the blog are just not working for me. It’s almost as demoralizing as putting butter on a smoked meat sandwich.”

Ha. I slave away for you my minions, and this is the thanks I get!

Truth be told I’ve been a bit lazy lately, first because of Passover (it’s allowed), and then just due to a lack of anything to write. But with the book coming out six months from this week, rest assured, shit is going to get crazy.

One thing I’ve been procrastinating is catching up on delis I visited, but never got around to writing about. I’m specifically interested in those that didn’t ultimately make it into the book, due to space constraints.

So today let’s head down to Tarheel country and visit Charlotte. It’s been two years since I was there, but the taste is fresh in my mind. (more…)

Marketing Ideas

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Happy end of Pesach to you all (or at least those who can’t wait until tonight). I had pancakes for breakfast, asserting my Reforness fully.

In Toronto this week, having meetings with the publisher about marketing ideas for the book (the US meeting happened a few weeks back). I want to tap into your collective imaginations and see what ideas you all have to help promote the book. What are your thoughts for viral campaigns, guerilla marketing, stunts, events, or other fun things that we can do in October to get Save the Deli into as many hands as possible.

I’m looking for whatever you’ve got. Please email me any suggestions or post them below.

Pesach Time

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

If there’s one week that delis look forward to all year, Passover is it. Most close, at least for a few days, and many deli owners head down to Florida, or to the mountains (Jay Parker, I’m looking in your direction), for some R and R. Others renovate, do a deep clean, or actually convert the place to a breadless refuge.

Either way it’s pretty significant. So let’s all take pause, clear our systems of bread, and join around the seder table to remember what it’s all about.

Also, as a plug to myself, check out my article on Vanity Fair’s website about Jewish literature. “Rise of the New Yiddishists”

First off, here’s a great line from a story in the Jerusalem Post:

US President Barack Obama will celebrate Passover Thursday night with staff and friends in what is believed to be the first White House Seder attended by an American president.
The event was slipped onto the president’s public schedule Tuesday night with little fanfare, following a letter signed by Obama earlier in the day wishing Americans who mark the day a “peaceful and relaxing holiday.”

I’d love to know what’s on the menu…


Pancer’s is Staying in the Family

Monday, April 6th, 2009

There’s no news like good news, especially to kiss you all goodbye before Passover.

Home in Toronto today, where I went for lunch at Moe Pancer’s with my good friend Michael Wex. I haven’t been to Pancer’s more than once since I moved to New York, and truthfully I’ve been a bit hesitant to. That’s because a few months back Lorne Pancer told me that he was selling the family business, and putting the deli up for sale. I wrote about it back in October here. As I said then:

It’s time I finally discuss the worst kept secret in Toronto’s delicatessen business. For months now Moe Pancer’s delicatessen, the beloved institution of North York, has quietly been for sale. Normally I’d keep you abreast of all these developments, but Lorne Pancer is a dear friend and this site, the book, hell…this whole deli community, wouldn’t exist without his support over the years. So I kept my mouth shut as Lorne looked around for a buyer.

Chicken Soup Reinvented

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I just came across a great article in the Times from my friend Jennifer 8 Lee, author of the amazing book and blog, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (like Save the Deli for Chinese food).

Chicken Soup for Good Souls, Jewish or Otherwise

Published: March 12, 2009

Do the Jews have a claim on chicken soup?

A mock court once thought so, ruling that chicken soup deserved the title of “Jewish penicillin.” (The opposing side argued that the soup belonged to everyone, and that Greeks, Italians and Chinese could all claim to use chicken soup in time of illness.)

And chicken soup may actually indeed be good for a cold (not just the soul). A 2000 study found that a chicken soup recipe passed down from a Lithuanian grandmother inhibited the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection, which may reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms. (more…)

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