Save the Deli

It’s Audition Time at the Jewish Book Network

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Tomorrow night is going to be a big one. That’s when I, and several hundred other Jewish authors (or authors with Jewish books), audition for the Jewish Book Network. The JBN, which is part of the Jewish Book Council, is like the American Idol for Jewish literature in America. It helps organize and facilitate book tours to Jewish communities around the country, bringing authors who normally wouldn’t stop in those places, to the likes of Cleveland, Portland, and Tampa.

Cool, right?

But the JBN isn’t just a normal process. No no. It’s an audition. (more…)

Exclusive Sneak Peak of New Caplansky’s Deli

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

It was exactly a year ago tomorrow that I first met Zane Caplansky. He’d recently changed his name from Zane Caplan, and was sitting at the bar in Toronto’s Monarch Tavern, eating a slice of pizza. He told me he’d been curing his own briskets and smoking them for the previous months, making a sort of hybrid smoked meat that was all his own. The bar had given him their small kitchen, and he planned to open a small deli in the Monarch, selling smoked meat sandwiches that he would cure, smoke, and slice himself. It was small scale deli, but it sure showed promise.

What a difference a year makes. (more…)

Kenny and Zuke’s: A Visit

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Allow me to start a long post by saying this: there are delis, and then there are delis.

The first meet our expectations, serving us the comforts we want, in the atmosphere we’re used to, keeping the tradition alive.

The second exceed our expectations. They take deli and bring it a notch higher, raising the standards on the food, on the packaging, on the whole damn idea of Jewish deli.

Portland, Oregon’s Kenny and Zuke’s Delicatessen is such a place (the latter). It is, simply put, in a class by itself.

Ready? Let’s do this! (more…)

Back in the Field (Portland)

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Dateline Portland

image courtesy of Flickr

I’m here on assignment for Gourmet magazine, writing about Kenny and Zuke’s, one of the most ambitious and impressive delis to open in America in the past few years.

Had a taste of their pastrami today and it was amazing, but I’m jetlagged, beat, and a bit drunk. So I’ll update fully tomorrow or thurs with photos, text, and the whole shebang.


Houghton Mifflin’s Fall 2009 Catalog is Out

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

This means that the book is ready for stores to buy. Getting closer folks. Five months away until D-Day. Deli day.

Use the arrows on the top to check out Save the Deli’s pages on 27 and 28. There’s even a little preview of a few paragraphs.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Adult Catalog Fall 09 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Adult Catalog Fall 09 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt This is the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt General Interest Catalog.

Publish at Scribd or explore others: Brochures & Catalogs catalog houghton mifflin har

It’s a Book! (or a galley)

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Yes folks, what you see there is a real book version of Save the Deli. That’s my words, and images, on chopped up trees, arranged in a nicely packaged, handheld commodity. Mmmmm…analog.

But wait, you say, doesn’t Save the Deli come out on October 19th (or the 20th for Canada)?

Hold the Schmaltz! (Rascal House the Final Hours) The Film

Friday, May 8th, 2009

It’s been just over a year since the great Miami deli The Rascal House was closed down by greed, haste, and foolishness.

Now comes a film about that final day. Thanks to comedian, performer, and magician Adam Steinfeld (Jewish?), I present “Hold the Schmaltz”.


Reichl loves Caplansky’s, Sy gets his due, the battle of Philly, and Irving’s in NJ

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I’m staring at an inbox filled with deli news, so I’m just going to get it all off my chest today. At once.

First, I have some great news from back home. Yesterday, Zane Caplansky was treated by a special visitor, the one and only Ruth Reichl, the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, famed food author, and an early supporter of Save the Deli. Reichl knows her deli. She grew up in Manhattan, and she spent a few formative school years in Montreal, which she wrote about so beautifully in “Tender at the Bone”, her first memoir. She was in Toronto on tour for her new book, and was taken around to various interviews by Bonnie Stern, who is, in her own right, the Ruth Reichl of Canada (and the woman most responsible for what my mom puts on the table). So when Mrs. Stern took Reichl out for dinner, it was to Caplanskys. She Tweeted (I have myself for writing that), and awesome mini-review: “Caplansky’s smoked meat awesome. Along with the single most decadent knish ever made, involving smoked meat, puff pastry, schmaltz…” Zane’s all abuzz about it, and you can read more on his fantastic blog. (more…)

Feliz Cinco de Mayo (hold the mayo)

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

It’s Cinco de Mayo today, which means Mexicans everywhere are celebrating their independence with Margheritas, cerveza, and carnitas. So I’m taking a moment to acknowledge this awesome holiday (and can be found at Brooklyn’s Nuevo Mexico tonight), for several reasons. (more…)

NY Bakery and Delicatessen in Kansas City is Closed

Friday, May 1st, 2009


This never gets easy, especially when I know the deli and the owner is such a mensch.

You may recall that when I was traveling across the US two years ago, at the very start of this blog, I visited the New York Bakery and Delicatessen in Kansas City, MO.

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