Save the Deli

Big Friday Roundup

It’s Friday, I’m heading home to Toronto for two weeks, and that means it’s time for a big assed summer roundup. Get ready!

1. Langer’s Deli will be on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” next Tuesday at 9.30 PM.
Be sure to check it out. It’s about pastrami (duh).

2. Evan’s New York Style Deli is reported open in Marblehead, MA. That’s near Salem, or north of Boston, for you landlubbers.

Says the site:

Evan’s Deli career started in the late 1980′s, at Michael’s Deli in Marblehead, where he studied under the tutelage of Michael Sobelman, and learned the true meaning of what Evan likes to call “Deli-ology!”

In 1992, Evan moved to New York, the “birthplace of deli.” where he continued his deli education at the Stage, Carnage, and Katzes Deli, becoming great friends with the owner of the Stage Deli. It was here in the birthplace of deli Evan earned his “PHD in Deli-Ology!!!”

After moving back to Massachusetts in 2007, Evan noticed a striking need for a true New-York style Deli in Marblehead. In August of 2007, Evan’s Deli opened it’s doors on 31 Smith Street, and it has become Evan’s goal to bring a true taste of New York to Marblehead M. A.

Good luck Evan!

3. Esther Rothman writes in the Psychotherapy Networker about the 2nd Ave Deli School of Economics, and the generosity of the late Abe Lebewohl, best appreciated by survivors of the Great Depression. Her lesson? “Don’t worry”

Now I have to explain that, stemming from our Depression upbringing, Arthur and I are brown-eaters, and everyone we invite to our parties has to be a brown-eater. That’s just the way it is. Corned beef, brown; pastrami, brown; rolled beef, brown; egg barley, brown; mushroom and barley soup, brown; knishes, brown; potato pancakes, brown; even the celery tonic is brown—kosher and brown. White packaged bread? Everyone knows that’s for people who live in Staten Island or Queens, and vote Republican!….The food always arrived on time. It was always hot and delicious, and what wasn’t hot could easily be reheated. There were always leftovers, and the bill was always reasonable.
I’ve thought long and hard about those days and the lessons I’ve learned. One is that worry is pointless. Just find the right people or doctrines to believe in, and do your part.

4. Jacob Richler asks “What’s Going on at Schwartz’s?” in Maclean’s

Apparently the noted Canadian food writer was visiting the temple of smoked meat recently (which he’s known since his father, author Mordechai, sent him there as a child regularly), and things were amiss.

On Wednesday, June 10, very near to five on an otherwise glorious Montreal afternoon, the unthinkable happened: I took a bite of a freshly unwrapped medium-fat smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s, then chewed, chewed some more—chewed far too much—and then, racked with sadness, tossed the rest of it into the nearest rubbish bin. This was a profoundly poignant moment for someone who has been a regular at the iconic delicatessen on the Main since long before he could even see over the counter—way back when the sign outside actually just said Schwartz’s instead of Charcuterie Hébraïque de Montréal.

He goes on to say “what is posited most plausibly is that this tiny delicatessen that turns out nearly 10,000 lb. of smoked meat every week might simply be too busy for its own good.”

I really wanted to write a scathing reply to Richler when I heard about this, because I know he’s a contrarian at heart, but I can’t disagree. Schwartz’s, like Katz’s, and Carnegie, and Caplansky’s, are often so inundated, that they can’t keep track of each pastrami or brisket in the steamer. Some end up understeamed and some oversteamed, and that really defines the sandwich and can ruin it. I’ve had the experience at Katz’s, and Caplansky’s, though not at Schwartz’s, but that might be due to the fact that I haven’t been for over two years to Montreal.

5. Jewish Appreciation Day with the San Jose Giants promises homemade pastrami and pickles

This Sunday at 5pm, Jewish residents of San Jose will head out to the ballpark for some good old American fun, as the local Giants hit the field for Jewish Giants Day. For $12, the first 500 fans will get a kosher meal pack made by Jonathan Hirshon, a Brooklyn born deli lover who is going to be producing the following, in his words:

“For the pickles, I went old-school.  Kosher garlic dills, real pickling dill, top-quality organic kirby pickling cukes, horseradish, individual spices measured out (no pre-mixed pickling spice here!), plus the use of cherry leaves to keep the pickles crisp, plus the use of the heel of rye bread to kickstart the fermentation – no vinegar here, folks!”

” I recreated a pastrami recipe using all the old techniques, including many that are thrown away today due to expense or time.  Using a dry cure, the navel cut, the right balance of spices, real smoke cooking and letting the ‘pellicle’ form – no deli today can go through all these steps or they would go out of business in a week.  I don’t own a deli – so I CAN do it the right way, without the overhead and make a perfect pastrami in the process. :) To make the pastrami, we obviously needed to smoke it, but couldn’t use the local smoker due to kashrut.  I thought we were doomed to use commercial drek, but then I approached the senior grou at my synagogue, told them what we were doing, and suggested they buy us a brand-new smoker, then we could donate it to the senior residence Chai House as our gift to the seniors.  They came through with $3000, and we bought that smoker, and it will now make a HUGE difference in the lives of those seniors, as the chefs at Chai House can now smoke brisket, turkey and chicken for the residents and vastly improve the quality of their diet and enjoyment of life. :)

“For the Rye bread – I went to the top local bakery in the Bay Area, Metropolis in Berkeley – the baker there used to work for Chez Panisse and spent many years working in NYC to learn the secrets of real Jewish rye.  His rye bread is universally acknowledged as the best in the West – it inly had one problem.  His bakery wasn’t kosher….For the bakery, we worked with the local Orthodox and Chabad Rabbis to get Metropolis under one-time certification – and they now plan to go fully under supervision after the game, which we are very excited about as a community!”

Play Ball!!!

4 Responses to “Big Friday Roundup”

  1. Lara Says:

    I can attest to the continued excellence of Schwartz’s, having eaten there this Monday past. The sandwich was outstanding as always – sweet, spicy, tender, like candy. I inhaled it in a matter of seconds and wouldn’t change it for the world.

  2. Mirella Says:

    hello there, your website is cheap. I really do thank you for do the job

  3. Berengaria Says:

    What an unique report, continue to keep producing partner

  4. Elinore Toews Says:

    In the short term resnting may be cheaper, but in the long run owning has to be.

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