Save the Deli

Heading west…with lots of press

Dateline Toronto:

After an amazing Canadian launch party duo at Caplansky’s last night, I’m now getting my first morning to sit and relax a bit, taking phone calls and working from my fiance’s couch. Zane Caplansky has a great report on the Toronto party on his blog, and he’ll have photos and vids posted soon, which I’ll write about here. But in a few hours I head out west to San Francisco, and hopefully sunny California. Sweet. There’s still tickets available for the Saul’s event tomorrow, and make sure to stop by Bookspassage on Monday night in the Ferry Marketplace.

So before I do, let’s round up some of the press that’s happening.

Rebecca Marx at the Village Voice says it’s a “Good Month for New York Food History” and Save the Deli is a reason why:
New York is at, if not the heart, then the kishkes of his book. Histories of delis from the Carnegie and Stage to Katz’s and the Second Avenue Deli are relayed in loving detail, and it’s almost impossible to come away from the book without wanting to run out for a pastrami sandwich from any one of these places.

Andrea Sachs over at dubbs me the Deli King. She is actually Detroit deli royalty herself, and a lover of the late Darby’s in Motown. Her Q & A, done right before the big Ben’s event, is spot on.

All right, corned beef or pastrami?
It depends where I am. Pastrami if I’m on either of the coasts, the Atlantic or the Pacific Coast, and corned beef if I’m in the Midwest.

Why this book?
Because Jewish delicatessens are an endangered species and I didn’t want to see them go away. I wanted to find out why they were disappearing.

What did you find out?
I found out the Jewish deli has certainly been going away for some time, but that hope isn’t lost. Wherever there are deli lovers and people who salivate when they get a whiff of corned beef or when they put their tongues on a matzo ball, they’re transported back to this pristine wonderland of their youth — whether they’re Jewish or not.

The good folks at the Miami New Times had a few questions for me as well.

Who or what is most responsible for killing the great delis of America?

It’s a bunch of different factors. Assimilation, health trends, diet trends like Atkins — damn you, Atkins! Really though, it’s all sorts of reasons. In South Florida you can point to Jerry’s (Famous Deli) and say, ‘All right, this is a specific case where a guy came in and killed off this great institution (Rascal House) because of greed. Pure, unbridled greed.’ READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW HERE

Barnes and Noble gives Save the Deli a good review:

He may have written a book about Jewish food, but David Sax is quite a ham. He refers to a deli’s finances as “pastraminomics,” describes a knish as being “baked to a George Hamiltonesque hue,” and titles a chapter on Las Vegas’s deli scene “Luck Be a Brisket Tonight.” READ THE REST HERE

San Fran is ready for me, thanks to this article in the J Weekly that says Good deli in the Bay Area? You bet your kishkes:

Don’t try to tell David Sax that the Bay Area is a vast deli wasteland.

“No, not at all,” said the author of “Save the Deli.”

“If judged on its own merits, there is good deli to be had in San Francisco. If people went out and supported it more, and took a passion in it instead of complaining about it, then that could only be a good thing — and then maybe deli [in the Bay Area] would really take off.” READ THE REST HERE

WTOP radio in DC asks: Authentic Jewish deli? The list is limited in D.C. wtop1.mp3 and also wtop2.mp3

New York’s Gothamist blog is a hatin’ over Jewish Delis in LA Beat NYC, Says Author With Death Wish :

The author of the new book Save the Deli has declared that LA has better Jewish delis than NYC, but he only says such hurtful things because he wants to see New York do better. We haven’t read David Sax’s heretical book, but the LA Times did, and of course they’re gloating over there, because Sax says, “The [delis] that are most inspiring, the ones that people cling to, the ones that people enshrine for years and years are the traditional Jewish delis. And Los Angeles just happens to have more of them than any city I’ve been to.” How can that be?!

To which I reply: ahh blogging. Don’t bother reading the book, just read what other paid journalists wrote about it and base your posts on that.

Now for good bloggers, I take my hat off to Mr. Samuel P. Jacobs, over at the Daily Beast, who read the book, met me for lunch, and took a good hard look at the Endangered Sandwiches List:

Have delis, purveyors of foods preserved and pickled to last, finally hit their expiration date?

Looking around New York City, the city through which millions of Jewish immigrants brought with them thousands of delis that catered to lunchtime needs—a bowl of matzo soup, a latke, a taste of pastrami—it seems so. The number of traditional delis left in Manhattan can be counted on a hand or two. And while the grandchildren of those first immigrants continued the diaspora to Phoenix and Miami, the meats and blintzes they brought with them were generally fair.

The voice of deli doom is David Sax, a journalist who has eaten his way across the world’s delis and returned to tell the tale in his just-released book, Save the Deli. Like the prophets of old, Sax is here to chew us out for falling away from the true faith—but also offer a chance at redemption. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST

5 Responses to “Heading west…with lots of press”

  1. L. C. Sterling Says:

    Hey David,

    I grew up in L.A. so I’m wondering if you’ll be making it to Canter’s on Fairfax Blvd. It used to be the gold standard … but I left L.A. in the late ’70s. They had a two-part entry, with a bakery on one side (the best rye I’ve ever had) and a deli on the other (mmmmmm.)

    Would love to know if they still have “it.”


  2. Pastramiking Says:

    I called Saul’s and they do not have tickets, you just show up with the book I believe. I’m looking super forward to meeting you Sax! and to Sterling – he’s going to Langer’s not Canter’s through Vroman’s books.

  3. Matt Levin Says:

    Mr. Sax,

    I would love for you to stop by the REFUGE for a nosh. We’re open all day on Saturday. It’s kind of obligatory to taste what many deem the “best on the planet.” It’s up to you, comme d’habitude.

    Matt Levin

  4. Joy Rothenberg Says:

    If you are coming west, you’ve got to stop by Canters Deli in Los Angeles. It’s the most authentic deli in the world. The pastrami sandwiches are to die for and the matza ball soup is the best. I’ve been going to canters for years and it’s always a treat! Oh, and the waitresses are pure characters!

  5. Cyriak Says:

    Better half, impartial is actually fabolous, i simply like it

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