Save the Deli

One last interview and then I’m Surfin’

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Hola Amigos

It’s been an amazing year, what with the book, the book tour, and all the great press.

But now it’s time for a break. I’m off to Mexico tomorrow for some sun, sand, surf, and fish tacos. See you in the New Year, and if you celebrate Christmas, may it be a merry one.

Wait…one final interview though. A great podcast with former Torontonian Mary Ambrose, who talked with me in my deluxe hotel room in San Francisco at the start of my tour. It’s on the New America Now program, and it’s a delight. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MP3

And now…for the surfing.

Amazon’s #4 Best Food Lit Book of 2009, plus a view of Michigan’s Onion Roll Deli

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Thank you Amazon’s editors. You’ve blessed Save the Deli as the #4 best Food Lit Book of 2009. Gracias.
Check out the Amazon page to see how it stacks up against the rest.

Also, check out this great audio/photo essay from the Onion Roll deli in Royal Oak, Michigan. Owner Alex Yushkovsky seems like a great guy.

27302 Woodward Avenue
Royal Oak, MI 48067-0927
(248) 545-9804

A Blintz I’ll Mourn, plus a dirty podcast with Carolla

Monday, December 14th, 2009

photo courtesy Midtown Lunch

Oh what I’d do for a Channukah miracle. I just found out some tragic news from last week. The Diamond Dairy, a much beloved glatt kosher dairy restaurant in New York’s Diamond District, has closed. Most of you have probably never heard of or been to this ‘gem’. That’s because it’s found in the rear of a diamond exchange, perched above the stone traders on a glassed in balcony, a haven of gefilte fish and pea soup amidst the tummult of capitalism.

I only went once. Back in June, soon after I got engaged, I went with my fiancee’s best friend Rebecca to pick out a ring. We spend the better part of the morning haggling over stones and settings, our heads filled with karat sizes and clarity numbers…until we ran away to the Diamond Dairy to ponder our choices. I had no idea what I was doing, but everything came together over a trio of the finest cheese blintzes I’ve ever eaten. Most blintzes are fat and burst out their farmer’s cheese upon the first touch. The blintzes at Diamond Dairy were long and thin, like rolled crepes, and the ratio of cheese to crisp blintz was just sublime. I really regret not trying the homemade gefilte fish. It was supposedly amazing.

I normally don’t write about dairy places here. It’s a fleishig (meat based) space. But this is special and will be sorely missed. Alef ha Sholem Diamond Dairy.

Now, for something completely different, feel free to download my podcast interview on the Adam Carolla show. Just a warning. It’s got a lot of pretty crude language and is NSFW (not safe for work). Here’s another link.

Also, let’s not forget that Channukah is still on and Christmas is rapidly approaching. Click here or on the banner above to buy someone you love a copy (copies???) of Save the Deli.

Chappy Chanukah…now let’s sell some books!

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Latkes at Kenny and Zuke’s, in Portland

First off, let’s light them lights and eat some latkes, because it’s Chanukah again, and despite what David Brooks says, we’ll celebrate anyway (interesting article though).

Now tonight and for the next eight nights, the gifts will be given, and I’d be foolish not to beg you all to consider a few copies of Save the Deli as a gift. Know a deli lover? Know a pastrami perfectionist, corned beef confucious, or brisket babe? Why not give them the gift that hits them right in their hearts and minds.

But I also want to reach out to all the deli owners I know and love across this great continent. A few months back, many of you received an advance copy of the book from the publisher, with instructions on how you can order and sell copies of Save the Deli in your own delicatessens. This not only helps me sell books and keep them visible to deli customers, it also provides a great opportunity for you delis to promote yourselves (especially if you are featured in the book), and also make a profit. Unlike most stuff you sell, these books won’t shrink during preparation, won’t go bad after a week, and carry a hefty profit margin (50%). You can use them as enticements for holiday catering orders, or gifts for clients and customers.

A few of you have placed orders and sold books, but many more of you sheepishly admit to losing the ordering instructions, or having trouble with the credit process. So I’ve talked to the publishers (Canada and US) and have simplified instructions below.

In both countries there are two options to buy and sell Save the Deli:

A) Delis can order books on consignment (being able to send back any unsold merchandise). This requires a credit check and application, as the books will be lent out.

B) Delis can purchase books via credit card at a discount and sell them at whatever price they see fit. These cannot be returned, but require no application or credit check.

USA: with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt all you need to do is submit your State Specific Retail Certificate (this is only open for retailers, not personal orders) and a credit card number. It requires a minimum order of 10 books. The discount from the retail price ($24.00) breaks down as follows; order 10+ books and get a 46% discount ($12.96 per book), order 25+ books and get 50% off ($12.00 per book). All shipping is handled by the publisher.

To place an order, please contact:
Ryan Kelly
Specialty Retail Sales Manager Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
617-351-5748 phone
617-351-1185 fax

Canada: with McClelland & Stewart/Random House, delis need only complete a credit card order form. The minimum order is 7 books, and the discount from retail (CAD $32.95) is 40% plus GST ($20.76 per book). Again, Random House Canada pays all shipping and handling to your deli/store.
To place an order, please contact:

Marlene Fraser
Director, Special Sales Random House of Canada Limited
Tel: 905-214-6485
Fax: 905-624-6217

And now, the bard of the Hebrews, Neil Diamond, will take it all home.

Fresser’s Pastrami Truck hits LA’s streets

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Very cool news coming out of LA. A pastrami truck is hitting the streets of that pastrami and motor vehicle loving city! What a perfect shidduch. I’ve been waiting for a pastrami truck for ages. Thought it would happen in NYC, but LA got the scoop on this. Young deli fanatics: if you want a way into the business on the cheap, this is the future.

It’s called Fresser’s, and it looks pretty basic. The headline item is pastrami, the rest is made up of sandwiches and protein bowls with mashed potatoes. Not much info besides this. The menu’s below. The blog is here. You can follow on twitter here (more…)

Passing of a great deli man: Arnold Dworkin

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009


Sad news today. Arnold Dworkin, the gregarious deli man who headed up Kaufman’s Bakery and Deli in Skokie, Il, passed away yesterday.
Arnold had been ill for the past several years, and the deli was (and remians) in the hands of his daughter Bette and wife Judy.

He will be missed.

The funeral will be on Thursday, at 11:00 a.m. at Am Yisrael Congregation, 4 Happ Road, Northfield, IL.

For the shiva, please call 847-835-2081

Alef Ha Sholem Arnold. You brought joy and corned beef on rye into the lives of many.

As always, the best tribute to the man is through his deli. Please pass by for a visit.

Artie’s is changing hands

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

According to Crain’s New York Business, Artie’s delicatessen, on the Upper West Side, is changing ownership.

Says Crain’s:

Alicart Restaurant Group, which owned Artie’s, as well as six other restaurants, including four Carmine’s, sold the deli to Tuzia Feldman, who signed a 15-year lease at the deli’s current 2290 Broadway location.

It quotes Mr. Feldman as wanting to open three or four more Artie’s in New York. So there could be more deli on its way New Yorkers!
I’d welcome it. Artie’s is a pretty darn tasty place. Especially the baked goods and the brisket Reuben.
2290 Broadway (at 83rd)
New York, NY 10024

Teddy at the Pastrami Blog hits Seattle

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Sometimes I can’t be everywhere, which is why the Save the Deli network of crack correspondents covers the globe.

Teddy over at the Pastrami Blog is a San Francisco deli lover, and big fan of Save the Deli. He’s been reading and commenting faithfully, and so I’m going to share his observations from a recent pastrami hunt in Seattle. Take it away Teddy.

Seattle is a lovely place! I went the weekend of November 20th to the 22nd and I did my best to try as many pastrami places as I could, but there were a few miscues that led to me not getting to all the places I wanted to for the blog. However I enjoyed my trip very much and made it to the Seattle Center, University of Washington, the Fremont neighborhood, and various other cool locations. Above pictured is Pike’s Market from Pike and 1st Ave.

The Montreal Food Chronicles: Jennifer 8 Lee tackles bagels and smoked meat

Friday, December 4th, 2009

A smoked meat sandwich at Boerum Hill deli Mile End. by Jennifer 8. Lee for the NYT

Inspired perhaps by Save the Deli (we’re friends), New York Times writer, and Fortune Cookie Chronicles author Jennifer 8 Lee is in Montreal and showing off its bagels and smoked meat against New York’s.

First, the bagels:

Are Montreal bagels really better than New York bagels?

City Room had been hearing about these legendary Montreal bagels from our readers. They were sweeter and less bloated. Since they were baked in a wood-burning oven, they had crisper crusts.

So we decided to pay a visit to Montreal’s bagel world to understand the rival to our native bagels. Montreal, which saw an influx of Jewish immigrants both before and after World War II, had become one of the main world centers of distinctive Jewish cuisine. Two Montreal bakeries stand out above all the others: Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur’s Bagel, both in the Mile End neighborhood. (more…)

Some UK Love: The Independent and Silverbrow on Food

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Gotta love the UK. Not only is the salt beef, fried gefilte fish, hand sliced tongue, and chopped liver the tastiest, but there’s a core of solid deli lovers there. And though the book doesn’t have a UK publisher yet, there’s been a decent amount of press over there.

Today, Claire Prentice of The Independent examines the threat to the health of the deli, behind a corned beef sandwich at Katz’s.

Is this the end for the deli?

New York’s historic Jewish cafés are under threat from gentrification – and the health food movement.

By Claire Prentice

….The Jewish deli is as iconic a part of the New York landscape as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But though in a handful of establishments you can still find enough knishes, kishkes and kreplach to keep the New York winter chill at bay, these culinary institutions are under threat. In 1931 there were 1,550 Jewish delis in New York City; today just two dozen remain. They are the victim of spiralling rents, the dispersal of Jewish communities, a decline in people keeping kosher and the rise of healthy eating. With a menu heavy on red meat, fat, salt and carbs, Jewish food is nothing if not artery-clogging. Gribenes – chicken skins fried in chicken fat – is a sumptuous mouth sensation, though less kind to the waistline.

“It’s hard work, the deli business. You have to be prepared to get your hands dirty,” says Katz’s co-owner Alan Dell. “A lot of people who ran mom-and-pop delis wanted their children to have a better life so they sent them to college and the family tradition died out.”

Once upon a time, you couldn’t walk a block in the Lower East Side without being hit by the meaty aroma wafting through the doors of one deli or another. “You had this concentration of Jewish workers who needed kosher food and these pickled and preserved foods were cheap, filling sustenance,” says David Sax, a lifelong deli lover and author of Save the Deli. Today there is only Katz’s left in what was once a thriving immigrant community. The delis, Jewish tailors and other immigrant businesses have been swept away by gentrification to make way for an influx of trendy bars and designer boutiques…. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE

And now for something completely different. Well, kinda.

Anthony Silverbrow is a deli lover in London. He has a passion for pastrami, and he’s not been afraid to share it at his blog Silverbrow on Food. We spoke yesterday over Skype about the deli, its future, and the difference between North America’s deli future and the UK’s. HERE’S THE LINK TO THE PAGE


Hopefully this’ll generate enough interest in the UK to get distribution for the book there.

E-mail It