Save the Deli

Back in San Fran

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Always great to be in San Francisco. Every time I’ve come here in the past few years for deli business, I find the sun shining and the city as awesome as ever. I’m here to speak at the city’s Jewish Community Center tonight. Come on out! Details Here.

Opened up my morning Chronicle today and found an article about me in it. Not bad.

David Sax: ‘Save the Deli’ a call to arms

Louis Peitzman
Thursday, January 28, 2010

You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the Jewish delicatessen, but it helps. Being raised on deli food, however, creates a different relationship with the cuisine.

Just ask journalist David Sax.

“I grew up loving delis and eating at them with my family,” Sax says. “It wasn’t something that was overt; it was just something we always did.”

In his book “Save the Deli,” Sax examines the decline of deli culture, looking at the causes, effects and possible solutions. Despite being a lifelong lover of kugel and knishes, he wasn’t aware that delis were in danger until he and a friend began working on a paper in college.

“When I was researching that paper and speaking to a couple deli owners that I knew, they were telling me that the business was going out and people were having trouble surviving,” he says. “I never realized it was imperiled until I was looking into it.”


Mile End Opening Night: Beginning of “The End”

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Though it once boasted hundreds of Jewish delicatessens, it’s been a long time since Brooklyn has celebrated a new deli opening in the borough. Most now exist in the southern reaches of the BRK, down in Mill Basin, Flatbush, or Coney Island. But last night, Jewish deli returned to downtown brownstone Brooklyn, when Mile End finally opened its doors.

It’s been a long time coming, ever since Brooklyn Law School student, and Montreal Jew, Noah Bernamoff began curing smoked meat in his Park Slope apartment, smoking on his roof, and serving it to friends last year. There were months of experiments, lease negotiations, construction headaches, and inspection delays. But finally, yesterday, Mile End was in business. (more…)

Shabbat Shalom with the MJE at Mendy’s

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Hey everyone. This Friday I’ll be hosting a shabbat dinner with the Manhattan Jewish Experience at Mendy’s Kosher Delicatessen.

7:00 PM at Mendy’s Kosher Deli
61 East 34th Street (Park Ave)

Cost: $36 (includes a full kosher dinner)

You can’t buy tickets at the door, so please order online.

LA Times: Dual Duty Waiters at Langer’s and Canter’s

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Salvador Lopez, photographed during his lunchtime shift at Langer’s. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times / January 7, 2010)

This has to be one of the coolest deli stories I’ve seen in a long time:

Double-dipping waiters sandwiched between two delis
Langer’s and Canter’s share workers, who contend with different clientele and menus. Which pastrami is better? Don’t ask.
By Robert Faturechi Los Angeles Times

Salvador Lopez, a waiter at Langer’s, has the routine down pat. After a hectic lunch shift serving sandwiches on rye at the pastrami mecca next to MacArthur Park, he negotiates a series of surface streets — up Normandie, across Beverly — to make his way into the Fairfax district.

He beelines into the locker room of another renowned Jewish deli, shedding the signature Langer’s bow tie for a tight-fitting black T-shirt that reads: I ? Canter’s.

Lopez is not a delicatessen double agent, funneling trade secrets on Russian dressing and blintzes. The 29-year-old is one of several waiters who openly works at two of the delis that compete for the title of Los Angeles’ best.

The delis’ unique shared employee pool speaks to the changing demographics of their neighborhoods. Langer’s, surrounded by drug dealers and vendors selling fake IDs, is open for lunch only. Canter’s, in a once-sleepy neighborhood now home to cafes and clubs, draws a younger crowd well into the wee hours.

Sharing workers makes sense, the deli owners say, because top talent is rare. A good waiter who understands the makings of a mean Reuben is hard to find.


Soon to be on the road again

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Hey friends.

Just when you thought you missed out on your chance to hear me speak, meet me, and have your book signed during the tour…despair not.
I’m heading back out on the road in a few weeks, hitting up some spots East and a few out West.

It’s all on the Calendar Page

Jan 24th: Congregation Neve Shalom. Metuchen, NJ 10:00 AM
Jan 26th: Gershman Y, Philadelphia, PA. 7:00 PM (with spread by Famous 4th Street Deli)
Jan 28th: San Francisco JCC. San Francisco, CA 8:00 PM
Feb 2nd: Kenny and Zuke’s. Portland, OR 6:00 PM
Feb 3rd: I Love New York Deli. Seattle, WA

RIP: Sid Starkman

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Sad news from Toronto a few weeks back that I’ve just heard now. Sid Starkman, the past President of the Chicago 58 provisions company, has passed away after a battle with Cancer.

He died on December 29th.

If you’re a deli lover in Toronto, it’s impossible to even state the place that Chicago 58′s meats have in your life. I grew up eating their salamis, their corned beef, their pickled tongue. It is a family run, family owned deli company, and that’s sadly rare in this day and age. Sid will be missed.

Online donations in his honor can be made to the Sid Starkman Memorial Fund

or c/o The Benjamin Foundation
3429 Bathurst Street, Toronto
M6A 2C3 (416) 780-0324

You can sign the online guestbook here

Katz runs for LT Gov and Washgal’s Brisket in DC

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Two cool pieces from news reports that are damn interesting today:

Photo credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

First, Marc Katz’s, the brass, bald owner of Katz’s Deli in Austin, Texas, is running for Lieutenant Governor of the Lone Star State.


Says the Austin Statesman:

Austin deli king Marc Katz said Wednesday that his family would pour millions of its own money into his campaign for lieutenant governor.

How many millions? That detail Katz will announce Friday, he said before filing the paperwork with the Texas Democratic Party to run for the party’s nomination.

So far, the only other Democrat to file for the statewide seat is former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who Katz complimented as a top-notch candidate.

The eventual nominee will likely face Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in November.

Katz directed his harshest criticism at Dewhurst, rather than his primary foe, and jokingly unveiled a new sandwich named after the incumbent.

“The Davey Dewhurst sandwich is very starched, very white bread stuffed with baloney,” Katz quipped.

Yep, that’s Texas for you. Too bad this came two years after writer and “Texas Jewboy” Kinky Friedman ran for Governor.

Photo credit: James M. Thresher For The Washington Post

And in the political capital of the nation, a seriously interesting sandwich is available at Washgal’s, based, apparently, on Montreal Smoked Meat, though braised in wine! (more…)

I’m back and ready for a fight

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Hey everyone!

Happy New Year. Mexico was awesome. The surf was up. And tacos remain tasty.

Now I’m back in NYC and ready to rumble. Tomorrow night is debate night, and I’m taking on filmmaker Yura Dashevsky at Lolita Bar at 8pm.

The topic: Is Katz’s the best deli? Yura says yes. I say no.

Yura should know. He’s chronicled Katz’s for his upcoming documentary Katz’s That’s All.
But I’m no slouch either, having eaten at more delis than most men. So it should be a fun little food fight. And after, the whole crew is heading to Katz’s to taste for themselves.

The event is organized by Todd Seavey and moderated by Michael Evanchik.

Should be a lot of screaming Jews and pastrami jokes. Come on out.

Also, tomorrow AM, check out East Village Radio’s Hella Fabulous Show at 9am. I’ll be on and taking calls. If you happen to walk on 1st Ave at 1st, knock on the glass and wave to me.

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