photo courtesy of the Tribeca Trib
Well hello there, long time no see.
Yeah, I’ve been a bit absent lately, traveling in the past two weeks to Toronto (wedding planning), Whistler (skiing), and Florida (deli talking). Got back to New York yesterday, and headed straight for the James Beard House, where the Schmaltz to Remember dinner was a tremendous success. Many thanks to all who participated and helped organize last night. You’re all mentsches!
Now, because so much deli related news and stuff has piled up, I’m just going to run through it all today. Hold onto your mustard.
Mile End, the barely open, instantly overrun Canadian-Brooklyn oddball, has already, in its infancy, reinvented the venerable form. This is a deli for locavores, a deli for the next generation of deli lovers, with a respect for tradition contemporized by a rare premium on great, fresh ingredients, cooked from scratch, smoked and pickled in-house, served with an unfamiliar (in the deli world, anyway) smile.
A few weeks back, I set out on a little mission with my friend, and journalist, Saki Knafo. He was writing about me for the Tribeca Trib, the neighborhood’s premiere paper, and we set off to find Jewish foods south of Canal St. Not an easy task, let me tell you. But after some decent appetizing at Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish, we hit paydirt with the stellar matzo ball soup and knish at Izzy and Nat’s, in Battery Park City, which opened over a year ago. And then we capped it at an old favorite of mine, Amazing 66:
Finally, it was time for a visit to that most sacred of Jewish culinary destinations: Chinatown.
“All Jews love Chinese food,” Sax declared with rabbinical authority over a plate of pastrami-fried rice at Amazing 66 on Mott Street. According to Sax, the restaurant was founded by an accountant who spent a life-changing lunch hour with a Jewish colleague at the Second Avenue Deli. Sax pinched a pink speck of meat between his chopsticks and held it aloft, as though to punctuate a point. “Chinese food and deli,” he said. “The ultimate Jewish meal.”
By the way, if you want to hear me speak downtown, I’ll be appearing in conversation with Food Maven Arthur Schwartz, next wednesday March 24th, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. BUY TICKETS HERE
Now for some sad news. Not one, but two delis have recently closed.
First, Bloom’s Delicatessen, in Westchester, NY, has a “For Rent” sign in the empty window of their plaza, though oddly enough, their website is still running, and still awesome. Hopefully they’ll be able to reopen soon.
Second, Florida’s Deli Den has been forced to close after a dispute with the landlord. This was one of the last holdouts to serve the early bird special, and I spoke with Vered, the owner, a few years back. But keep holding your breath, because she intends to reopen somewhere nearby. READ ABOUT IT HERE IN THE SUN SENTINAL
But don’t fret too much deli lovers, because the unstoppable Ziggy Gruber apparently has a letter of intent to expand his Kenny and Ziggy’s empire into Dallas. Says the Dallas Observer:
“We have a letter of intent with the landlord, a nonbinding letter of intent,” he tells Unfair Park this afternoon. “They sent it, we went it back with the terms. We’re technically in negotiations now. We haven’t sat at the table. This is preliminary stuff. We’ve expressed interest in the spot, but the ball’s in the landlord’s corner, and it’s up to him. That’s all I can tell you. We’re waiting for the landlord to tell us.”
And finally, here’s a little number that was sent to me by a whole bunch of you. Recorded at a synagogue not ten blocks from where I grew up. Sorry, the sound is fairly awful:
It’s good, but this is clearly the king: