Save the Deli

Deli Street Food Meets San Francisco


(credit: stacey palevsky and nina lau)

San Francisco’s time is at hand. You heard it here folks.
The city is on the fringes of deli greatness. Saul’s in Berkeley is leading the sustainable deli movement nationwide, while local stalwarts like Miller’s and Moishe’s Pippic are keeping the city stocked with corned beef. Down in San Carlos, the Refuge is boasting world class pastrami. So far, these are the green shoots of something. We’re flirting with wonder here. The city, which boasts deli lovers, great ingredients, and serious foodies, has just lacked that kick to bring the great Northern California deli movement to the forefront.

Well, it’s here. And it’s right on the streets. Reports J Weekly:


(credit: Emily Savage)

Takin’ it to the streets: Jewish vendors add deli favorites to S.F. mobile food scene
by emily savage, staff writer

San Francisco’s Madame Bubbles was on her way to teach Hebrew school a few weeks ago when a small crowd of curious bystanders gathered around her.

Riding her 1950s-style adult tricycle, Madame Bubbles, aka Amelia Nahman, had a large basketful of chocolate syrup, milk and seltzer — for making egg creams, the classic East Coast deli beverage.

Nahman typically serves her nine-ounce egg creams at bar or bat mitzvahs, in municipal parks or on the sidewalk in front of bakeries. But on that particular day she was shlepping her ingredients to Congregation Sha’ar Zahav to whip up some samples for her students.

It seems that the inquisitive passersby had a different idea.
In fact, she ended up selling so many egg creams — made with homemade seltzer and served in compostable potato-starch cups — that she didn’t have enough left for her students. But don’t feel too bad for the kids; they’ll get to taste a real New York egg cream soon enough, at a Sha’ar Zahav picnic in Dolores Park on Saturday, May 8. Nahman has been invited to pedal over and serve up her treats.

Nahman’s egg cream business, named simply “Egg Cream Cart,” is part of an ever-expanding group of specialty food-cart vendors popping up across the nation, primarily in San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles and New York. Call it a movement if you will, and it’s growing at a “gastronomical” rate thanks to a perfect storm of social networking and an active foodie community. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST

The story goes on to detail other Jewish street food vendors in San Francisco, like Pearl’s Kitchen:


(credit: Nina Lau)

The menu for Pearl’s Kitchen consists of corned beef hash and egg salad sandwiches on homemade dill bread during brunch hours; and sweet noodle kugel and carved corned beef sandwiches on rye with mustard slurry at evening gatherings. The Bownes charge between $5 and $7 per item, and some of the food is cooked on-site, such as fried eggs in the mornings, made to order on a portable burner.

When Lauren and Jon arrive at street-food gatherings, they set up a large table, a propane gas burner and a variety of chafing dishes, along with a board listing that day’s menu. People amble by and typically have one of two reactions: “What is noodle kugel?” or “Oh my God, I haven’t seen kugel like that since my grandma made it.”

And this is just the start folks. When I was in San Francisco, I heard from several young foodsters who were interested in starting trucks, carts, and stands that will feature Jewish foods. A revolution is brewing in America’s most beautiful city. Get out there and taste it!

4 Responses to “Deli Street Food Meets San Francisco”

  1. pastramiking Says:

    You know we hold it down in the Bay Area. Pastrami King out!

  2. Myrle Havens Says:

    Not sure how I stumbled onto this post- I believe, maybe Bing- but I’m happy I did. Thanks.

  3. Egg Cream Cart Says:

    Thanks for this! I wish I’d tweeted about it in a current fashion.
    xoxo Bubbles

  4. Jogesh Deo Says:

    Its weird how many blogs the internet has about this topic! I dont know if Im ever going to have to come back, but its good to know I found the one that offers some practical information if this should come up for me again

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