Creating Jewish deli meat is like a perfect combination of art and science. Some delis have found the ideal balance, while others are more content to satisfy the science part of it all and move on from there. I paid a visit to Chompie’s in Scottsdale to see how it would measure up against my admittedly high standards for Kosher-style delis.
There was a weird time in history when revolving restaurants became popular. Only one of these, at least as far as I understand, also was a Playboy Club back in the day, and that was the Compass Arizona Grill on top of the Hyatt in Downtown Phoenix. Today, it serves as kind of a throwback steakhouse, there to remind you how cool rotating restaurants once were, while trying to adapt to the modern palette.
Look, I’ve already confessed to not being the biggest banh mi guy, but that doesn’t mean I was not eager to find the most badass banh mi that Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) had to offer. Therefore, I knew I had to make my way to Banh Mi Huynh Hoa. The internet informed me that the lines could often be massive, but that they would mostly be filled with locals. But I had a little trick in my back pocket.
The Eatery in Pasadena is undoubtedly one of the city’s hidden gems. It’s off the beaten path and in a building that seems much more likely to house a Mexican grocery store than a fancy restaurant (in fact it does share the building with such a store). But once inside the candles, dim lighting and intimate ambiance scream non-pretentious fanciness. Of course, none of this would matter to me if the food didn’t satisfy my unvegan desires.
The chicken parmesan sandwich somehow escapes ridicule as one of the most carby delicious foods. If you threw fried mozzarella on a sandwich with some grilled chicken and marinara people would think you were insane, but here we are in a world that allows for breaded chicken on a sandwich and I heard a spot called Parm on the Upper West Side knew how to make a pretty good one.
It’s no secret that Pasadena isn’t quite flush with Jews. That might be related to the fact that the Hebrews were banned from living in the place until more recent times, but who can really know. What is know, though, is that without Jews there is a certain lack of amenities like good bagels and Jewish delis. Fortunately, the Pasadena Sandwich Company is there to at list fill part of the niche of the Jewish deli.
Pork and booze are easily two of the greatest things that can be consumed on the planet, if not just two of the greatest things in general. Celestino in Pasadena is fully aware of this and has combined them in a pasta dish worth writing about. It is called the Pennette Con Prosciutto e Vodka, but it may as well be called Paradiso.
In the world of pizza, it seems that Sicilian style and Neapolitan style come up pretty often. Roman style is apparently also a thing, but a Google search for Venetian pizza only seems to produce pizza options at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Nonetheless, a spot in Altadena calling itself Pizza of Venice has gained quite the following and it was high time I made it there myself.
Not too long ago I decided to make Roma Market in Pasadena the center of my 7 Year Blogiversary. Yet, what it is really known for is something simply called “The Sandwich.” It doesn’t go by any other name because it doesn’t need to — after all, its maker (Rosario Mazzeo) has been dishing the thing out by the hundreds since perhaps the beginning of time. It was only a matter of time before I would make it mine.
A lot can happen in 7 years. You could meet a woman, call her your girlfriend for a while, then fiancee, then wife and then mother of your child. You could move from LA to Pittsburgh to and then to Pasadena, with a brief sojourn into Buffalo. Or you could, you know, start a meat-centric food blog and keep it going for as long as Brad Pitt spent in Tibet.