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.
In the world of great Kosher-style pastrami, the list almost always begins with Katz’s, with very few others even coming close. This is an insane New York bias and after years of proclaiming Langer’s in LA to be the greater of the two, I finally had a chance to put my money where my mouth is (pun very much intended).
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.
Growing up near Detroit and then living in LA, I must admit I have been spoiled by good delis. Thus, when I moved to Pittsburgh I was shocked to learn that apparently the deli scene was pretty terrible. Because of this, it took me nearly two years to get to Smallman Street Deli – the biggest Jewish Deli in town.
To long road between Pittsburgh and Upstate New York doesn’t exactly run through the most populated part of the country, and when it comes to stopping for (non-fast) food, the options are pretty much State College or Scranton. Due to hunger and a desire to get a taste of another Big Ten campus, I made State College my destination and found Carvers Deli & Barbecue.
When you think of an “old world deli,” what comes to mind? Perhaps some amazing cured meats? Italian or rye bread (depending on which part of the old world). Maybe cheeses that aren’t synonymous with Kraft or Velveeta? Root beer floats and pierogies probably don’t cross your mind, but when it comes to Szmidt’s Old World Deli, which has recently reopened in Downtown Pittsburgh, they are certainly worth trying.
The Jewish influence on Montreal’s food scene goes beyond the bagels and into the realms of meat. Specifically smoked meat and there is no better-known place to get the smoked meat than at Schwartz’s, which has been making the stuff since 1928. Today Celine Dion weirdly has some sort of ownership in the place, but I went hoping this had little to do with the popularity.
The Madrid airport sucks. There. I said it. It does have a cool rainbow spanning the entire building, but otherwise it has nothing going for it. Or at least that’s what I thought when I first rolled through the place. But when I came back again for another layover, I found Deli & Cia, which gave me a reason to not completely write off the place.
Situated right next to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philly is the Reading Terminal Market, which falls in many ways somewhere between LA’s Grand Central Market and New York’s Chelsea Market. Inside is a load of delicious scents and sights, ranging from BBQ to Middle-Eastern food. Just as I was about to make my way to BBQ, a friend of mine pointed me to Hershel’s East Side Deli, a Jewish deli that I just had to eat as after setting my eyes upon it.
It’s no secret that Squirrel Hill is the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. Typically such a place would be froth with delis, bagel shops and falafel, but not Squirrel Hill. Sure, some of those places exist, but not like one might expect. Luckily, though, this has left room for a new type of Jewish restaurant, called Nu. Calling itself a “Modern Jewish Bistro,” Nu means “well…?” in Yiddish and came into town at the end of last year from the people who brought the world Pamela’s. Since then, it has set about redefining Jewish food. After all, it’s time for a creative take on tradition.