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.
EDIT: Umamicatessen has become Umami Broadway and is more or less now just a glorified Umami Burger from what I hear.
The word “Umamicatessen” is quite a mouthful. And I’m pretty sure that’s what the people behind Umami Burger were thinking when they put together a deli in downtown LA. They were thinking, “We want to fill mouths with delicious deli food, while preserving the Umami name.” To me, that’s quite the name to maintain, because Umami is still my favorite burger in LA. Plus, while LA doesn’t have the big name delis of New York, there is still some stiff competition from the likes of Langer’s.
Just about every restaurant claims to be the best at something, but they typically have to have a track record before making such claims. That’s why I was pretty surprised when I drove by Venice and saw a brand new sign claiming the “Best Wings in Town” and an equally new, but slightly smaller sign that said Wings World. I decided the place was worth a try, if only laugh at the outrageous claims of a new restaurant.
Sometimes you find a restaurant that seems like it was made just for you. I don’t mean that everything tastes good, or you go there regularly. No, I mean that you look at the menu and get the impression that the chef was thinking of you when they came up with every dish on it. That’s the feeling Fat Sal’s Deli (which isn’t really a deli) gave me when I first looked upon their menu.
A while back, I wrote a glowing review of Langer’s Deli and their legendary pastrami. Well, it seems they are having themselves a bit of a 65th birthday! Situated in MacArthur Park, it is truly a testament to their pastrami that they have survived. But while turning 65 is usually time for retirement, Langer’s is going a different route and offering their famous pastrami sandwich for free!
I must confess that I have lived quite literally two minutes (by foot) from Victor’s Meats & Delicatessen for the past six months, yet had not once set foot in the place until this past weekend. “Why?” you ask. Well, the answer isn’t simple. It’s also not difficult, because there is no answer save for my foolishness. And it is pure foolishness because Victor’s is a dream come true.
While part of the place is straight-up butcher, Victor’s also serves up sandwiches and assorted pre-cooked foods and salads and such. I was in for a sandwich, but I got more than I expected.
After a long day of repenting and fasting, I needed a good Jewish meal to remind my body and mind what eating felt like. Since we were attending a comedy show later that night at The Laugh Factory, we decided to go to an ancient little deli next door called Greenblatt’s. And when I say ancient, I meant it’s been there since 1926. That means when my grandma was living in LA in the late ’40s, it was already old and she remembers its existence. To survive for 85 years anywhere, let a lone a big city where change is the only contant is quite impressive. I was eager to find out what kept Greenblatt’s ticking and to satiate my fully empty stomach.
Long before there was a Disney movie called Pinocchio, there was a classic Italian story featuring that classic wooden toy. Pinocchio’s (no relation) in Burbank is much more about those Italian roots than it is about the Disney story. And although that Disney classic has stood the test of time, there is one thing it certainly cannot do – feed you. That’s where Pinocchio’s comes in.
For a nice little Sunday brunch with the grandparents in Beverly Hills, we headed to an LA icon. This icon is Nate ‘n Al and it’s been hanging out in Beverly Hills since before the hillbillies. Started in 1945 by two good old fashioned Detroiters named Al Mendelson and Nate Reimers, Nate ‘n Al brings the comfort of Detroit delis to Southern California. Supposedly. But I would be the judge of that.
In North Hollywood there is a deli unlike any I had ever seen before. Rather than being filled with cold cuts, pastrami or Italian sandwiches, this deli has food with more of a Greek and Armenian flair. It is called Noosh Deli and although not the usual deli, I figured it had to be worth a try. Scanning the menu, I decided any Greek place had to have some good gyros, so I ordered their Beef Gyro Sandwich (with fries and a drink for 6.99). It came with lettuce, tomato, onion and yogurt sauce. I ordered without the veggies and waited 7 or 8 minutes until the sandwich was prepped and ready to go.