Have you ever been hanging out and watching some sort of food program on TV only to realize it is covering a city or town you’re about to visit? If so, we friggin’ good for you, because I just had that experience for the first time and it was glorious. It began with an episode of Man vs. Food covering Duluth, Minnesota of all places. The restaurant was Northern Waters Smokehaus and despite all of my great memories of the classic restaurants in Duluth’s Canal Park, I was excited to try out something new.
Scottsdale is pretty sterile city. This is not inherently a bad thing, but it is a thing that seems to preclude the concept of hidden gems. And, yet, I heard word of not just a hidden gem, but one right around the corner from me. Plus, it could only have had a more apt name if it was right next door. It’s called Convenient Corner Market and it dishes out sandwiches with bread baked in-house every day.
Kosher restaurants are a conundrum for me. I want to embrace them because of my Jewish heritage, but I also really want to mix dairy and meat, or throw in some bacon. But, Kosher restaurants have figured out a way to make the food palatable and I went to Kitchen18 in Scottsdale to find out just how palatable they could be.
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.
It’s easy to get stuck in a bubble no matter where you live or work. It doesn’t matter if neighborhoods and towns are separated by rivers, mountains or arbitrary delineations, it is almost inevitable to find a comfort zone and stick with it. But when you have a meat blog, you owe it to the world to get out of that bubble, and I did so with a journey to Mesa to check out Worth Takeaway.
The food cart scene in Portland is huge, and weirdly enough it took me until my fourth visit to the city to truly experience this uniquely Portland thing. You see, until food trucks or the carts you might see in other cities, the carts in Portland are actually semi-permanent structures and clusters of them take up whole city blocks. At the Alder Street “Pod” I found Steak Your Claim among the carts and knew it was made for me.
The Original Tops is a classic countertop-style diner in Pasadena that would probably evoke nostalgic memories if you were from the area. As someone who is not from Pasadena, I at least get excited over the prospect of a new burger spot, especially a no-frills type of place that has stood the test of time like The Original Tops.
In a city filled with all kinds of fun events, one event (aside from a plethora of farmer’s markets) can be counted on every week. It’s Smorgasburg, which originally started over in Brooklyn, and it’s kind of like a miniaturized, hipster version of 626 Night Market. On my first venture, I made my way to Ugly Drum Pastrami.
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).
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.