The Astronomer and I road tripped to the city by the bay this past President’s Day weekend. While the bulk of our days were filled with catching up with friends and family, we were able to sneak in one food-centric outing: Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen. I love Jewish delis, both old school and new, so I was excited to taste this latest San Francisco treat.
Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, the two guys behind the operation, met in 2003 while studying at UC Berkeley. According to 7x7SF, the two threw a weekly 250-person barbecue for Hillel House, the Jewish student center, which led to a pop-up that eventually graduated into a stand at the Tuesday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. In February of last year, they opened Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen on 24th Street in the Mission.
The deli is run in fast-casual fashion, with a line snaking out the door most of the time. Since it was our first visit to Wise Sons, we took advantage of the extra few minutes to digest the menu and to make some tough decisions.
Continue reading ‘Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen – San Francisco’
Before boarding our flight home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I lunched at Mile End Sandwich to get a taste of Noah Bernamoff and Rae Cohen’s Montreal-style Jewish comfort food. The couple, he a Montrealer and she a New Yorker, opened the original Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in 2010.
This tidy storefront north of Houston serves an abbreviated menu with over a dozen different sandwiches, seasonal salads, and poutine on offer. We placed our order at the counter and the food was delivered to the table as soon as it was ready.
Mile End, by the way, is the name of Montreal’s historically working-class Jewish quarter.
The “Hot Pastrami Sandwich” ($12), hand-cut Montreal smoked meat served on Orwasher’s rye, could not have looked any more enticing.
The adorably portioned sandwich was stacked tall with thick, tender, beautifully seasoned slices of smoked meat. A touch of mustard kept the protein’s richness in check, bringing balance to the entire creation.
Continue reading ‘Mile End Sandwich – New York City’
I’ve passed by Katz’s Delicatessen dozens of times over the years while striding down Houston toward the East River for a run, but never sat down for a proper pastrami sandwich until my latest jaunt to the big city.
The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Miho, Cousin Jackie, and Jackie’s boyfriend Aaron, descended upon this New York City institution (est. 1888) for an early Saturday dinner. The crowd wasn’t too robust at this hour, which proved to be a good thing for this group of Katz’s newbies because things work a little differently ’round here…
We were each handed a paper ticket as we walked through the front door. The placards hanging from the ceiling directed us to the various ordering counters. There was a separate queue for each course—appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, and drinks. While this somewhat archaic and chaotic ordering system worked fine for us, it was nice to know that there were a few seats reserved in the dining room for full table service if need be.
As soon as I made my way to the front of the line, my sandwich was constructed right before my eyes. Best of all were the scraps of pastrami that the sandwich artist passed my way to make the wait a tastier one. No cash was exchanged at this point—just a scribble on my ticket and I was set to find a seat.
Continue reading ‘Katz’s Delicatessen – New York City’
After lunching on two not-so-memorable sandwiches at Bay Cities and The Spice Table, I finally struck sandwich gold at Langer’s Delicatessen. Located across from MacArthur Park on the cusp of Koreatown, Langer’s has been smoking, steaming, and hand-slicing their world famous pastrami for over sixty years.
The Astronomer and I were inspired to make our way here after sampling the amazing smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s in Montréal. While smoked meat and pastrami aren’t exactly the same beast, we were curious to see how the two compared and whether one was superior to the other.
Joining us for lunch were our friends and fellow Langer’s newbies Lien and Diana. We were seated at a table fit for four in Joan’s jurisdiction. Even though we only understood every other word she hushed, we all agreed that Joan was hands-down the greatest waitress ever.
All three of my dining companions ordered the unadorned hot pastrami sandwich ($12.95). Diana opted for an “extra lean” version that cost an additional $3.25. The sandwiches were served with two spears of dill pickles on the side.
Continue reading ‘Langer’s Delicatessen Restaurant – Los Angeles (Westlake)’
I learned during my stay in Montréal that the locals are quite proud of their bagels. The Jewish immigrants who came to the city from Eastern Europe before and after World War II brought with them a distinct tradition of bagel making that continues today.
Montréal-style bagels are hand-rolled, boiled in honey-infused water, and baked in wood-fired ovens. In contrast to their American counterparts, the ones in Montréal are smaller, sweeter, and denser, with a crisp and smokey crust.
Since two of the city’s most famous bagel shops are located in the same Mile End neighborhood, The Astronomer and I, along with our lovely friend Nina, set out on a bagel tasting. Our first stop was at The Original Fairmount Bagel Bakery. Opened in 1919 by Isadore Shlafman, Fairmount is the city’s very first bagel bakery.
The moment we stepped into the shop, we caught sight of a baker transferring a batch of freshly baked bagels from the oven to a plastic bin using a long wooden slat. The man’s swift motion ensured that all of the bagels ended up in the bin and none on the floor.
Continue reading ‘Montréal Bagel Tour: The Original Fairmount Bagel Bakery and St. Viateur Bagel’