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Apr 14, 2010 08:43 AM

Can the Jewish Deli Be Reformed? A virtual cross country deli tour of the US and Canada

The article recounts how local, locavore fresh ingredients are influencing the end product of many delis throughout the country. Is there a good Jewish style deli in YOUR area? I have always wanted to take a cross country trip starting in NYC and working my way up to Canada and down to Miami Beach and across to LA. If I were making this trip, what stops should I make along the way and what specialties or local items must I consume in order to really get the "feel" of the place? Thanks!

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  1. jfood just finished the book "Save the Deli" by David Sax. A nice rendition of what may interest you. Plus the website below is what you might be looking for

    1. My frustration having spent time in 48 states is not about what jewish deli's have, but the vast lonely expanses where jewish deli's aren't.

      1. The Metro Diner in the San Marco neighboorhood of Jacksonville has excellent pastrami: home made, peppery, smoky and a little fatty. Worth the stop on the trip to Miami.

        1. A couple of random comments:

          The article had me until the first snot-nosed neo-deli owner derided traditional deli as merely "blessed by a rabbi." If he's so ignorant about the very basics of kashrut, how much else is he making up as he goes along?

          It's nearly impossible to find decent deli in either NY or FL these days. Adelman's in Brooklyn is still good but doesn't seem quite like I remember it from 30 years ago. The delis by my in-laws in Delray Beach, FL are just plain bad but it's hard to excel when you're serving the early-bird crowd exclusively. I seem to remember LA still having good deli, though.

          The best Jewish onion rolls I've had in recent memory were from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami.

          And, although I haven't been to Neal's in Carrboro (in my area), we have a tendency here to deify the multi-paragraph menu description, ie Guys! I really don't need to know who was the grandsire of my entree or where you sourced the sustainable, organic mulch you used to grow the plate garnish. Having said that, Neal's is probably perfectly good and it is well thought of locally, but I find it disconcerting to find biscuits and Italian subs on the menu. What? No kinishes? A shanda!

          Face it, the days of old world deli are almost over. My arteries will be grateful but my tastebuds sure won't.

          1. Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis. The corn beef sandwich called by USA Today the best CB in America and it made the cover of America's Best Deli's published three years ago.. Not lotsa local items, but their specialties are pastries and breads baked on premises. Brownies are sublime, and try a CB or Pastrami on their egg bread roll. And holler for some challah.
            The deviled eggs are heavenly -- oxymoron they be.

            They use organic eggs ... because the yolks are yellower. And ingredients cleaned by bugs not pesticides.

            Full disclosure, my family founded it over a century ago (thus Old World), but that doesn't stop me for recommending it on any grand deli tour of the US. Not all great Jewish cooking esclusive to the two coasts or Montreal. And an old world deli can belong in this Brave New World.

            1 Reply
            1. re: louuuuu

              Oh, I would love to try it, Louuuuu, the next ( and first ) time I'm in Indianapolis!!

              PS - How far from Chi-town? I'm due to go there again for another foodie tour!