Monday, October 26, 2009

Los Angeles: The Deli Capital of the USA?

That's what the author of a New Book, Save the Deli, says:
It's a very difficult business to be in," Sax says, "but the [delis] that are most inspiring, the ones that people cling to, the ones that people enshrine for years and years are the traditional Jewish delis. And Los Angeles just happens to have more of them than any city I've been to."

To die-hard deli aficionados and sandwich fans, this assertion is heresy. It certainly wasn't what Sax, a Toronto native who now lives in Brooklyn, expected to discover. But in "Save the Deli," a book that traces the rise and fall of Jewish delicatessens from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the suburbs of middle America, he makes that very claim. . . .

On a two-month cross-country trip, Sax hit all the major deli hubs: Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and, of course, New York, even working for an evening as a counterman at the legendary Katz's deli on Manhattan's Lower East Side. But he also fanned out across North America to Denver; Detroit; Scottsdale, Ariz.; St. Louis; Cleveland; Las Vegas; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Montreal; Toronto; and a dozen other cities. He even made a trip across the Atlantic to visit delis in London, Brussels, Paris and Krakow, Poland, one of the birthplaces of the modern Jewish deli.
Well, that's one of many things we Angelenos have over Yankee fans: better delis.


Blogger The Kosher Hedgehog said...

Readers should know that what the author of the book meant by "traditional Jewish deli" is not especially traditional or Jewish. The author David Sax is writing about the "kosher-style" deli, "kosher-style" being a peculiarly American euphenism for "not kosher." The author champions delis that serve non-kosher meat and the particularly non-kosher Reuben sandwich, which combines pastrami with swiss cheese, a very unkosher combination of meat and dairy. Not mentioned at all in Mr. Sax's deli ranking or any of the reviews that I have read of his book is the pre-eminent kosher deli of Los Angeles, Pico Kosher Deli at 8826 W. Pico Blvd.
Sorry, Lowell, but Mr. Sax's "traditional Jewish deli" makes about as much sense as a "traditional Mormon coffee shop and bar."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:21:00 PM  

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