Delicatessens: Not Your Local Sub

Delicatessens: Not Your Local Sub

Corned Beef, Sandwich
The best delis have an adjoining bakery that sells authentic bagels, bialys, rolls and biscuits, together with take-out sandwiches and foods. Some of the old timers such as the Stage Deli and the Carnegie Deli have gone the way of the dinosaur (go figure) but a few still flourish, particularly in NYC, Chicago and of course Miami. We’re not talking sandwich or sub shops here, we are talking honest-to-gosh authentic delis where you’d swear grandma was making matzo balls in the kitchen. Here’s What you can expect to find if you venture into an excellent one:
Lox and bagels or bialys, with or without a schmear of cream cheese (if they don’t serve these, you made a wrong turn and you’re at Subway)
A comforting bowl of matzo ball soup – a mild dumpling made with matzo meal in chicken broth, or kreplach, a heavier meat-filled dumpling
Borekas – stuffed pastries made of a thin flaky phyllo dough and filled with spinach, cheese or sometimes meat (also a Greek dish)
Shashuka – hot dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin
Potato latkes – your fundamental potato pancakes, served with applesauce and sour cream
Brisket and pastrami sandwiches – best served warm on Jewish rye with lots of mustard, coleslaw on the side
Blintzes – usually fruit fill and served with sour cream, similar to a crepe
Potato knishes – a heavier dumpling-type usually filled with, potato and onions
Reuben sandwich – classic grilled sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing (you can go”lighter” with turkey) delicious
Potato salad and coleslaw – the perfect side dish, creamy and plenty of it
Matzo breh – pieces of matzoh lightly sauteed in butter and scrambled with eggs, the ideal breakfast
Chocolate egg cream – a tall drink with a splash of milk, flavored syrup and fizzy water (no egg or cream)
Chopped liver – usually a plate with a mound of chopped liver, accompanied by sliced onions, tomatoes, chopped egg and served with rye bread
Kosher dill pickles – the best, say no more
Brown mustard – the spicier the better (forget that yellow stuff)
Gefilte fish – not high on everyone’s favorites but a traditional white fish and part of a traditional holiday meal, served cold
Matzo – level tasteless popular cracker, part of a traditional Jewish passover meal
Kasha – buckwheat groats, pretty tasteless but very traditional (great source of fiber)
Loaves of braided challah, a traditional sweet holiday bread which usually contains raisins, Much like a brioche
Rugelah – a sweet rolled dough cookie filled with raisins and nuts
Many Jewish dishes of course have a similar version in neighboring countries like Poland, the Mediterranean countries and Russia, and many are part of a traditional holiday meal such as Passover. But what has evolved to the traditional delicatessen, with its mile high sandwiches, matzo ball soup and chopped liver is unique unto itself. The waiters are rude and hurried, the portions are large, and the clients are hungry. What’s not to like?

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