12 hours ago
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
FACT: great deli can only be found in the Northeast. I am not talking about lunch meat pretending to be turkey breast or some kind of scary looking beige, processed crap they call ham.
New Jersey, NYC and Philly are the only cities where I have found good deli, unless your town has a transplant that has relocated from Deli-ville that I don't know about.
I grew up in a predominantly Italian American and Jewish neighborhood. We had 2 delicatessens. Carmella's Italian Deli, that made the best Italian subs w/ Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Cappicolla, Provolone, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions and oil & vinegar, with oregano, of course. Then there was Beck's Kosher Deli across the street. They had fresh hot turkey sandwiches or hot pastrami on rye w/ mustard and a garlic pickle on the side. We kids would take turns after school, crossing the street, never playing favorites, though Mrs. DeFilippo (owner of Carmella's) was the nicest to the kids!
The word DELICATESSEN is of German origin, and means delicacies. These Delicatessens were little places that sold quality meats and prepared goods for takeout. I used to go to the Jewish Deli in Queens as a kid with my grandmother and she would buy knishes, tongue (gross) and other little delicacies that we could open up like little presents when we got home. They also had a pickle barrel heavy with the aroma of garlic & dill, filled with giant pickles. Most delis have since gone. Deli is truly a lost art.
NYC & Brooklyn still have the best, ie. 2nd Ave. Deli, Carnegie Deli, Deli King and others. One corned beef sandwich at these joints will feed 4 people and the quality of meat is fantastic. These guys (& gals) slicing the meats and making the sandwiches are professional deli men. True artists.
Great pastrami is hard to find. I like mine with a little fat and gristle. It is the same cut of meat as corned beef, just a different process. Check out how to make your own pastrami (which I will never attempt).
In Northern New Jersey, we have our very own sandwich called a SLOPPY JOE. This is not the ground beef and tomato sauce that the rest of the country eats, but originated here, and is 3 slices of rye bread, and either turkey, ham or roast beef (you can combine them), dripping with cole slaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese. When it's made w/ REAL turkey (not the crap called "lunch meat") then it is a true delicacy.
Today, my brother and I shared a Turkey Sloppy Joe & a hot pastrami w/ brown mustard on thin sliced rye (the bread is sliced to order) at the Millburn Deli, a fantastic deli that is always packed.
The photos speak for themselves, so take a number and get in line!