Posts Tagged ‘Deli’

Schwartz’s – Montreal

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 by virginia


After spending two nights in Quebec City, we headed to Montreal to finish up our little Canadian adventure. We didn’t leave quite as early in morning as we would have liked, plus we ended up hitting some traffic on the highway, so we got to the city a bit later than we intended, around 1 pm. Since we had a 5 pm reservation at Au Pied de Cochon later that day, we were hungry but didn’t want to fill up too much before our highly anticipated dinner. Instead of going to our hotel first, we headed straight for Schwartz’s, a famed Montreal deli, and picked up some smoked meat sandwiches to go.

There was a line of people waiting to be seated in the restaurant, but we found a parking spot and Josh was able to run in to the takeout counter and get two sandwiches right away. They were already prepared and wrapped up in wax paper, so I hoped they were still fresh. We took them to our hotel and ate them immediately after we got to our room.

Smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's

Smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s

The sandwiches were a decent size – not overstuffed like the crazy big sandwiches at Carnegie Deli, but still piled high with a good amount of meat. There was mustard on the bread already, so I guess it comes standard, since no one asked Josh if he wanted any. That suited us fine, as we both like mustard on our deli sandwiches, but I’m not sure what happens if you don’t want mustard. The bread was still soft but not soggy, which is a good sign that the sandwiches were recently made at least. However, the small size of the bread was pretty laughable compared to the amount of meat. It did a pretty bad job containing the sandwich, and I ended up with basically a fistful of meat with no bread about halfway through.

It didn’t really matter in the end, as the smoked meat was the star of the sandwich anyway. It was tender and had a good amount of fattiness to it, which prevented it from getting too dry. It tasted like a cross between pastrami and corned beef, with lots of spices crusted on the outside and a subtle smokey/cured flavor on the inside. It wasn’t overly salty, as I sometimes find deli meats to be, and I especially enjoyed the pop of the crushed peppercorns in the seasoning.

Smoked meat up close

Smoked meat up close

Overall Josh and I both liked the smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s, although I do wish that the bread to meat ratio was a bit better. Maybe if we get take out next time, we should order the meat by the pound and get bread separately, so that we could construct our own sandwiches. That would also allow us to tailor the amount of mustard to our preferences. Nevertheless, the sandwich was satisfying and the smoked meat itself was a treat. At about $7 per sandwich, it wasn’t a bad deal either. I’d definitely recommend stopping by to taste one of Montreal’s most famous smoked meat destinations.

3895 St Laurent Blvd

Montreal, Canada

Forbidden Food Indulgence

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 by virginia

As you might have been able to guess based on the above picture, I finally got my bagel with lox, scallion cream cheese, tomato, and red onion, which means that Josh and I welcomed our daughter, Baby J, into the world!

Fortunately, I was in labor for only about six hours, which is considered to be short for first time mothers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to eat before we went to the hospital, and once you’re there, you can’t eat anything. When all was said and done, I didn’t get settled into my room until almost 11 pm, 13 hours after my breakfast of waffles and orange juice. By that point, I was starving. Labor might have been short, but man, it was hard work!

However, the hospital kitchen was closed due to the late hour, so my food choices were limited to either a turkey sandwich, a tuna fish sandwich, or yogurt. I was happy to eat turkey after abstaining from deli meats for so long, but this was a pretty sad, dried out, pre-made turkey sandwich. I managed to get some mayo from the nurse, which helped a little, but it wasn’t the best post-pregnancy meal.

Sad hospital turkey sandwich

Luckily, Josh’s cousin brought him some food from the California Pizza Kitchen, and while he focused on the pizza, I gobbled up most of the caesar salad, another forbidden food that I had been craving throughout my pregnancy. While I made caesar dressing at home without any eggs (which just isn’t the same), I could never be sure if restaurant dressings included raw egg, and so I always abstained when eating out.

CPK caesar salad

I did take a bite of Josh’s Thai chicken pizza, which was cold but still tasty. It wasn’t what I was in the mood for at the time, but I was happy to be able to eat the bean sprouts on top without panicking.

CPK Thai chicken pizza

Food-wise, the next day was a much better experience. While the hospital food wasn’t terrible, it was pretty bland, but that didn’t matter because we were getting plenty of food from the outside. First was the above pictured bagel with lox, which was as good as I remembered. The lox was glossy and rich, pairing perfectly with the scallion cream cheese. Next was a spread of prosciutto San Daniele with baguette. And I really do mean a spread! There was almost a full pound of thinly sliced meat, which Josh laid it out along the counter in our room, and we encouraged visitors to help themselves.

Prosciutto San Daniele and pieces of baguette

Of all the deli meats I couldn’t eat, prosciutto was definitely near the top of ones that I missed the most. Our usual summertime meal of mozzarella, tomato, basil, and prosciutto on slices of baguette was just not the same without prosciutto. Although Josh indulged occasionally while I looked on jealously, he was pretty good about not eating it front of me very often. I definitely ate a hefty portion of the thin, melt-in-your-mouth San Daniele at the hospital, and enjoyed every bit of it.

Prosciutto up close

The day we went home from the hospital, we had lots of relatives over to visit Baby J. Josh’s parents brought in a spread from The Kosher Nosh, and I was able to satisfy my Jewish deli meat craving. There was tons of corned beef, pastrami, tongue, and turkey, as well as cole slaw and potato salad, which I also was not allowed to eat during my pregnancy (no deli salads, especially ones that are mayo-based). I ended up making lots of half sandwiches with the individual meats – tongue is still my favorite!

Deli spread from The Kosher Nosh

And my most recent forbidden food indulgence? Sushi! I’m still not allowed to eat fish that is high in mercury (like tuna and yellowtail), so I only had the salmon sushi, the Alaska roll, and the ikura sushi. While yellowtail is my favorite fish and I still miss it, the salmon sushi was still pretty satisfying.

Lots of fresh sushi

Is this the end of the post-pregnancy forbidden food indulgence? Of course not! I’m still looking forward to a nice rare steak, like the steak frites we used to eat at Les Halles, tuna/chicken/egg salad, rare lamb chops, a beautifully runny poached or sunnyside up egg, among a million other things. But I’ve got plenty of time now to satisfy all of my cravings! Although, the lack of sleep with a newborn is definitely no joke…

Lansky’s Old World Deli

Thursday, April 7th, 2011 by virginia

Lansky’s Old World Deli is a place that I’ve walked by many times but never really thought about trying. One night Josh had a craving for a corned beef sandwich and all the delivery options we had seemed unappealing, so I looked up the menu for Lanksy’s and we decided to walk over there to check it out. The restaurant has kind of a classic, retro diner feel to it, and the menu is pretty extensive. It’s a kosher style deli, though it’s not actually kosher because they serve meat and dairy together, plus you can add bacon to any sandwich.

It didn’t take us long to figure out what we wanted to order, and then we dug into the bowls of pickles and cole slaw they brought us. Sadly there was only one half sour pickle in the bowl. Josh and I both prefer half sours because they taste fresher and are crunchier as well. The full sours weren’t overpoweringly sour, but they had a slightly metallic taste to them that I didn’t like. We probably could have asked for more half sours but we knew we had ordered a lot of food so we wanted to save the stomach space.


Josh doesn’t eat cole slaw or any mayo based salads (ie., potato salad, macaroni salad) but I took a few bites and thought it was pretty tasty. It had a nice crunch and wasn’t overly mayo-y, with a nice tang. It made a good side dish to munch on with our sandwiches.

Cole slaw

We decided to go halfsies on a corned beef sandwich and a pastrami sandwich, both on rye bread. The sandwiches were pretty thick but nothing like the monstrosities that you get at the Carnegie Deli, for example. Still, they’ll fill you up and they’re more reasonably priced at $10.95 each. The corned beef wasn’t as flavorful as some other places, but it was pretty soft and had a nice texture. We just used extra deli mustard to boost up the flavor a bit.

Corned beef sandwich

The pastrami, on the other hand, was fabulous. Juicy, smokey, and tender – this was some of the best pastrami we’ve had. There was tons of flavor throughout, and we could taste the seasonings and spices they used on the meat.

Pastrami sandwich

From the “nosh” section of the menu, we got an order of the macaroni and cheese to share as a side dish. It was made with four different cheeses (sorry, I don’t remember what kind!) and was super creamy. It was served in a big bowl with a breadcrumb crust on top that could have been browned a bit more. The mac and cheese was definitely cheesy, and while we enjoyed it a lot, it was super rich so we only managed to finish off half the bowl.

Macaroni and cheese

We also got a side of french fries. They were made from freshly cut potatoes and fried to a deep golden brown. They were great when they were hot but did get a bit soggy as they cooled down.

Fresh cut french fries

Instead of dessert, Josh got a chocolate egg cream to finish off the meal. It’s basically seltzer, milk, and chocolate syrup mixed together. This version was nice and bubbly, not too sweet, but definitely chocolaty. It was quite refreshing.

Chocolate egg cream

Overall we enjoyed the food at Lansky’s, although the corned beef sandwich was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great. The pastrami, however, was great. I would definitely come back just to eat another one of those sandwiches. Portions are big and prices are reasonable. Service was pretty slow but it looked like there were only two servers working the entire restaurant. Our waitress was apologetic about it but we did have to wait a while to flag her down every time we needed something. Lanksy’s probably doesn’t rank up there with the “best” delis in the city (Katz’s, 2nd Avenue – both places we have yet to try) but it’s a nice neighborhood joint serving solid kosher style deli fare. For those not interested in corned beef or pastrami sandwiches, the menu is pretty extensive and there are lots of other items to choose from. They also serve a brunch on the weekends that I’d be interested in checking out sometime.

Lansky’s Old World Deli
235 Columbus Ave. between 70th and 71st St.
New York, NY

Carnegie Deli

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 by virginia

Josh and I have kind of been apartment hunting on and off for the last three years. At one point we were really into it, going to several open houses each weekend. Our search has tapered off in the last few months but we saw an interesting listing in Midtown and decided to check it out during lunch on a weekday. The apartment was a bust so to make ourselves feel better, we decided to grab lunch at the famed Carnegie Deli nearby and drown our sorrows in a mountain of corned beef and pastrami.

Neither of us had been to the Carnegie Deli before, nor have we ventured to any of the other landmark NYC delis like Katz’s or the 2nd Avenue Deli, but we’re no strangers to deli fare. We were seated in the back room and noshed on some pickles while we looked around at all the pictures on the walls of the famous people who have dined at the Carnegie Deli.

Just a small sample of all the pictures hanging on the walls

Josh and I both preferred the half sour pickles, as they had a crunchier texture and a fresher flavor. The sour pickles were pretty limp and overly acidic, tasting like they had been hanging out in the brine for far too long.

Pickles to nosh on

We decided to halfsies on a corned beef sandwich and a pastrami sandwich, knowing full well that we wouldn’t be able to finish either portions. The size of the sandwiches definitely didn’t disappoint, as each was almost four inches high and spilling meat out onto the plate. I thought the corned beef was a bit too lean, however, resulting in a dry, almost crumbly texture. A generous schmear of mustard fixed that though, and we also asked for more bread to make more manageable sandwich portions for ourselves.

Corned beef sandwich

The pastrami we got was a much fattier cut and more tender as a result. It definitely had a smokier flavor than the corned beef, though I thought both were pretty comparable in terms of seasoning.

Pastrami sandwich

We also got a side of French fries, which were boasted as being cholesterol free. They were fat crinkle cut fries, similar to Nathan’s, and were surprisingly crispy on the outside and very potato-y on the inside. I typically don’t like thicker cut fries but these were perfectly cooked and not at all greasy.

Crinkle cut french fries

Despite our best efforts, we had tons of leftovers. Our waitress gave us sheets of waxed paper and bags so that we could pack up the rest of our sandwiches. Even though we had stuffed ourselves silly, we still ended up an entire half of the pastrami sandwich, plus 1/3 of the other half, as well as half of the corned beef sandwich.

We ended up eating the pastrami for dinner that night, cooking it up with scrambled eggs and eating it on toasted bagels. Even that was almost too much food, but I liked how the fattiness of the pastrami allowed it to hold up well during the cooking process, and its saltiness matched well with the eggs.

Pastrami and egg scramble on a toasted bagel

Overall Josh and I both enjoyed our impromptu lunch at Carnegie Deli, and the fact that we didn’t have to worry about what to eat for dinner later that night. At first glance, $15 for a sandwich might seem ridiculous, but when you think about it, it’s really at least two sandwiches, even for the heartiest eater. That means it’s actually not that bad price-wise, especially for Midtown. While the corned beef and pastrami weren’t the best that I’ve ever had, they were still pretty tasty. Besides, part of the appeal is going for the ambiance – to look at all the pictures on the walls and try to pick out your favorite stars, and to interact with the surly, no-nonsense waitresses. Even though some might dismiss it as touristy, when you’re there, you can’t help but feel like you’re experiencing a part of NYC history. Just make sure to bring cash (no credit cards), and to ask for extra bread to deconstruct your sandwich, unless you can figure out a way to detach your jaw!

Carnegie Deli
854 7th Ave. at 55th St.
New York, NY

The Kosher Nosh

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 by virginia

Josh and I went to NJ on a Saturday and grabbed an early lunch with Josh’s mom at The Kosher Nosh, a kosher (duh) restaurant/deli in Glen Rock. The restaurant part of the shop was empty when we first arrived but soon filled up quickly, so we got there at the perfect time. After we placed our order with the waitress, we went to the pickle bar in the corner to get some pickles and salads while we waited for our food.

The pickle bar featured both sour and half sour pickles, pickled green tomatoes, cole slaw, health salad, and potato salad. We picked up a little bit of everything so that we could taste each one. The sour pickles weren’t terribly sour but we all preferred the half sours, which still had a refreshing cucumber taste to them.

Sour and half sour pickles

The pickled tomato was super sour, making my mouth pucker. We quickly abandoned that and moved on to the salads. The cole slaw and potato salad were standard and perfectly fine, but the health salad was deliciously vinegary and tangy, reminding me of the pickled vegetables that you get at Chinese restaurants.

Potato salad, cole slaw, health salad, and pickled green tomatoes

Cole slaw, potato salad, health salad, pickled green tomatoes

We also ordered a bowl of chicken soup with a matzo ball to share. The chicken soup was exactly how you want chicken soup to be – rich, hot, and comforting. The soup was simple and clean, and not too greasy. The matzo ball was perfectly light and fluffy. It was one of the best versions that I’ve ever had.

Chicken soup with a matzo ball

For lunch, I ordered the tongue sandwich on rye bread. I’ve tried tongue a few times before, but never by itself in a full sandwich. This sandwich was piled high with super thin slices of tongue, and I absolutely loved it. The tongue wasn’t too salty and had a nice soft texture to it, making it easy to bite through the whole sandwich. I just put a slather of mustard on the bread, and it was perfect.

Tongue piled high on rye bread

Josh and Alice both ordered corned beef on a club roll. The corned beef was very lean, making the meat slightly dry, but they sliced it really thin so that helped make it easier to eat. A healthy shmear of mustard on the roll also added extra moisture, and the meat itself was really tasty. It wasn’t overly salty and the meat had good flavor.

Corned beef on a club roll

Corned beef on a club roll

We also shared a plate of French fries, which were hot and crispy right out of the fryer. These were golden brown and perfect.

Deliciously crispy fries

Overall Josh and I both really enjoyed our lunch at The Kosher Nosh. Alice wanted us to try something different, since we usually have our standard Saturday lunch spots that we go to. The sandwiches here were really fabulous. They’re a bit pricey, but not so much for kosher deli, and they really pile on the meat. We were stuffed after all of the food but we enjoyed every bite of it. I also got to try Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray for the first time, and I have to say I wasn’t a fan. It just tasted weird to me, not really like celery, but I’m glad to have tried it. I’ll stick with cream soda from now on. The atmosphere at the restaurant is laid back and casual. There were older couples having lunch as well as big families with lots of little kids. I will definitely come back, and it made me eager to try some of the deli institutions in the city, like Katz’s and the 2nd Avenue Deli.

The Kosher Nosh
894 Prospect St.
Glen Rock, NJ

Fiore’s Deli

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by virginia


I don’t watch 30 Rock, much to Josh’s sister’s dismay, but somehow I ended up watching the “Sandwich Day” episode that featured a roast beef and mozzarella sandwich with magical dipping sauce. It was and still is the only episode of 30 Rock that I’ve seen, and I couldn’t get that sandwich out of my mind, or the scene of Tina Fey’s character eating it at the airport security gate because the dipping sauce was over 3 ounces.

I read a post on Serious Eats New York that revealed the sandwich to be from Fiore’s Deli in Hoboken. Even though Hoboken is just across the Hudson, and Josh and I are in NJ fairly often, we could never find the time to get over to Fiore’s to try out this sandwich. So when Josh was assigned to a project in Jersey City and he mentioned that he had been hoofing it over to Hoboken for lunch, I quickly looked up the deli’s address and found that it wasn’t too far from his office. I asked him to pick up some sandwiches for dinner and made sure to tell him that he had to go on a Thursday, as that was when the magical dipping sauce would be available.

So the last Thursday before his Jersey City project ended, Josh made the trip to Fiore’s. He picked up two sandwiches, which are so large that they’re really like four sandwiches, and brought back 1.5 for our dinner that night (he ate a half for lunch).

A crazy big half a sandwich

A crazy big half of a sandwich

He also got a huge container of the magical dipping sauce, which is gravy made from the roast beef drippings. We heated the gravy up on the stove, and it smelled and looked a lot like soy sauce.

The magical gravy dipping sauce

The magical gravy dipping sauce

Fortunately it didn’t taste like soy sauce, although I thought a detected a hint of it in the flavor. Maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me since it really looked so much like soy sauce. We also heated up the sandwiches briefly in the oven, since the bread had gotten very soggy from traveling all day. While the bread crisped up nicely, and the cheese got a little melty, I think it dried out the roast beef unfortunately.

Autopsy shot

Autopsy shot

The dry roast beef wasn’t a huge issue though, as we had lots of dipping sauce on hand. I liberally dipped each bite into the gravy, letting it soak into everything.

Mmm beef drippings

Lots of dipping action

Overall I must admit that I was a little disappointed with this sandwich. I know a lot of it was probably my fault in not eating it right away and reheating it in the oven, but the flavors weren’t as good as I thought they’d be; it was kind of one note. The beef didn’t have a huge amount of flavor to it.

Josh did eat half a sandwich right away, and while he said the roast beef was definitely moister originally, the bread was better after being toasted. And I’m sure the mozzarella cheese lost a lot of its fresh taste after being melted a bit. I thought the sandwiches would have roasted peppers on them but maybe you need to specially request them. I wonder if adding those would have helped perk up the flavors of the sandwich.

I think I’ll need to find a Saturday to make the trip to Fiore’s Deli myself, so that I can have a freshly made sandwich and dipping sauce and eat it right away. I don’t think that I can fairly judge this sandwich at this point. I also wouldn’t mind trying some other things that the deli has to offer!

Fiore’s Deli
414 Adams St.
Hoboken, NJ

Sunrise Delicatessen

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 by virginia


Sunrise is pretty much a generic midtown deli but it offers a quick and reliable sandwich for those days when you don’t have time to linger over lunch. It’s located right across the street from Josh’s office and therefore makes it a convenient go-to place. We usually split two sandwiches – turkey and swiss on a roll with lettuce, tomato and honey mustard, and “The Godfather”, which is a huge Italian hero (salami, ham, provolone) with roasted peppers, lettuce and tomato. The honey mustard though is the thick gooey kind that packs a punch on your sinuses if you eat too much at once, and therefore I love it.

Turkey and swiss on a roll with honey mustard sauce on the side.

Turkey and swiss on a roll with honey mustard sauce on the side.

One of the best features of The Godfather is the bread that it’s served on, which is a quintessential chewy Italian bread with sesame seeds sturdy enough to contain the sandwich contents but not stale or too tough to bite through easily. A container of oil and vinegar on the side, drizzled on right before eating so that the sandwich doesn’t get soggy, is the perfect complement.

The Godfather

The Godfather

The Godfather, which includes a side of potato chips (sometimes slightly stale but always better than no chips at all, especially if you’re feeling a bit peckish), is really a great deal at $7.25 (the turkey and swiss sandwich clocks in at $7.50). If you didn’t have two fat bellies like us, you could definitely save a half for dinner and still be satisfied.

Sunrise Delicatessen
575 7th Ave. between 40th and 41st St.
New York, NY