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October 7, 2012

Addicted to Deli

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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I grew up in an extremely Jewish community. So Jewish that we did not go to school on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. So with that goes a lot of delis. Old fashioned, authentic Jewish delis. MMmmmm. I love deli, especially corned beef sandwiches.

So now that I live in WDC, I’m being tortured. The deli’s are horrible. Corned beef here tastes like bologna. And I’ve tried every supposed authentic deli in this city – every one. They just don’t know how to cure meat here…

SO, when I meet Jewish people here, somewhere in the conversation I manage to weave in the question, “Where do you get good deli here?” Of all the answers I’ve gotten – and there haven’t been many – only once have I gotten the same answer twice; Attman’s deli in Baltimore.

Now, knowing that Baltimore is a bit more ethnic and certainly more community-like than WDC, I thought, that has to be the jackpot so I don’t have to drive all the way to Cleveland or NYC just to have a corned beef sandwich! WRONG!

Don’t get me wrong, Attman’s looks the part and has the long line out the front door during lunch to prove it. But, the sandwiches taste like bologna. I was so totally disappointed. But, if you want the full Jewish deli experience – other foods and atmosphere, Attman’s is as good as it gets in this region.

If you want to eat at a 4 star restaurant, WDC is as good as it gets. But, don’t try to grab something casual – you’ll be disappointed and possibly food-poisoned…

Recommendations: If you’re in Cleveland, we’ve lost a lot of my favorite old-school delis, but, I still have Chicago Deli near University Circle and the most famous downtown deli, Slyman’s. If you’re in NYC, swing by Bloom’s deli at 40th and Lexington or the 2nd Avenue Deli. I’ve been to the Stage Deli near Times Square… Good, but more for the tourist – if you want it real, hit Bloom’s or 2nd Ave.

As for me, I’m resigned to make my pilgrimages to Cleveland and NYC. I mean, I’ve come to a place where, when I’m in Cleveland, I eat deli everyday just to catch up. And chinese food – it sucks in WDC too. I’ll have to live with that for the moment. I hope you don’t…