This is good, fun food writing on a subject that is dear to my heart: Jewish delis. Unfortunately, we don’t have any good ones here in Seattle. But this is one of the funnier and more profound portions of Frank Bruni’s N.Y. Times review of the latest incarnation of the 2nd Avenue Deli:
I was saved by the latke, whose arrival shut down conversation about all else. It was scary: bigger than my foot, with an inside like cold mashed potatoes.
“It’s a school of latke,” Nora [Ephron] shrugged. “The hockey-puck school.”
“This is shocking,” said Laura. “Shocking.”
“You’re going with ‘shocking,’ Laura?” Nora teased, then wondered if there was rice pudding for dessert.
Nope. There was chocolate rugelach, which Nora said wasn’t quite as good as the raisin rugelach at Zabar’s.
Laura mentioned something about a deli near Boston, where she grew up. Ed [Koch] flashed back to corned beef and knishes from the different boroughs and decades in his life.
And I realized that we weren’t so much eating in a specific restaurant as passing through a communal storehouse of memories, on a bridge of babkas from the past to the future.
Ed, the most deeply rooted New Yorker among us, said that at the Second Avenue Deli, “I feel very much at home.”
“I walk out,” he said, “and I feel warm, no matter how cold it is.”