Writing this post has made me drool. (Excuse me while I wipe off my keyboard.)
Photo Credit: Linda Spillers
As we have learned from our Edible World programs, food tells stories. So join us for brunch on Saturday, November 13 at 12PM, as popular cookbook author Joan Nathan tells us about her latest culinary adventure- exploring Jewish cuisine in France. Quiches, Kugels and Couscous will take place in the Painted Bride Art Center’s Cafe and will last for approximately 2 hours. $35 for the general public and $28 for First Person members gets you brunch and a talk by Ms. Nathan. Buy your tickets here.
To get your taste buds watering and your stomach grumbling, we thought we’d take our own journey (our own kind of amuse-bouche, if you will) and look at some of the delicious Jewish cuisine right in our own backyard.
Hershel's East Side Deli's Corned Beef Sandwich (Yelp.com)
We have to kick things off with Hershel’s East Side Deli, located in Philly’s famed Reading Terminal Market. Its owner, Steve Saftern, has food in his blood. Before his uncle and father came to America, his family made and sold deli meat. Jordan Epstein from Unbreaded urges readers to get their last meal there, “The pastrami sandwich is the crown jewel, a massive pile of dripping fresh hand cut, 10-day cured, slow-baked, 10 spice rubbed “Kosher navel.” Definitely worth the mad rush of people at Reading, Hershel’s is open seven days a week. But you can avoid the crowd since they’re also catering our brunch with Joan Nathan (now it’s official, you have to go). Visit their website.
Famous 4th Street Delicatessen first opened its doors in 1923 and has been on the rise ever since. In 2009 its desserts were named the Best of Philadelphia by Philadelphia magazine. “Everything at the famous is “zaftig,” which is Yiddish for hefty.” says Phyllis Stein-Novack of the South Philadelphia Review and Craig LeBan of the Philadelphia Inquirer describes Russ Cowan as “the Michelangelo of pickled beef and a van Gogh with Russian dressing.” Located at 700 South 4th Street and now at 38 S. 19th Street (between Market & Chestnut). Visit their website.
Delicatessen, formerly known as Kibitz in the City, has been described as a “Modern Jewish Deli.” Its menu features all the classics: kugel, blintzes, pastrami and corned beef; however, it also has a “New School Menu” which includes the Philly Bagel Roll, a sesame bagel topped with wasabi cream cheese, nova, pickled red onion, cucumber and tobiko roe. This deli even has vegan options such as their Mushroom and Barley Soup! Definitely a new spin on the Jewish deli, they are located at 703 Chestnut St. Visit their website.
Zahav's Stuffed Baby Peppers (Yelp.com)
Zahav means “Gold” in Hebrew and is a reference to Jerusalem. It has been only open for about two years and it is already one of the hot spots for Israeli cuisine. Critics all over cannot stop praising Zahav’s creamy hummus and house baked Laffa, and that’s just the beginning. (PS We’ll have their hummus at the brunch!) David Landsel from the New York Post says chef Michael Solomonov “transforms traditional, not-so-exciting dishes, using one-of-a-kind creative flourishes and unlikely flavor combinations,” and that Zahav’s cuisine “simultaneously tastes familiar and unlike anything you’ve ever eaten.” Zahav is located at 237 St. James Place on the ground of the Society Hill Towers, but you can also experience Solomonv’s unique flavors at The Painted Bride Art Center for our event with Joan Nathan! Visit their website.
Marathon Grill, I’m sure you’ve heard of them, but have you also heard that they have some of the best Matzoh ball soup in the city? They do, so check out this city favorite at one of their numerous locations. Visit their website.
Mama’s Vegetarian is a fast food Middle Eastern Kosher restaurant that specializes in “MAMA’s sandwich” which is their very own falafel. Lisa Kelvin Tuttle of The Philadelphia Jewish Voice describes Mama’s food as “simple, delicious…flavorful, colorful and filling.” Their ingredients are fresh and their pita bread is baked daily on the premises. It is located on 18 S. 20th street and is definitely a go-to restaurant from flavorful Middle Eastern fast food. View their website.
Kaplan’s Bakery: Jewish Rye Bread, Pumpernickel, Black Bread, Challah, Egg Wash Rolls, and knishes. Is your mouth watering yet? Kaplan’s is one of the oldest Jewish bakeries in Philadelphia and has been supplying the Northern Liberties neighborhood since 1916, when the community mostly catered to eastern European Jews. At 901 N. 3rd St. (Corner of 3rd and Poplar Streets) you can eat a part of Philadelphia history! Visit their website.
– Laura Reeve