All posts filed under “Deli

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Katz’s Deli + Economy Candy + Crif Dogs, New York

Katz’s Deli

Katz's Deli on Urbanspoon

On East Houston Street has been standing Katz’s Deli for God-know-how-many years (since 1888 – I don’t do maths). This is a proper Jewish delicatessen of NYC Lower East Side (which London’s dear Mishkin’s takes an inspiration from). The walls are adorned with memorabilia of the past (with a lot of sleb diners) and straight to the future (I’m sure the place will have 100 more years to go). As I walked in, I was given a ticket, which was to be presented at the counter as I ordered my food. The menu is as vast as the deli itself and has everything Jewish – Chicken soup, Salt Beef, Pastrami, Knishes…

(As I was on a mini food crawl), I settled just for a Reuben ($16.55) and a Salt Beef Sandwich ($15.25). It was a mouthful of spectacle seeing the corned beef being sliced and then two slices were given to me as samples. Steaming hot. Tender in texture and powerful in taste. The same was repeated while I was waiting for the salt beef, which was gelatinous (thanks to the fat) and snapped apart very gently. Once turned into sandwiches, I did not like them as much. For the salt beef, I found the American mustard too sweet and did not contribute a striking contrast to the beefy forte. Personal preference. The Reuben was far more calorie-worthy thanks to the corned beef alone. Dressing-wise, the Russian dressing could have been more piquant and the sauerkraut sharper in acidity. But again this is a personal preference for sourness (as I noticed they seem pro sweetness over there). The rye bread were pretty spot-on spongy. A great meal, nonetheless, and the sandwiches were MONUMENTAL!!!

Economy Candy

A digestive attempt. I walked into Economy Candy – a rusty-looking, wholesale+retail candy shop on Rivington Street, still on the Lower East Side. The range of sweet things (mostly American brands and cartoon-focused goodies) here is incredibly orgasmic, considering how not-so-large the shop is. A sort of place that makes your aged retina beams with gleeful youth. The price of all things at Economy Candy is also a tempting bargain, about 1/3 – 1/2 cheaper than the regular retail price.

(I only bought 3 monkeys – below)..

Crif Dogs

Crif Dogs on Urbanspoon

And my mini food crawl ended here – Crif Dogs. A famous hot dog cafe with a “secret”.

Crif Dogs is dungeon-like with an odd resemblance to Camden. There are a great variation of toppings to choose from (16 kinds, I think), while the price fluctuates between $2.50 – $5. Tater Tots ($2.50) were these little cylindrical hash browns. Light, crispy and additive. No greasy aftertaste. The New Yorker was an all-beef sausage ($2.50) served nude in a bun (toppings on request) seemed fried rather than grilled and did not burst much taste (BAHD’s Pimp Steak beats this one hands down). The Chihuahua ($4.50) was a bacon-wrapped frankfurter with avocado and sour cream. Velvety touch. The sausage was snappy and juicy and the bacon very crackling. The Chilli Dog ($3.75) was pleasant and claimed a good mustard heat. I wasn’t keen on the cloyingly sticky texture, though. Apart from this, I also felt underwhelmed by the paper-like bun (it tasted a bit like the ones we feed fish in Thailand). My favourite of the meal was The Corn Dog ($4.75). I liked the sweet gummy batter and the moist hot dog. My only criticism was that my Corn Dog was a few minutes over-fried, resulting in a mildly burnt aroma and bitterness.

Hot dogs, done!

So, the “secret”?!?

The telephone booth inside Crif Dogs leads way to a secret cocktail bar called PDT (“please don’t tell”) which is opened daily from 6pm till late. You need to secure a reservation over the phone at a designated time (I learn it is 10am of the day you visit). If not, aim to arrive very early. I can’t tell if their cocktails are good because, during our visit, the place was so secretive nobody told us it was shut (for refurbishment).


RATING: 4, 3 Out Of 5



205 East Houston Street
New York City

Tel. 001 (212) 254-2246


108 Rivington Street
New York City

Tel. 001 (212) 254-1531


113 St Marks Place 2
New York City

Tel. 001 (212) 614-2728

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Aamanns “Smørrebrødsdeli”, Copenhagen

Best known after Noma?

Smørrebrød is, after Noma, the ultimate definition of Danish cuisine. This is a national open top sandwich, made of buttered rye bread and whatever that goes on top, and served cold. While you can find this sort of things anywhere in Copenhagen and any Scandinavian towns and cities, I am particularly besotted by the posh interpretation of smørrebrød at Aamanns.

The Aamanns

There are two Aamanns in Copenhagen, one a cafeteria-like deli and the other a casual restaurant. Situated next to each other and just a few minute’s walk from Copenhagen’s main shopping street, both Aamanns are owned and run by Adam Aamanns who has been nationally and internationally praised for making Danish smørrebrød exciting. I popped into the deli for some late breakfast bite. The interior was quirky but wooden, a lot of design that would be much valued by such magazines as Monocle. I liked but did not fall in love. The staff, on the other hand, was lovable and helped look for an English menu for me. (I arrived at the minute they unlocked the door).

On the menu were many kinds of smørrebrød freshly prepared using carefully sourced regional ingredients. Cheese and meatballs were also on the menu. A piece of smørrebrød was priced between 50 – 65 Danish Kroner (roughly £5- 6). Fried Pickled Herring with Spices, Sour Cream and Pumpkin Compote was flavoursome. The meaty herring oozed light acidity, well complimented by the creamy pumpkin and the vibrant crunch of red onion rings. There was a delectable note of orange zest in the background. Rilette of Pork was less impressive. While very finely prepared, the pork flavour wasn’t big enough for my liking. That said, I did enjoy the contrast in texture and taste from mildly pickled sauerkraut and crispy crackling crumbs. My favourite of the day, however, was this Beef Tartare with Tarragon and Egg Emulsion, which looked like an Ankylosaurus but neatly armoured with crisp discs and spiky gherkins. The proportion of beef was generous for £6 and was spot on for its fresh robustness. The garnish – tarragon, egg, capers, onions – played a very good supporting role and did not aggravate the beef. I loved it. I could eat a few more..

How many pieces would you need? One or two, I’d say. The pieces were big. The toppings were generous. The dark rye bread was customarily heavy. I could manage a piece and a bit and was obliged to discard the rest (as I was on my way to eat at another place). One smørrebrød could easily count as a starter. All in all, a very good, quick ‘n cheap meal. Inventive and all..

GO FOR: Fancy bread.

(read about new rating here)


Øster Farimagsgade 10
2100 Copenhagen

Tel. +45 3555 3344

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Saporiamo, Modena

Pasta..non basta!

Never enough. No. Pasta is my thing, and whilst in Modena, I stumbled into this modern-looking pasta shop con deli that overlooked Piazza XX Settembre. Saporiamo, meaning “tasty!”, prided itself in a handing over of traditional pasta recipes. Some large display fridges played shrines to dry, freshly and beautifully folded tortellini, tortelloni, passatelli and so on. There was also an abundance of deli options, from basic pasta sauce, ready-to-eat pasta and ready-to-eat many things. Some produce and cooking essentials were on the shelves. No seating. No English menu. No English speaking shopkeepers. Takeaway and (for those not imbued with Italian language proficiency) sign language only. Microwaving was on the house. I felt oddly welcomed and much drawn to the deli, though.


Budget on the go

I managed these two small tubs. One was Spiralini (I think) sauteed with pancetta and asparagus. Perfectly seasoned. Rightly al dente. The asparagus slices were braised to burst natural juice. The other was chicken breasts cooked with cubes of fresh porcini mushrooms. Fragrant and delectably salted. The chicken was adequately tender. When it came to the price – in this case about €4 in total!! – both were breathtakingly amazing for takeaway food. While Modena isn’t particularly a cheap destination, I was very happy to come across a cheap find ^_^


GO FOR: Freshest pasta to take away. Fantastic value.

(read about rating here)



Piazza 20 Settembre, 24
41121 Modena

Tel. +39 059 221 799