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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

How I Miss the City. . . .Food

I can remember the first time I saw Sturgeon Falls. Almost right away I realized it was an eating wasteland. I don't know if I said it out loud or not but I know I thought, "What this town needs are a few Jews. At least, enough to open a Jewish Deli.

I learned that Sturgeon Falls was proud to be the French Fry Capital of the World. There were two very busy Chip stands in the downtown and as you drove around it seemed every block has someone with a chipstand on their front lawn. This proved to be the way the locals "dined out". I didn't realize how bad it really was until a few years later I asked someone what the best restaurant in town was as I wanted to take a friend out to dinner. I was directed to the Sturgeon Lodge. Well it was just passable. I don't think it rated a single star.

Sturgeon Falls when I saw it did not have a single franchised fast food place. (to its credit) Not even those who made money at peddling mediocre fast food saw fit to invade Sturgeon Falls where fries and poutine (that disgusting looking French Canadian concoction) was considered haute cuisine.

Well that has all changed. There are a plethora of fast food outlets now. All the big players are here. But still no Jewish Deli, my favourite.

All this came to mind when I listened to David Sax talk about his book, Save the Deli. While he grew up in Toronto, his roots were in Montreal where the Jewish community had a big impact on life in that city with Deli and Bagel establishments, some of the best in the World.























The most famous Deli in Montreal is Schwartz Deli. They made Montreal Smoked meat a food to seek out and eat while in that city. In a way, along with poutine, the smoked meat can be seen as the national dishes of Quebec. Smoked meat is a cured corned beef that is fattier than regular corned beef and moister than pastrami. It is to die for, served on rye bread with the necessary kosher pickles on the side. Don't forget the mustard on it.


















A Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich


When I lived in New Haven, CT., I loved to go to a Deli there. Usually, I got pastrami on rye. the Deli always had big bowls of free pickles on the table, kosher dills and brine pickles. How I love brine pickles. I had a young teenager who suffered from schizophrenia who I came and help me put out the church newsletter, every second week. It was our thing for me to take him to the Deli for lunch as a treat after the job was done. Between the two of us I think they lost money with our eating all the free pickles.


















A Reuben Sandwich


Over the years, I developed a taste for Reuben sandwiches. Doesn't it just make your mouth water. For the uninitiated it is a grilled sandwich with pastrami, saurkraut and swiss cheese filling with Thousand Island dressing on it between rye or pumpernickel bread. Oh! to have one right now would be such a treat.


I was at our reopened restaurant in River Valley yesterday which is little more than an indoor chipstand. I am hoping the food improves. The new owner is my immediate neighbour. I was trying to convince her to create a special unique food that people would come out of their way to have. I was thinking in terms of a spicey meat filled turnover like the Jamaican Pattie. (It seems there are variations on this around the world). I could not convince her but she did promise that in the future she would serve Reuben sandwiches. She won me over. If she does I will be a regular patron.

It is the array of good food I miss about the city. There is a price you pay for the quiet rural life.
I once tried to eat in all the best restaurants in Toronto, using "Toronto Life" magazine as my guide. (I'm sorry I was an aspiring Yuppie in those days.) I spent lots of money and ate lots of lovely meals but I could not catch up to the coming into and going out of existence of great restaurants that city, one of the best eating cities due to it many large ethnic communitie

For everyday fare, I would still seek out a Deli as my first choice. It would be a crime if they disappeared.


8 Comments:

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

I miss deli's too. My favorite all time sandwich is the Reuben. Hope you are enjoying the snow. Sun shining here and the wind is blowing like crazy. Maybe Saturday we will get a thimble full of snow.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger KGMom said...

I love deli sandwiches. When we visit New York city, we try to visit a deli. I especially like tongue!
As for reubens--also a favorite of mine. I heard a radio program recently talking about saving delis, but the program pointed out that no good deli would make a reuben, a violation of kosher standards.

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I'd like to go to Schwartz'es someday. Meanwhile, all of those fries in Sturgeon Falls sounds like Nirvana to me.

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger possum said...

It has been so long since I have set foot in a deli - I have almost forgotten what one would find in there!
I am not much of a meat eater, so if you don't make a good veggie sandwich, I am not interested.

When we get a restaurant around here that dares to be brave in their offerings, they don't usually last much more than a year. McDonald's, on the other hand, looks like it is here to stay. More's the pity.
The population of this town is around 500, give or take a few... yet we have a McD's, a Burger King, a Bojangles, a Hardees, a Pizza Hut, a Wendy's, 2 Chinese places often closed for health violations (DIRTY!) - a Subway, a Mexican place where gringoes are not made welcome, and 2 real sit-down restaurants, both owned by Turks. One has good food, the other not so good... sigh. Oh, and one seafood place... Guess that's what we get for having a shopping center. And the have started putting up the steel girders for the WalMart.
Here we sit, surrounded by places to eat, and not one of them worth a hoot.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Janet said...

We had a deli on campus back in 1980 called Mad Max that served a divine turkey cheese croissant. They cost $1 and I blame my "freshman 15" on those things. I've never found their equal, though those Reubens look mighty tasty.

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Gretchen said...

We love delis, but have not a one in our town. We don't have a fast food resteraunt either, unless Subway counts. What I wouldn't give for a simple Big Mac some days!

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger amelia said...

You are so right about our town being an eating wasteland! We rarely go out to eat because there's nothing but greasy spoons!!
What I'd like to see here would be some nice Indian restaurants! Not going to happen I know but I can dream. We came here from Little India at Coxwell and Gerrard, we lived very close to there so we used to eat there at least once a week!
We thought they were going to open a Swiss Chalet but what did we get? Another greasy spoon!! (A&W)

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Ken said...

What the hell is that thing you're claiming to be a montreal smoked meat sandwich?!?!

Montreal smoked meat isn't like Skippy's peanut butter. There is no chunky version. Sliced thin, piled high. Maybe you got that in Toronto, but never in Montreal.

 

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