When the first one closed, the neighborhood thought, Everyone has to retire sometime. But that one was followed by another, and another, and pretty soon, in their place was a big-box supermarket or one of those places with kombucha on tap. The wurst has happened: Jewish delis are slowly disappearing from the cultural and culinary scene. Briskets, matzo ball soup, and the Reuben are quavering in the shadows like so many majestic big-plains animals hunted to extinction by South Beach Diets and attenuated health-food gurus. Writer David Sax noticed the trend, and rather than sit idly by while the kugel vanished from behind glass cases faster than you could say, That was my number, he penned a call to arms, Save the Deli. The author has made pilgrimages to delis worldwide, discussed the finer points of deli dining with famous patrons like Mel Brooks, and cut sandwiches at New Yorks Katzs Deli, which is sort of like the high holy house of places that sell delicious pieces of meat. The connoisseur discusses the endangered knish and even touches on the Bay Areas meat scene in his chapter, I Left My Kishkes in San Francisco.
Thu., Jan. 28, 8 p.m., 2010