Seth Meyers may have just been named as the next host of “Late Night” on NBC but we have our eyes on someone a little different. Meet David Manheim, foul-mouthed waiter at iconic Katz’s Deli by day, aspiring TV host by night. Not waiting for kismet to work its magic, Manheim, chronicles his life at the soon-to-be 125 year old deli on his blog “The Last Jewish Waiter.” Only blogging since April 20th, Manheim’s voice is a breath of fresh air in its unapologetic hatred of his job, his mistreatment (or some might say, New York treatment) of his customers and his comedic take on Jews and gentiles alike.
With an analysis of every type of customer, Manheim’s most interesting takes are those on the different types of Jews he serves. There are the easygoing, rich Jews who relocated to the South now making a pilgrimage back to the New York deli of their roots who delight in his mistreatment of them. And the Jews visiting from out of town impressing their family with their knowledge of all thing Katz. “I have to say, these guys crack me up,” writes Manheim, “they have determined that a square knish from Katz’s will finally open the dormant Jewish gene in their half-Jew daughter. I feel like they think one bite and the girl will be reciting a Haftarah portion.”
No doubt Manheim, who says he is 38, is among scores of Jewish waiters who hate their customers and have more than a few colorful words for them, the only difference is that he’s the only one with enough chutzpah to say it to your face. The controlled DMV-like chaos at Katz is unacceptable at a restaurant, writes Manheim, but he revels in it, “I love it! I throw silverware at the customers, refuse to serve certain items, and am generally nasty. With a certain understood kindness at the bottom.” Charm us, he does.
Check out his first video below:
If you’re going to take advice from someone on how to make a proper latke, that person should be Melissa Clark. [New York Times]
Everything you ever wanted to know about hosting a latke party. [Serious Eats]
Latkes goes modernist. [Saveur]
Try them with….brown butter and cinnamon applesauce. [Serious Eats]
Looking to celebrate the holiday of oil without covering your kitchen in it? Here’s a great list of events. [Serious Eats]
The fight over the H&H Bagel name continues to get shmeared. [Grub Street]
School lunches are getting a healthy makeover thanks to Michelle Obama’s initiatives. But not so much for students who keep kosher in LA. [Jewish Journal]
Katz’s Deli might just be the “manliest” sandwich shop in America, atleast according to Men’s Health Guy Gourmet blog. [Village Voice]
Food and Wine spends some time with (and gets some recommendations from) our favorite Israeli spice master Lior Lev Sercarz. [Food and Wine]
The barbeque brisket pop-up BrisketTown is starting to take orders…. hmmm, we’ll see you in line. [Eater]
In last week’s food section, we gave you 10 amazing Jewish sandwiches from across the country, which in true “top list” fashion sparked some debate over which sandwiches were really the best and which were missing from the list. Luckily, a tidy little poll let readers kvetch constructively by voting for their favorite (with a write-in option). With over 600 votes, favorites were all across the board — and world.
In this two-part series Eitan Kensky takes a sharp look at food travel shows and the evolution of Adam Richman’s popular show “Man vs. Food.” Read Part 1 here.
One of the most striking elements of “Man vs. Food” was the way it flattened all ethnicities into generic American challenges. The idea of de-emphasizing difference made it rare, if not unique among food shows. Both of Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern’s shows were built around the idea of eating local and indigenous cuisines that most American’s find disgusting, such as unborn chicken eggs, squirrel and calf (testicles) — especially when the exotic locations Zimmern traveled to were in America, like the Gulf Coast, or the immigrant neighborhoods of New York and Los Angeles. “Man vs. Food,” however, didn’t exoticize ethnic foods or treat them as an other to be discovered; rather ethnic restaurants were just another way to experience over-sized, over-seasoned, or over-spiced American portions.
This approach was especially prominent during the first season when Richman visited Katz’s Deli in New York. The show went out of its way to not make reference to Katz’s Jewish origins. None of the patrons interviewed appeared to be Jewish and Richman treated Katz’s only as a general New York institution that serves very meaty sandwiches. There were, it’s true, a few codes for Jewishness in the presentation. Richman’s mother came to share the food with him, and he referred to her as the person who first introduced him to Deli, but he left out why she introduced him to it in the first place. His mother worried that his upcoming challenge would be “unhealthy,” making shtick out of the stereotype of the over-protective Jewish mother, but it backfires. Given the toxic spiciness of the food Richman is going to ingest later that night, the Brick Lane Curry House’s spicy p’haal, allegedly the world’s hottest curry, she isn’t so much the over-protective Jewish mother as the voice of reason. Nonetheless, it was striking that a 21st century food show didn’t mention that Deli is a Jewish food par excellence, and Richman’s mother presumably took him to delis as part of his heritage.
Food Curated visits the 100-year old iconic ACME smoked fish plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to see how smoked fish is really made. Um, can someone get us a bagel and schmear please?
As things gear up for October 17th’s World Food Day (an effort to fight world hunger), plans are underway for It’s Time to Eat Real, America!, “A nationwide campaign to change the way Americans eat and think about food,” its site says.
Serious Eats’ Cook The Book column shares a recipe for “The Israeli Workingman’s Sandwich,” courtesy of “The Big New York Sandwich Book.”
This month’s issue of Saveur focuses on all variates sandwiches and of course takes a look at the great Katz’s deli. They share Katz’s recipe for chopped liver and a great video on the 2nd Avenue Deli’s pastrami.
Can you handle more pastrami? If so, check out Jamie Geller’s recipe for pastrami kugel on kosher.com.
In Rome, writer and sommelier Katie Parla, finds culinary traces of the former Jewish community of Libya, on The Atlantic.
Moment Magazine traces the history of the latke and its competition, the sufganiya.
Spicing up traditional Hannukah fare: Mexican food takes on the miracle of the oil with spicy zucchini latkes and brisket tacos.
Joy of Kosher talks with a rock-star winemaker in California that has just gone kosher.
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