Pico KOSHER Crawl Recap
On Sunday, I co-hosted a Kosher crawl along Pico with Food Marathon. We met recently and exchanged ideas about the kinds of crawls and marathons we wanted to do in the future. When he mentioned he wanted to do a Kosher crawl, I told him I’ve always wanted to do a Jewish deli crawl. After weeks of planning, we formulated our route and invited others to attend.
In general, I usually have at least 3 stops but sometimes up to 5 or 6 on a crawl. For this crawl-marathon, we were going to a record 10 stops. And we actually made it to all of them.Yes, I can’t believe we made it to all 10 myself.
We started out early Sunday at Delice Bakery. Then we headed over to Schwartz Bakery, Shalom Pizza and a few others joined us at Pico Kosher Deli. By the time we hit Got Kosher, some brouhaha was occuring near Pico and Robertson. Another friend joined us at Jeff’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage and then we were off to Charlie Kosher Deli. I had to take a break at Beverlywood Bakery. I ate my cookie the next day. We were going to hit Labels Deli but decided to check out Schnitzly Schnitzel Bar instead. And finally, we arrived at Nagila, our last stop, determined to finish the crawl.
I’m going to talk about the food not in the crawl order but by “category.” So Jewish bakeries are up first.
Delice is decked out with Eiffle Tower knick knacks, paintings and what seemed like 5 or 6 bakery cases filled with parve and non-parve desserts. What’s parve? It’s basically food without any meat or dairy. Okay, so those desserts have no butter? Let’s look at the non-parve section then.
Because it was so early in the morning, I wanted something savory to balance out the delicious-looking fig tart and little date roll. We got the spinach and cheese erm, what’s the Jewish term for hot pocket?
This bakery is busy and filled with a lot of people ordering brunch items. And it probably doesn’t hurt the cash register guy is a flirt.
At Schwartz Bakery, I was going to get another one of those date rolls but they only sold them by the pound. The smallest amount we could get was a quarter pound. The counter woman recommended this chocolate roll that was studded with chocolate chips and topped with more chocolate. It was as you could imagine, very sweet. On the other side of Schwartz is Circa: NY, a deli but they also served Kosher sushi. We stayed clear of the stuff.
Beverlywood Bakery has been around since 1946. They are not really a Jewish bakery but they sell some Jewish items including hamantaschen. I got a crispy cookie topped with chocolate and hazelnuts. There was some honey in there which Food Marathon tells me is very Jewish.
Next up, Kosher pizza!
At Shalom Pizza, we ordered just a slice of cheese pizza. The menu had all the usual toppings. I was disappointed. I thought there’d be lox or something. Someone once told me Jews ate vegetarian a lot of times to avoid breaking any laws. Oddly, the menu did have some Mexican items.
This pizza was crisp but the cheese was not great.
Nagila has two outlets right next to each other. One is the “meating place” and the other is a pizza joint. We opted for pizza which I was glad as this cheese slice was much, much better. I liked the crust and the cheese was pretty decent.
On to the Jewish delis!
At Pico Kosher Deli, Food Marathon and I were joined by two others. One was of the chosen people and she immediately ordered chicken liver. I had to steel myself to eat this. I will try most things at least once if not several times but nothing about this looks appealing to me. As it turned out, it was fine.
On the PKD menu, I spotted sweet and sour cabbage soup. I thought that was odd as I’ve never seen that but Food Marathon tells me it’s a very typical poor Jewish food. Something you could keep low on simmer and eat throughout the Sabbath. Both the sweet and sour cabbage and mushroom barley soup were great.
The corned beef was fine. I was a little disappointed in the pickles until I saw a guy carrying around a huge jar of Vlasic pickles. The horror!
So it wasn’t Charlie working the counter at Charlie’s Kosher Deli but this pleasant young man gave us brisket samples.
The brisket was good.
I don’t know what they did to the poor barley but it’s pulverized in this mushroom barley soup. Watery and not worth eating.
Throughout the crawl, Food Marathon would ask if I wanted a knish. Or how I heard it, “kuh-nish.” We finally got one at Charlie’s and I thought it was fine but others of the tribe seemed less favorable.
We chose to skip one of the Jewish delis to try out Schnitzly, a you guessed it- a schnitzel joint. You order at the counter and await your scnitzel as chili, falafel, salads, pastrami sandwich (okay, I’m just making that up but you can get a pastrami sandwich if you don’t want schnitzel). They also have schnitzel in flavors like garlic, sesame, dijon, Indian and “seasoned” (whatever that is).
We decided to get the Schnitzily nuggets which turned out to be breaded with cornflakes as well as bread crumbs. I couldn’t taste much chicken but it was very crispy.
At Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage, excuse me, Jeff’s Gourmet Glatt Kosher Sausage, we ordered three sausages including the Boerewors; a South African inspired sausage, chorizo and bratwurst (made with veal). Oh yes, in case you didn’t know, Jews who keep Kosher don’t eat the filthy pig.
I didn’t mind these sausages at all. The buns were nice. But given the location and the clientele (mostly kids), I prefer Wurstkuche with their adult bevvies.
But after having Got Kosher?, I thought their sausage was far superior to Jeff’s. And the ladies who run the joint are so nice. The cook is from Tunisia and the manager is from Morocco. She advised us to get the Moroccan over the Tunisian dishes as there’d be more spices.
The Moroccan merguez sausage was fantastic. I thought it was super fresh and wish I could have eaten more.
Got Kosher? also does Sunday BBQ and their brisket was pretty damn good for not being a Southern place. I enjoyed the fresh salad as well.
Of all the places we went on the crawl, my pick is for Got Kosher?
I’d like to thank my co-host, Food Marathon for throwing in the Yiddish lore. It was nice to get his point of view.
Check out my post about 1950s Chinese restaurants, some throw-backs we encountered during our mile or so crawl-marathon. There’s a hint to the next Pico crawl!