You can stay home and enjoy L.A. deli delights

The food section of the S.F. Chronicle was recently devoted to dining in Los Angeles and how it compares to the restaurant scene in San Francisco. This entertaining and informative article included a sidebar listing the two food meccas’ differences: In L.A. you find expansive outdoor seating, expensive desserts, cheap valet parking and great pizza. For me there was a glaring omission in this list; L.A. has a multitude of terrific kosher and kosher-style delis. (I retrieved more than 13 from and a mere four from

Not that I don’t love eating in L.A. hot spots such as Spago, Patina, Jar and Lucques. But it’s Nate and Al’s, Factor’s and Broadway Deli I usually dream about on my way south. Nothing makes my mouth water more than thinking of the luscious flavors of mile-high sandwiches stuffed with smoked meats accompanied by spicy, salty pickles, coleslaw and creamy potato salad. Just around the time I get to dessert, I wake up to find myself there.

So tell me, dear readers, if you have a clue, why we here in the multicultural, foodie-sophisticated Bay Area are so deprived of these wonderful, Jewish soul-food establishments? What does it take for one of these shrines of nostalgia and pastrami-on-rye to succeed here? While we wait, here are ways to have a taste of a deli in your own home.

Lox and Eggs and Onions

Serves 4

1 large onion, chopped

3 Tbs. canola oil

1Tbs. butter

1/4 pound lox

8 eggs

3 oz. cream cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper

2 green onions, chopped

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat, then sauté the onions until lightly colored.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and cream cheese with a fork until combined, and then add to the pan. When the eggs have set on the bottom, scramble in the lox and flip over. Cook and scramble until just set. (Can be more well done or less well done according to taste).

Serve with bagels.

Stuffed Cabbage (Holupchas)

Serves 8

For the balls:

2 medium green cabbages

1 onion, chopped

2 eggs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 cup long grain rice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground

black pepper

For the broth:

1 onion, chopped

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill (optional)

6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 cup dark brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

With a small sharp knife carefully remove the bottom cores of the cabbages to detach the leaves.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the cabbages and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the leaves have softened. Remove from the water with two large spoons and place cabbage in a colander. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove enough outer leaves to make the cabbage rolls. If the inner leaves are still too brittle, drop them in the simmering water for a few minutes. Then drain and separate. Place the leaves on a towel-covered work surface.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, beef, onion, rice, salt and pepper.

Place a heaping tablespoon (or two) of beef mixture (depending on the size of the cabbage leaf) on the leaf, fold in the sides, then the bottom, then the top of the leaf and spear closed with toothpicks.

In a large pot bring the tomatoes, onions, sugar and lemon juice to a boil. Add the dill and cabbage rolls and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer the cabbage for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Adjust sweet and sour balance with more lemon and sugar as needed. Add salt to taste.

Serve with egg noodles or steamed potatoes.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].