Karen Solomon's 2011 Find: Proper Deli Food in San Francisco

Categories: Food Find
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SFoodie is calling up food types around the city to ask them about their favorite discovery of the past year, whether it's new or ancient, an ingredient or a person. We'll be running their responses through the end of the year.

San Francisco-based food writer Karen Solomon is nationally known for her iconic food-craft guides, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It. When we asked her for her favorite discovery of 2011, she waxed rhapsodic about Wise Sons Deli -- the former popup, current Ferry Plaza farmers' market stand, and future restaurant.

"I love them so much!" Solomon says. "My heart and my stomach belong to them. As a San Francisco food person, we have grown to accept that the Cuban food sucks and the Thai and Jewish food is so-so. They've changed all that. They've made it tolerable to live here. It's not just the best Jewish food in San Francisco, it's the best Jewish deli food I've ever had."

Then she gets specific: "Their chocolate babka is ridiculous," she says. "I wanted to send one to my mom in Florida for Hanukkah, so I called Leo [Beckerman], and he said they couldn't get the type of Guittard chocolate they use for it right now, so they just weren't making the cake. As annoying as that is, I respect so much that they're not willing to compromise. Their pastrami and corned beef is great, their pickles have a nice full flavor. They're not super-creative California crazy pickled figs wrapped in bacon, they're your basic Jewish deli style pickles."

"So the lines suck at the farmers' market," Solomon concedes. "And the other thing that people complain about is that the portions are not legitimate to Jewish deli. But I'm OK with that! I would be eating whatever size reuben you put in front of me, so my cardiologist thanks them for that. Besides, I'd rather have a smaller, perfect reuben than a giant, awful one. The highest honor in my life would be if they named a sandwich after mel Could you put that in the blog post?"

Done.

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