Sherman’s Deli & Bakery – Palm Springs, California

Sherman’s Delicatessen and Bakery, a Palm Springs Mainstay

Not everyone appreciated my friend Bob’s stark honesty as much as I did.  For nearly twelve years, Bob was my most trusted source for information on the Santa Fe dining scene.  He was also a huge advocate for my writing, even when his reaction to one of my particularly “long way around” missives was “what?.”  From a style perspective, he was a “get to the point” guy while your humble blogger sometimes (okay, okay, always) takes a circuitous, raconteur’s route to get somewhere.   Bob often chided me for not liking cumin on New Mexican food, once telling me “when you fault a place for cumin it immediately moves up on my list of places to try.”  Perhaps because of the scarcity of just-off-the-boat seafood in our landlocked state, he frequented Pappadeaux which I told him for my tastes should be renamed “pappa don’t.”  For years I tried getting Bob to submit comments to the blog (“to elevate the dialogue” I pleaded), but he preferred our one-on-one conversations.

Our differences of opinion extended far beyond restaurants.  A former executive at Universal Studios, Bob couldn’t understand my high regard for the irreverent comedy Blazing Saddles.  His tastes were far more artistic and less sophomoric.  We didn’t always agree on which candidates for political office were the lesser evils, but concurred that the lesser of two evils is still evil.  One thing upon which we always agreed was the dearth of real New York style delis in the Land of Enchantment.  It’s a subject about which we commiserated frequently.  Having lived in both Los Angeles and New York, Bob missed the piled high pastrami and behemoth brisket sandwiches offered by delis at both conurbations.   When we last broke bread together (he finally talked me into joining him at Pappadeaux), he confided his desire to escape Santa Fe’s winters and move to Palm Springs which he told me had a number of authentic delis, the type of which he loved and knew I would, too.  

The Perpetually Busy Main Dining Room

My friend Bob made it to Palm Springs six months before I did.  He passed away in June, 2017.  When we stepped into Sherman’s Deli & Bakery, I told my Kim “Bob is here and he’s happy that we’re here, too.”  I missed my friend and wished we were enjoying the pastrami together…although it’s a given we would have disagreed on something, perhaps whether or not caraway seeds have a place on rye bread (I’ll take the pro to his con).  Despite our differences of opinion, Bob and I were both, in his words, “your mileage may vary” guys.  We liked and respected one another so much that our differences just made for more interesting conversation.  

It’s unlikely we’d get much conversation in at Sherman’s. For one thing, it’s a very loud, very crowded restaurant. Both the interior dining room and outdoor, dog-friendly patio are rather on the noisy side. Besides, who wants to talk much when you’ve got a mountainous meal in front of you?  Were I able to get a word in, I would probably have mentioned that a framed photograph of him should have been hanging on the walls beside the numerous glitterati (Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Barry Manilow, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rita Hayworth, Red Skelton, Marilyn Monroe and countless other celebrities) who have frequented Sherman’s. His retort would probably have been to remind me that his role wasn’t “star,” but “star-maker.”

Homemade Sweet & Sour Cabbage With Beef

Sherman’s is an old-fashioned kosher-style Jewish deli to which savvy patrons pilgrimage from all over the world.  Sherman Harris launched his eponymous restaurant in 1963 when Palm Springs was the playground for Hollywood icons.  Harris himself became a Palm Springs institution for his restaurant and philanthropic endeavors, earning a star on Palm Springs’ Walk of Stars on Palm Canyon Drive.  Today, Sherman’s is owned and operated by his children Sam Harris and Janet Harris who have carried on the famous Sherman’s legacy of great food and great customer service.  While Bob, an old friend, was the first to tell me about Sherman’s several years ago, confirmation on its greatness came from Loren Silver, big brother to my friend Sr. Plata.  Loren raved about the freshly baked breads and breakfasts.

When Food Network celebrity Guy Fieri roared into Palm Desert in his signature red hot Camaro for a taping of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (the episode first aired on May 12, 2017), one of his three area destinations was Sherman’s Deli & Bakery, albeit not the original, but a satellite just a few miles from the flagship.  In an episode entitled “Turkey, Taters and Dogs,” “Triple D” showcased Sherman’s turkey pastrami and latkes (more on these treasures below).  Fieri raved about Sherman’s delicious rye bread, up to 100 loaves a day baked  in-house.  He also helped prepare the turkey pastrami, a two day process (24 hours of brining followed by 24 hours wrapped up in spices, followed by it’s final destination: the smoker).

Corned Beef, Pastrami, and Turkey with Cole Slaw and 1000 Island Dressing

Having been privileged to serve as a judge for the Roadrunner Food Bank’s Souperbowl (the next event will be held on Saturday, January 27th, 2018  from 11 am to 2 pm.) on eight occasions, I’ve enjoyed some of the very best soups prepared and served by many of the Duke City area’s very best restaurateurs.  One soup never served to our esteemed panel has been sweet and sour cabbage with beef, a Jewish staple for generations.  It’s long been one of my favorite soups though I didn’t have a bubbie to prepare it for me.  Sherman’s sublime version is served hot and in plentiful portions.  Shards of beef, tender white cabbage, pearlescent onions and endless delicious define this elixir about which Sherman’s says “this outstanding soup is one that has made our reputation what it is today.”

Another soup not yet featured at the Souperbowl is an old-fashioned matzo ball soup, often considered the quintessential Jewish comfort food.  Made with chicken stock and matzo balls, a type of dumpling made by mixing chicken fat, matzo meal, water, and spices to taste, it’s a popular choice for Passover, but some of us like it all year-long.  Sherman’s matzo ball soup is served in a swimming pool-sized bowl and arrives at your table steaming hot.  It’s a soup so good you’d order it on one of Palm Springs’ many sweltering summer days.

Corned Beef, Pastrami & Swiss on Light Rye

You might think there’s a shortage of beef across the Land of Enchantment considering the parsimonious portions of meats with which New Mexico’s restaurants adorn their sandwiches.  Clara Beller’s “where’s the beef” lament should be the battle cry of diners who have got to feel cheated by meats folded over so as to give the appearance of more meat.  A typical sandwich at Sherman’s has several times more meat than most sandwiches in Albuquerque.  The #17 (corned beef, pastrami and turkey with cole slaw and Thousand Island dressing on buttery, grilled light rye), for example, is a skyscraper-sized behemoth with perhaps as much as three-quarters of a pound of each of the three meats.  It’s really three sandwiches in one.  Understandably, my favorite was the pastrami which is sliced thin and brined beautifully with caramelized edges. 

My Kim’s choice, another wonderful sandwich was constructed with pastrami and corned beef with cole slaw on grilled rye bread.  Sans turkey, this sandwich better showcased the sweet tanginess of the cole slaw, a moist, creamy version.  It also gave us the opportunity to better appreciate the light rye with the caraway seeds my friend Becky Mercuri appreciates on New York rye.  Sherman’s rye comes unadorned, but you have your choice of mustard–either Beaver brand deli mustard or honey mustard.  Both are terrific.  Because Sherman’s sandwiches are so large, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to open your mouth wide enough to enjoy them as you would other sandwiches.  These are best enjoyed with knife and fork or deconstructed.  That pastrami is heavenly…where my friend Bob is now enjoying his.

Latka with Sour Cream and Applesauce

If the term “latka” conjures images of the television sitcom character Latka Gravas, you need to visit an authentic Jewish kosher-style deli…and soon!  Latka (more commonly spelled “latke”), traditional Jewish potato pancakes often served during Hanukkah, are a specialty of Sherman’s (which graciously shows how they’re made on this video).  Sherman’s latkas are the very best we’ve ever had!  Served with apple sauce and sour cream, the latkas are absolutely addictive, so good you won’t want to share them.  They’re crispy (almost caramelized) on the outside and fluffy and light on the inside.  Sherman’s thinks so highly of their latka that they offer a specialty sandwich in which a generous serving of Corned Beef or Pastrami is made into a sandwich with two homemade potato latkes in place of bread.  We had our latka on the side, but could easily see the appeal of latkes in place of bread.

My Kim jokes that my favorite part of “adultery” (her wordplay for adulthood) is not having to wait until after a meal to have dessert.  Indeed, it’s not uncommon for me to have dessert before enjoying any savory fare.  The temptation to do so was certainly rife at Sherman’s which has one of the most alluring dessert cases we’ve ever seen with slabs of beauteously frosted cakes, pulchritudinous pies, craveable cookies and sumptuous specialty items such as bobka, cannoli, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and Boston Cream pie (which I blame for my “freshman fifteen” after having lived in the Boston area for two years right out of high school).  Sherman’s rendition is as good as many decadent cake slices I enjoyed in Boston.  Layered with custard and topped with chocolate ganache, the Boston cream pie is as moist and tender as any in the Bay State.

Boston Cream Pie

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery is an old-fashioned kosher-style deli, the type of which my friend Bob and I would wander in the desert for forty years to visit.  It’s an outstanding deli and bakery.

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery
401 East Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, California
(760) 325-1199
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 27 December 2017
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $$ – $$$
BEST BET: Corned Beef, Pastrami, and Turkey Sandwich; Corned Beef, Pastrami & Swiss on Light Rye; Latka; Homemade Sweet & Sour Cabbage With Beef; Boston Cream Pie

Sherman's Deli & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nosh Jewish Delicatessen & Bakery – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

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Nosh Jewish Delicatessen & Bakery

You see, Elaine, the key to eating a black and white cookie
is that you wanna get some black and some white in each bite.
Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate.
And yet still somehow racial harmony eludes us.
If people would only look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved.
~Jerry Seinfeld

While creative personnel and television promos touted Seinfeld as the “show about nothing,” the truth is every episode of the half-hour comedy offered a number of complex plots, sub-plots and plot twists. So much of the hilarity centered around food moments that readers of Chow declared Seinfeld the “show about food.” It makes sense. In its nine year run, Seinfeld introduced or reintroduced into American pop culture and vernacular such foods and food terms as pastrami, the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats; the really big salad; make and bake our own pizza; vegetable lasagna; Papaya King hot dogs; the soup Nazi and many, many more. 

While Albuquerque has become increasingly cosmopolitan, it wasn’t until the August, 2013 launch of Nosh Jewish Delicatessen & Bakery that Duke City diners could discover for themselves some of the iconic foods mentioned on the “show about food.” Located on the southeast corner of Amherst and Silver in the Nob Hill district, Nosh fills one of the food voids most commonly lamented by readers of this blog. It is an authentic Jewish deli and bakery with some contemporary variations on tradition. Those slight variations don’t include red or green chile; not a smidgeon is to be found. A Duke City restaurant not serving chile is as rare as, well…a Jewish deli has been.

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The Amherst (Pastrami with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and coleslaw on rye) with a side of fruit and a pickle spear

Step ten feet into the cozy, 1,000 square-foot eatery and you’ll run into the counter where you place your order from menus hanging on the wall. From that counter, you’re witness to the heart and soul of the operation—the open kitchen and bakery where deliciousness is prepared. Your eyes will quickly train on baked goods sealed in clear wrapping and you’ll make a mental note to buy a loaf or three on your way out. You’ll take in the pastry case where luscious desserts will tempt and test your willpower. You’ll marvel that so much can get done in such a relatively small space.

The diminutive dining room means seating is in personal space proximity. Weather permitting, al fresco dining on sidewalk tables is also an option. Nosh also seems to do a robust take-out business. Breakfast (until 11AM) and lunch (after 11AM) menus include a couple of cross-over items (potato latkes and matzo ball soup) which are served on both sides of 11AM, but if you’re looking for Challah bread French toast for lunch or a pastrami sandwich for breakfast, you’re out of luck.  

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Pastrami on double-baked rye with deli mustard, onion rings and a pickle spear

Whether you visit for breakfast or for lunch, your visit to a Jewish deli wouldn’t be complete without Dr. Brown’s soda (ginger ale, black cherry, cream soda, root beer), alas in a can.  Better still, have a chocolate egg cream, which despite its name contains no eggs.  An egg cream is a blend of seltzer water, chocolate syrup and milk.  It’s a foamy beverage which isn’t overly sweet.

19 October 2013: Our inaugural visit was after 11AM which meant pastrami, which Jerry Seinfeld’s friend George Costanza declared “the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats.” Pastrami has been a passion for me from the moment I discovered it in the Boston area half a lifetime ago. It’s not something most of us would consider incorporating into our bedtime rituals as George Costanza did, but for those of us hooked on pastrami, there is no better deli offering. As do the great delis in Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Nosh makes its own pastrami. It’s a pain-staking process obviously undertaken with love.

Pastrami Sandwich with Latke

19 October 2013: Nosh’s pastrami sandwich is hand sliced and served on double-baked rye with a side of grainy deli mustard. Compared to most Duke City sandwich makers which scrimp on meats, Nosh’s sandwiches are ungashtupt (Yiddish for overstuffed). The pastrami is lean and peppery with that distinctive deliciousness imbued only on pastrami. Nestled on a double-baked rye with personality and a smear of Ba-Tampte (Yiddish for tasty) deli mustard, it’s a sandwich which just might inspire carnal yearning. 

7 April 2015:

Club Sandwich with onion rings

Club Sandwich with onion rings

19 October 2013: As with New Mexican chile, pastrami needs no amelioration as it is incomparably fabulous on its own, but if you want to let your hair down, you’ll want to try Nosh’s Amherst, pastrami (or corned beef) with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and coleslaw on rye. What makes this sandwich sumptuously successful is that the pastrami is still clearly the star. It’s not overwhelmed by the sweet coleslaw or the boldness of the Russian dressing. All sandwiches are served with a pickle spear and your choice of potato salad, coleslaw, onion rings, house or sweet potato fries, or fruit.  The onion rings are strictly an out-of-the-bag variety. 

16 December 2013:  Nosh’s nearest approximation to a skyscraper sized sandwich is the Club Sandwich, a behemoth made on a canvas of lightly toasted Challah bread.  Nestled between two slightly sweet slices of the egg-rich bread are a tangle of roasted turkey, pastrami, avocado, red onions, tomato, lettuce, Cheddar (or Swiss) and horseradish.  It’s a terrific sandwich though this fire-eater would have appreciated even more horse radish.  The vegetables–especially the avocado and tomato–are so fresh that this would have been a great sandwich even without the meats.  The meats made it just that much better.

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Matzo ball Soup: Chicken noodle soup with a traditional matzo ball

19 October 2013: In a classic Seinfeld episode, George Costanza tells a woman he loves her but is unsure whether or not she heard him.  Ever the nurturing friend, Seinfeld’s “consolation’ to George was “that’s one giant matzo ball hanging out there.”  Later George ordered matzo ball soup.  At Nosh you can order matzo ball soup for breakfast or lunch.  It’s good anytime.  If you aren’t familiar with or haven’t tried them, matzo balls are a dumpling of sorts.  They’re considered a Jewish comfort food favorite.  The soup is made from chicken stock, short noodles and vegetables.   Save for being just a bit under-salted (my preference), it’s a very good, very healthful chicken noodle soup. 

16 December 2013: One of the favorite dishes of my friend Sr. Plata (a proud half Sephardi Jew, who grew up in Los Angeles a mere four blocks from Nosh founding owner Alisa Young) is noodle kugel, a dish which might surprise the unacculturated.  After the first time they have it, they might well become addicted.  Sometimes made as a savory entree and more often as a dessert, it’s certainly a versatile dish.  The Nosh version is made as a dessert.  It’s a dish of baked noodles and cream cheese layered in a pan and topped with confectioner’s sugar.  The unmistakable flavor of orange is prominent in Nosh’s kugel, atop of which is a dollop of butter and which is accompanied by syrup, neither of which are needed.  Sr. Plata thoroughly enjoyed Nosh’s rendition.  The question is would he have enjoyed Frank Costanza’s version?

Noodle Kugel

Noodle Kugel

19 October 2013: “You can’t beat the babka.”  That was Jerry Seinfeld’s assessment of the chocolate babka at a New York City deli, but which might also apply to the chocolate babka at Nosh.  Sometimes considered bread and sometimes considered a cake, chocolate babka has qualities of both.  At Nosh it’s sliced like a bread, but its chocolate-cinnamon amalgam says cake.  The babka is moist and dense with a flavor profile unlike any other cake you can have.  You really can’t beat the babka. 

19 October 2013: The black and white cookie, dubbed by Jerry Seinfeld as “two races of flavor living side by side,” is a soft, shortbread type cookie iced on one half with vanilla fondant and on the other half by chocolate fondant.  While President Obama may dubbed it “the unity cookie,” just try sneaking a bite from a loved one’s cookie.  You’ll be risking life and limb. To preserve peace at your table, order two (or six). 

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Chocolate Babka and a Black & White Cookie

16 December 2013: Rugelach, a Yiddish word meaning “little corners” may not have made it onto an episode of Seinfeld, but it’s available at Nosh where you can purchase them in quantities of one to a dozen.  For that Albuquerque’s pastry paramours should be very grateful.  Rugelach is a a rolled triangle of dough around a fruit filling.  The filling–Nosh uses apricot–is almost caramelized, but it’s not overly sweet.  It’s a wonderful pastry.

19 October 2013: It wouldn’t be a true Jewish deli if bagels weren’t on the menu.  Nosh imports its bagel dough from a kosher bakery in New York.  Whether you have them with butter or with cream cheese, you’ll enjoy the dense, chewy texture and flavor.  The bakery showcases a number of breads, albeit not a marble rye such as the one Jerry Seinfeld swiped from an old woman.  The Challah bread is artistic in its braided beauty and absolutely delicious on its own, with a sandwich or on toast.

A half dozen Ruggelach

A half dozen Rugelach

Those of us who didn’t grow up with a Jewish bubbe (Yiddish for grandmother) may have missed out on Jewish cooking, but frequent visits to the Nosh Jewish Delicatessen & Bakery will make sure we make up for it. Now, there will be naysayers who declare Nosh falls short of their favorite New York or Los Angeles delis they’ve frequented for decades. Instead, we should all celebrate that Nosh has the chutzpah (Yiddish for boldness coupled with supreme self-confidence) to open a Jewish Deli in Albuquerque where transplants will ultimately make those comparisons.

Nosh Jewish Delicatessen & Bakery
116 Amherst, S.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 16 April 2015
1st VISIT: 19 October 2013
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 20
COST: $$
BEST BET: The Amherst, Pastrami Sandwich, Matza Ball Soup, Chocolate Babka, Black & White Cookie, Bagel, Challah Bread, Club Sandwich, Noodle Kugel, Rugelach, Chocolate Egg Cream

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