Corned beef on rye
Living in Northern California certainly has its plusses. Weather is mild all year long and even though San Jose is not one of the great garden spots of America (at least anymore), it is close to a lot of scenic beauty. The one big drawback to living here is the lack of really good deli food. The only real options are Max's Cafe, and Noah's Bagles, which have started offering deli sandwiches along with the usual holed varieties. Max's is decent, but they tend to be a bit lean on the brisket and it has a bit of the feeling of a deli at Disneyland. You keep wanting to look behind the curtain. Noah's is universally staffed by young kids with no idea of how to serve deli food. I think I will plotz the next time I'm asked if I want lettuce and tomato on my corned beef. Noah's always makes me think of the scence in (I believe it's) Annie Hall where Woody Allen considers converting to Catholoicism and brings home a grocery bag of goyische necessities. He pulls out a new testament, a crucifix, a Virgin Mary and finally a loaf of Wonder Bread and large jar of Miracle Whip.
One bright spot in the South Bay area that is worth sharing is Duarte's Tavern (pronounced Doo-Arts). Reservations are recommended if you want to have lunch on the weekends and it is a bit of a drive, but well worth it. Cross the Santa Cruz mountains, either over 17 or 9, or if coming from the North take 92. About halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz you come to Pescadero State Park, a rocky beach full of tide pools and the well known scene of a student film (not so well known, but I and my dear friend George are the culprits responsible for this long forgotten work shot on the beach at Pescadero). Turn up the road towards the village and a mile down you come to a town consisting of literally one street. Duarte's is easy to find, right at the beginning of the road. Try the artichoke soup or the green chile soup, or if you are adventurous ask that they mix them half and half. Everything comes served with hot, crusty Pescadero sourdough bread, which can be purchased to take home at the grocery store & bakery accross the street. Also be sure to visit the bar at Duarte's, over 100 years old and full of history.
So for now, an occasional trip to Duarte's. In October I will be in Los Angeles and can indulge in my favorite West Coast Noshery.