Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hershel's East Side Deli is nearing completion at the RTM, as seen in this photo.

They hope to be in business in time for the weekend of February 10. The menu will be pretty basic. Corned beef, pastrami, brisket, turkey, chopped liver, chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad and whitefish salads in various sandwich and platter permutations, hot dogs (Hebrew National; I wish they would have used a more interesting kosher style dog, like Best Provisions or Sabrett); soups; latkes, kugel, and kasha varnishke (buckwheat groats and bow tie pasta); and knishes. They also will serve breakfast, including challah French toast. Lox will also be available. On the beverage front, egg creams and various Dr. Brown's sodas, including Cel-Ray.

I'm going to have to try lunch at one of the fish vendors. Golden offers oysters and clams on the halfshell, at $5.50 and $3.50 for a half dozen, respectively, served with lemon and sauce (that's cocktail sauce; no mignonette sauce, alas). At least for the oysters that's just about the best price in town, save the happy hour oysters at Sansom Street. Another market purveyor, Coastal Cave has oysters at $6.95 and clams at $3.75 per half dozen.

This seems to be the time of the year when fish is at its most expensive. Prices for halibut ranged as high as $17, and cod fillets were nearly $9. The best deals were in whole fish, mackeral ($1.99-$2.49) and spanish mackeral ($2.99); buck shad could also be had for $2.99 if you like to deal with its intricate bone structure. Golden is still selling whole sardines (herring) at $2.99/pound. The least expensive mild white fillets from wild-caught fish were for scrod at $6.99 at John Yi's.

Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and one traditional food serve to is guacamole. Today at Iovine Brothers Hass avocadoes were selling at the very low price of two for a buck; however, they were drop dead ripe and need to be prepared and eaten today or tomorrow at the latest. If they are still offering avocados at this price Friday or Saturday, and they haven't gone over the hill into battery acid territory, buy them.

Signs of that California freeze are clear in the citrus section: three smallish navel oranges for $1, lemons also three for a buck. Clementines, no matter what their source, are up to $7.99/box. Best buy in citrus are Florida tangelos and temples; the latter were posted at 25-cents apiece today. The one-pound clamshell packed Florida strawberries, $1.99, smelled good. Green seedless grapes from Chile, 99-cents; black seedless $3.49. Red and green bagged peppers, $1. The South American peach crop is in; I've never found them to my liking for in-hand eating, but I suppose they'd be fine cooked or baked in some fashion.

Spotted a new item in Iovine's refrigerator case near the Filbert Street checkout aisle: pre-cooked, prepared French chestnuts, $4.99 for two 200-gram (two seven-ounce) vacuum packs, suitable for quick reheating in water or microwave.

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