Southport’s Outdoor Dining

For all of Seattle’s love affair with the water, you have to wonder: why are there so few actual waterfront restaurants? I can list them on one-and-a-half hands, in fact. Okay, downtown waterfront is expensive, but only one spot in West Seattle (Salty’s) with a skyline view? And a disappointing record for the Ship Canal (Ivar’s Salmon House is fine, but Hiram’s closed years ago). The situation is even worse for restaurants along the shores of Lake Washington. West side of the lake, north of the Ship Canal, nothing. South? Leschi offers Daniel’s Broiler and Meet the Moon. On the eastside, there’s the Beach House and Le Grand Bistro in Kirkland. I get it, you’re supposed to order takeout and eat on your yacht. Not.

Change of perspective. A Renton bureaucrat named George Coulon, who ran the city’s parks department for several decades in the mid-20th century, had a vision. He found an abandoned and littered tract of railroad property close to the Boeing plant at the south end of Lake Washington, 23 acres in all, and determined to make it into something. A swimming hole, sure, but more than that: a sanctuary for the folks who worked and lived at the south end of the lake. Coulon died in 1978 after a 30-year career with the City of Renton, but his dream of a great park was just getting started. First, funds were found to buy another 32 acres. Then, a bond issue raised nearly $10 million to get the park fully designed and landscaped. The Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park was dedicated in 1982, and what a spot it is.

Inside the park itself, an Ivar’s and a Kidd Valley. Outside, it’s big time: first of all, the Peyrassol cafe, owned by Sachia Tinsley and Scott Cory. (Tinsley’s sister Sabrina and her husband Pietro Borghesi own La Spiga on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.) More recently, Seco Development. has built a $325 million project for Hyatt Regency (350 rooms), 400 new housing units, 700,000 square feet of office space on the adjacent Lake Washington frontage, which is named Southport.

The idea is to lure corporate offices away from Bellevue and Seattle with rental rates that are 50 percent lower and amenities (like a boat dock) you can’t find atop the Columbia Center or the Paccar Tower. Plus, the restaurants. The Hyatt has a “Marketplace” for basic groceries, a bar & grill at water level, and a fine-dining spot, Water’s Table, overlooking the dock. Bellevue’s high-rise office towers are on the horizon, silhouetted in the setting sun.

Ryan Olivas (formerly of the downtown Hyatt Regency) along with chef de cuisine Thomas Sheehan have taken over the kitchen at this spot, now three years old, and have a new menu; it’s a simple, straightforward set of standard appetizers and entrées, all very well-executed.

Crab cakes, $18, could have used a sharper aioli, but the oysters, $36 for six kushis, came with a splendid mignonette. The cedar-planked salmon, $32, (wild, brought in from New Zealand, consistently high quality, reliable year-round supply) was quite flavorful. The steak-frites, $34, was a hefty slab of teres major, a shoulder cut similar in tenderness to a petite tenderloin that’s become a go-to cut for bistro chefs. More-than-decent potatoes. A lovely apple crumble, $9, topped with vanilla gelato, for dessert. A by-the-glass wine list that offers satisfaction, from an unpretentious sparkler to a hefty red. (But why was there no orange peel in the Negroni?)

A side note regarding the salmon because it’s the one surprise on the menu. Not for quality but for provenance. We’ve become so accustomed to “wild Alaska salmon” on local restaurant menuus that we cringe when the source of our fish is anything other than US waters. Granted, Cordova, Alaska, is some 1,300 miles from Seattle, and New Zealand is over 7,000 miles. That said, Ora salmon couldn’t be better, in terms of low-impact and high quality.

It probably doesn’t matter much that Boeing’s 737 factory, the sprawling industrial development that anchors Renton, is ailing. Water’s Table starts serving socially distanced lunch this week, which is all the more reason to meander down the shores of Lake Washington.

The shame of Evian in 1938

It was 82 years ago this week, July of 1938, that delegates from 32 countries met at the French resort town of Evian to consider the most pressing problem of the day: what to do about the growing number of visa applications from Jews seeking to leave Germany. The Nazis wanted to be rid of its half-million Jews (less than one percent of its population); the problem was finding a country that would welcome them.

The United States, which had called for the conference, hoped that other countries would find a long-term solution, but was unwilling to ease the draconian immigration restrictions enacted by Congress in 1924. After the first five years of Nazi rule, 150,000 Jews (my parents among them) had managed to flee the country. Now, half a million more were looking for an escape route; what they needed were not exit visas from Germany but a country willing to take them in.

No other countries stepped forward. Most feared that an increase of refugees would cause economic hardships. Only the tiny Dominican Republic expressed a willingness to accept more refugees.

The conference lasted a week and ended in failure. The German government was able to crow how “astounding” it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when the opportunity arose.

Even worse: a year later, a Senate bill to rescue 20,000 Jewish children failed to pass. Historians blame widespread racial prejudices among Americans–including antisemitic attitudes held by officials of the State Department.

My trip to Lake Geneva two years ago was sponsored by Evian’s PR company in connection with the opening of a new bottling plant.

Rose Ann Finkel, 1947-2020

Rose Ann Finkel, an ebullient, indefatigable patron of good food and drink, and longtime CEO of the Pike Pub & Brewery, died yesterday of bone marrow cancer. Her husband Charles, also a fixture of Seattle’s beverage scene, announced the news in a message to family and friends.

Rose Ann, a native of New Orleans, was 73. She had received a bone marrow transplant eight months ago, but in the end the procedure didn’t save her.

* * *

Hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Charles and Rose Ann Finkel opened their Pike Pub & Brewery. It’s such a fixture at the Market, you’d think it’s been there forever, but there was a time, not that long ago, when fewer than half a dozen national breweries supplied the entire country with “lawnmower beer” and maybe half a dozen artisans and idealists—Sam Adams in Boston comes to mind—were making what they called craft beer. It was a classic struggle between industrial, bottom-fermented lagers and flavorful, top-fermented ales, between standardization and individuality. In the end, as we know, it was the consumers who won. Local artisan beers flourished, and some, like Red Hook, even formed an unholy alliance with the big boys to get national distribution.

In this fomenting vat of yeast and mash stepped the Finkels, who had decades of experience navigating the currents of beverage sales. Back in Oklahoma, Charles had been an early champion of Chateau Ste. Michelle wines and was hired to run the company’s national sales effort. Arriving at the same time was a young marketing whiz, Paul Shipman, who became Ste. Michelle’s brand manager. Later, Charles started a company called Merchant du Vin, which, despite its name, imported nothing but craft beer, while Shipman went on to run Red Hook. Then the Finkels started a tiny craft brewery on Western Avenue, which over the years grew and grew to its current location, a multi-level, gravity flow, steam heated brewery and brew pub.

The Finkels sold everything, “retired,” and embarked on bicycle trips to the food capitals of Europe and Asia, but they ended up buying the place back a decade ago, with Rose Ann as president. They hired a serious brewmaster, Drew Cluley, and quickly restored Pike Brewery to prominence. The family-friendly pub features a dozen or so brews on tap, a vast array of bottles and mixed drinks. Down on the brewery floor, several bourbon barrels stand alongside the stainless steel trappings of a craft brewery that produces 9,000 barrels a year. (At 15.5-gallons a barrel, that’s about 1.5 million 12-ounce glasses or bottles of beer. Sounds like a lot, but Budweiser probably spills more every day.)

Rose Ann was one of Seattle’s most prominent foodies. She and a couple of pals owned Truffles, a specialty food store in Laurelhurst; she was chief operating officer of Merchant du Vin, started Seattle’s Slow Food convivium, and is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. In addition to his passion for craft beer and fine wine, Charles has a remarkable talent as a graphic designer, specializing in marketing materials for breweries. He’s also a writer, photographer and world traveler; his design shop website is a hoot. But his favorite stories still revolve around wine.

On vacation in California decades ago, the Finkels paid a call on the wine writer Leon Adams at his home in Sausalito. “Pay attention to the Yakima Valley,” said Adams. (Shades of “Go north, young man.”) Eventually, as Ste. Michelle’s sales manager, Finkel found himself sorting through resumés. One was from a promising microbiologist who’d just returned from a year in Europe. “My claim to fame,” Finkel says, “is that I called Bob Betz back.”

In 1998, having sold the brewery (hah! we know how that turned out) the Finkels became active in the Slow Food movement and traveled to Italy to participate in Salone del Gusto in Turin and at the University of Bologna, where they judged the Slow Food Awards.  They served artisan, American cheese at ‘Cheese’ in Bra in September 2001 because the cheese makers who were planning to be there were unable to fly. They became the leaders of the Seattle Slow Food convivium.

Rose Ann was an active member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an organization of women leaders in food, beverage, and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy, and philanthropy. She contributed the section on beer to their cookbook, “Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink.”

In October 2015, Rose Ann and Charles were honored with the Angelo Pellegrini Award in recognition of their contributions to the world of food and drink.

“We have had a wonderful experience for almost 52 years,” Charles says of Rose Ann. “She had a lot of friends, a lot of people who loved her. She made a really great impression on everyone she met. I miss her, obviously. But I’m very happy she died in peace surrounded by people who loved her.”

Laureen Nussbaum

Laureen Nussbaum, retired professor of linguistics, in Seattle, May 2019

It is tempting to say that for every Adolf Eichmann there was a Hans Calmeyer, but that sentiment, however worthwhile, obscures the fact that for every decent person such as Calmeyer there were hundreds, if not thousands of Eichmanns. Perhaps they did not all despise the Jews to the point of murdering them; perhaps they did not all consider themselves dutiful citizens who simply followed orders and did the bidding of the Nazis. Perhaps.

Still, this cynicism should not obscure the good deeds that are nonetheless performed, often at great personal risk, by Germans who refuses to follow orders and did not do the bidding of the Nazis.

Shedding Our Stars” tells the story of one such German, whose independent acts of defiance in wartime Holland saved some 3,700 Jews. The unlikely savior is a young lawyer, Hans Calmeyer, who is appointed to his duties by the Reichskommissar, a despicable antisemite named Arthur Seyss-Inquart. As the senior Nazi official in Holland, Seyss-Inquart institutes a reign of terror that would see Dutch civilians subjected to forced labor and the vast majority of Dutch Jews deported and murdered.

No one expects an anonymous bureaucrat like Calmeyer to show any personal initiative, let alone sympathy for Jews, but that is what happened. Calmeyer’s job is to adjudicate “doubtful cases” of identity so that Jews could be stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear a Star of David, be banned from public accommodation, and, in the end, be rounded up and transported to concentration camps in eastern Europe.

Doubtful or dubious cases come up frequently because of the wording of the edicts, which define as a Jew anyone who has at least one Jewish grandparent. Their status can also be “irrefutably” defined by membership in a Jewish religious congregation.

Shedding Our Stars” is told by a woman named Hannelore Klein, born in Frankfurt in 1927, who moves with her parents to Amsterdam a decade later. Her family had known Otto and Edith Frank in Germany, and the Klein family soon meet their daughters, Margot and Anne, as well. After the German Army invades Holland, in 1940, life quickly becomes excruciating for Jews. The Franks go into hiding in 1942; Hannelore herself becomes involved in hiding a teenage boy named Rudi Nussbaum.

Two years after the war ends the young folks marry and move to the United States. Rudi earns a PhD in physics at Portland State University, and Laureen (as Hannelore now calls herself) earns a PhD in linguistics. Rudi teaches at Reed College, Laureen at Portland State.

As for Seyss-Inquart, he is arrested on May 7th, 1945, at the Elbe Bridge in Hamburg by two members of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. One of his captors is Norman Miller (born Norbert Mueller), a German Jew from Nuremberg who had escaped to Britain at the age of 15 on a Kindertransport just before the war and returns to Germany as part of the British occupation forces. (Miller’s entire family is killed at the Jungfernhof Camp in Riga, Latvia, three years earlier). Seyss-Inquart stands trial later that year before the International War Tribunal in Nuremberg, which convicts him of war crimes. He is hanged in Nuremberg Prison on October 16th, 1946.

May the Fourth

Written and posted on Facebook, not here. Please excuse the oversight. Also incorrect: a statement in the FB post that Auschwitz was liberated on May 4th.

Alice Isaac in 1943

May the Fourth, 1925. Alice Elisabeth Isaac is born In Cologne, Germany, 95 years ago today. Her family moves to Amsterdam when she is barely in her teens; Anne Frank is a schoolmate. In 1940 the Germans invade Holland; Amsterdam, once considered a safe haven, becomes an easy target for Nazis hunting Jews. Alice escapes one roundup but is recaptured and “transported” to the prison camp at Bergen Belsen.

Belsen was liberated in April, 1945, just over 75 years ago. Auschwitz, on Germany’s border with Poland, was the worst of the camps, with a million people murdered behind its walls; American forces had liberated it in January.

Remarkably, Alice survives (her onetime Amsterdam neighbors, the Frank sisters, do not) and after the war she makes her way to Portland, Oregon, where her older sister, my mother, had found a refuge with distant cousins of my father. Alice becomes a school teacher in Portland, and later in California, and retires to Arizona, where she passes away at the age of 89.

Sous La Table?

Sur La Table’s flagship store in the Pike Place Market

In 1972, the best-known chef in America was Julia Child (who had displaced Chef Boyardee), and the American public’s appetite for better food was quickly followed by an appetite for better cooking equipment, specifically the Cuisinart.

You could buy one at a store in the Pike Place Market called Sur La Table. (They cost $150 apiece, over $1,000 in today’s money.) The owner, Shirley Collins, told an interviewer that she would sell several at a time to wealthy customers in chauffeured limousines.

Collins ran the store until 1995, when she sold to the Behnke family, longtime supporters of the local arts community, who added new locations as well as cooking classes, and expanded into online catalog sales.

While it remained headquartered in Seattle, Sur La Table was taken over by Investcorp in 2011. Who dat? It’s an offshore holding company, originally based in Bahrain, that describes itself as “a leading provider and manager of alternative investment products.” Price was about $150 million.

Well, for all that, according to Bloomberg News, Sur La Table is about to file for bankruptcy. Is it because the store’s been closed since March? Is it because the store depended on hands-on cooking classes? Or is it because the market for $400 dutch ovens has simply dried up? Investcorp ain’t talking.

Stephen Schwartz, MD, PhD, 1942-2020

Dr. Stephen Schwartz, one of Seattle’s first victims of the COVID-19 virus.

Dr. Stephen Schwartz, a tenured professor of pathology at the University of Washington and a world-famous researcher in the field of vascular biology, passed away this week, a victim of COVID-19. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Schwartz was born in Boston, where he attended Boston Latin and Harvard. He served in the US Navy so he could earn his doctoral degree, then moved to Seattle, where he did his residency in the Department of Pathology. He was named a full professor in 1984, and was also an adjunct professor in the Department of Bioengineering. His professional specialty was vascular biology.

After his retirement he devoted his considerable intellectual energy to a blog, Handbill.US, which became a bulletin board for his many interests: public affairs, liberal politics, international relations, Jewish history, economics, the environment, commentaries on Donald Trump and on China.

Dr. Schwartz was proudly Jewish. A couple of years ago, he described his early upbringing:

I grew up as the son of a family physician in Hyde Park, a lower class, Irish-Italian part of Boston. My mother chose Hyde Park because she felt Jews should not live in ghettoes. Anti-Semitism then was all too real. When my parents bought their house prior to WWII, our next-door neighbor was active in the American Bund. My parents received death threats even after my Dad returned from his Army service in WWII where he played a heroic role in the liberation of Buchenwald. Some patients avoided my Dad’s office because he was the Jewish doctor; others came to him for just that reason! I knew little of this until, one day on the way home from elementary school, I was stoned by neighborhood kids as a “Christ Killer” as a result of lessons taught by the nuns in catechism classes attended by all my classmates. Later, in the fifth grade, I was beaten with a bamboo stick by my Catholic teacher after her male friend, the shop teacher, had a heart attack. I assumed this was because I was the only non-Catholic kid in her class.

Life in Hyde Park was not all bad. While we did not celebrate Christmas, some of my Dad’s patients would gift us kids small presents that we found in stockings hung by the fireplace. I also made friends at school and learned a lot about life as a minority. Father Joe, the parish priest, became a special friend. He even secretly gave me last rites when everyone expected me to die from an abdominal bleed at age 12!

Stephen had friends and acquaintances of all persuasions, all over the globe. His Facebook friends were legion, and often mortal enemies of each other. He and his wife, Barbara, were also avid movie-goers and eager patrons of new restaurants. Most fondly, though, they both enjoyed boating, cruising the waters of Puget Sound along with their dog, an intrepid little Shiba Inu.

May his memory be for a blessing.

Michael Broadbent, MW, 1927-2020

Michael Broadbent, a world-famous wine connoisseur who founded the fine wine department at Christie’s auction house in 1966 and went on to write an unmatched series of books about wine, passed away at his home in London earlier today, according to a Facebook post by his son, the wine merchant Bartholomew Broadbent. He was 92 years old.

In addition to Bartholomew, Mr. Broadbent is survived by a daughter, Lady Emma Arbuthnot (the Senior Magistrate of England & Wales). His wife of many decades, Daphne, died in 2015; and last year he married Valerie Smallwood, the widow of his colleague Simon Smallwood.

Michael Broadbent was an artist with a gift for drawing who had originally trained as an architect. He found his calling, however, as a tireless taster of fine wines, often brushing aside cobwebs in the cellars of English country houses whose owners were seeking valuations of their musty collections of claret. Mr. Broadbent’s uncanny taste memory was acknowledged with his induction at the age of 33 into the exclusive Institute of Masters of Wine, a London-based organization for wine professionals. Alongside his meticulous tasting notes, the prestigious title (there were fewer than 100 MWs at the time) persuaded Christie’s to hire him to create a new fine wine department. Michael Broadbent’s rising fame as an authority on fine wine and his skill as an auctioneer propelled Christie’s to the forefront of auction houses that quickly recognized the value of wine as more than a beverage but as a category of collectible items. It also formed the basis for an unparalleled series of books of his notes, advice, and opinions.

His introduction to wine tasting, a program he developed for Christie’s, involved a sophisticated yet disciplined method of approaching (and ultimately understanding) an unknown wine: color, appearance, aroma, taste. His pocket wine guides were classics.

Mr. Broadbent was recognized by his peers in the wine industry and in publishing. He was, over the span of his career, Decanter’s “Man of the Year,” chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, president of The International Wine and Food Society, and president of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

I first met Michael Broadbent one year at Vinexpo in Bordeaux and later called on him in London, in his office at Christie’s (where he was sipping his usual late-morning glass of Madeira. For several years, he anchored “Christie’s Wine Weekends” in London for my tour company, France In Your Glass, and kicked off tours of Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire, Provence, and Champagne.

Although he was humble and self-deprecating, he treated all wines with respect and insisted on personal decorum. He once sent a seminar participant in shorts back to his room to change clothes.

His early training as an architect resulted in a lifelong fascination with the lines and shapes of old buildings. He was also a more than passable pianist, which he would practice daily at his home in the countryside, often with a glass of Spätlese perched delicately above the keyboard.

Those Russian aristocrats are gorgeous but unreliable

The prestigious website Opera Wire has named Marina Costa-Jackson its Artist of the Week. The role is an major step for Marina, one of the three “singing sisters” who has appeared at McCaw Hall twice in recent years: first, as Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte (opposite one of her real sisters, Ginger, who sang Dorabella); and, last November, in a family reunion that also included her other sister, Miriam, in a program we described here as Sibling Revelry

Marina, in that stunning red gown, has now returned on her own for Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, an opulent production described by Seattle Opera as “a decadent Russian romance.” This is not about the starving peasants who overthrew the tsars, but the aristocratic extravagance that made the 1917 revolution inevitable.

In 2016 a young dramatic soprano won the Zarzuela Division and Second Prize at the annual Operalia Competition, launching her international career and making her one of the most promising singers of her generation. That’s how Marina Costa-Jackson vaulted into the front ranks of opera stars; the aria that launched her career was Lisa’s from The Queen of Spades. Now, four years later, Marina returns to the Russian repertoire for her role debut as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin.

A period piece, obviously, from a time, 200 years ago, when the world was quite different. “Habit takes the place of happiness,” according to the servants. The title character, Onegin, meets Tatyana at her country house. She falls for him and declares her love. He says nope, he’s not the marrying kind. (Footnote: neither was Tchaikovsky, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Subplot: Onegin kills his friend Lensky in a duel.) Years later, Tatyana is married to the aristocratic Prince Gremin when Onegin sees her again and thinks maybe he made a big mistake. This time she’s the one who says nope, too late. Oh what a fool I’ve been, wails Onegin. Nobody mentions the fatal duel. The End.

This production’s been kicking around for a while now, and some of its conceits seem to have passed their pull-dates. No point in having older avatars of the principals standing mute and “looking back” at the action. We know it’s opera, not Saturday morning cartoons. It’s a handsome piece of stagecraft, but Onegin himself is a nothing less than a pompous cad for all that.

Marina, Enza, Ginger
Marina (l) and Ginger Costa-Jackson with Enza Sorrentino in January, 2018.

The best news is that the Costa-Jacksons (who started their artistic careers in Palermo, Sicily) are returning to Seattle for even more lush singing. Ginger (who knocked ’em dead in Carmen last season) will sing Musetta in a new staging of La Bohème in May.

Alas, one of their biggest fans, Enza Sorrentino, the chef at Mondello Ristorante in Magnolia and Sicily’s culinary ambassador to Seattle, passed away last October.

Seattle Opera presents Eugene Onegin at McCaw Hall through January 25th.

Title picture: Marina Costa-Jackson as Tatyana and Michael Adams as Onegin; the Grand Ball. Seattle Opera photos © by Philip Newton.

Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinking

It’s no surprise that my photo files are drowning in Negronis; it’s my go-to cocktail. My go-to sandwich, for what it’s worth, is the Reuben. In bars and delis, at lunch-counters and taverns, I fall for the Reuben like a love-starved sailor swooning at the scent of French perfume. Rye, Kaiser roll, sourdough, doesn’t matter. Corned beef or pastrami, cheddar or Swiss, doesn’t matter. Coleslaw, yes, Thousand Island, yes indeed. Pickles? Sure. I have pictures from New York, Phoenix, Portland, and all over Seattle. What’s the fascination?

Well, first of all, it’s not—you should pardon the expression—another goddamn cheeseburger. It’s brisket, people, a cut of long fibers that require long and slow braising to melt the fat and render the previously salted (“corned”) meat meltingly tender. Slice it rudely and it turns into dog food; you have to let it cool down and only then run it through a commercial slicer (or, if you’re the counterman at Katz’s Deli in Lower Manhattan, you wield your scimitar with expertise). The slices mound up on a bed of finely shredded coleslaw; they’re topped by a slice or two of Swiss or Provolone cheese and finished with that uniquely North American condiment, all pink and gooey, named for the Thousand Island region of the Upper St. Lawrence. Sometimes called Russian dressing, sometimes called “Special Sauce,” depending on the region and the restaurant.

The meat begins as beef brisket, which is a fine piece of breast meat on its own. When it’s brined or “corned,” it becomes a non-denominational part of St. Patrick’s Day feasts, not just deli sandwiches. It can also be brined, seasoned, smoked, and finally steamed, at which point it can be called pastrami.

For years, Seattle’s best (that is, most authentic) Jewish deli was Roxy’s Diner in Fremont, where I used to stop in for breakfast occasionally. I’m not going to pretend that it tasted “just like Zabar’s” because, shoot, I didn’t grow up in Noo Yawk and didn’t eat in a real “East Coast” deli until I got to college. But the latkes were on a plane as elevated (for Seattle) as the rest of the menu at Roxy’s: honest, unpretentions, tasty. I’ve also enjoyed coming here at lunchtime and fighting for a seat at the counter; it’s a real diner, not a fancy restaurant pretending to be a diner, with a giant menu and a varied clientele (as befits its Fremont neighborhood). Thirteen bucks for a pastrami on rye, pickle included, and if that’s not enough, get the “N.Y. Size” for three bucks extra. Remember, though, Roxy’s is a diner, a New Jersey-style, working-class diner at that, not a Lower East Side deli like Katz’s.

Roxy’s owner, Peter Glick, makes regular trips back east; most recently, he discovered a joint called The Meatball Shop, whose owners make a lot of Fourth Grade anatomical references but whose business model (just meatballs) is working just fine. Glick’s online-only “Meatball Revolution” offers meatball buffets to corporate clients around town. Doesn’t fit the bill? How about his Let’s Taco service? Not quite right? Try Pete’s Fremont Firepit, a barbecue delivery option. And to make sure no one slips out to the Whole Foods or Met Market for a quick trip around the salad bar, Glick also runs The Salad Station.

We’ve had a string of Jewish delis in the greater Seattle area. Yes, we’re a continent away from Noo Yawk, but we’re home to the third-largest Sephardic community in North America. From the South End to Mercer Island and beyond, Seattle’s disparate community of eastern European immigrants once supported a handful of old-world delicatessens and bakeries. Among those left standing, even if they’re not technically “Jewish”: Tat’s Deli in Pioneer Square, Market House Meats in South Lake Union, Bavarian Meats in the Pike Place Market. Nowadays every major supermarket has a meat counter where an earnest employee in a hairnet and white jacket will carve off a few slices of ham or turkey, slather a hoagie with mayo, and make believe it’s a deli sandwich. 4

It was never easy, being a deli, especially a Jewish deli. French charcuteries or Italian macellerie generally started as butcher shops and added sausages, cold cuts and vegetable salads as they grew. The early Jewish delis, on the other hand, were products of necessity, providing religiously acceptable meat amidst the profusion of Kosher dietary laws. But it’s hard, outside the urban enclaves of the East Coast, to maintain those traditions today.

Goldbergs’, in Factoria, found its footing as an ecumenical sandwich shop and lasted 14 years until it fell victim to unpalatable rent increases. Stopsky’s operated on Mercer Island from 2011 to 2014 with an admirable three-word slogan: Eat, Enjoy, Return. But it, too, gave up the ghost; not enough “returns.” Jersey Mike? Schlotzky’s? Well-meaning, short-lived. But two newcomers this year. More after this musical interlude:

Do not make a stingy sandwich, Pile the cold cuts high.

Customers should see pastrami a-comin’ through the rye.

That was one of the ditties sung by the late Allan Sherman (“Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh”). At Dingfelder’s on Capitol Hill, they take this dictum to heart, slicing 12 ounces of meat for the pastrami, corned beef, brisket and tongue sandwiches. If you balk at the $19 price tag, consider the $12 “Seattle” option, half the meat. It’s still one heck of a sandwich, garnished with Russian dressing, deli mustard, and coleslaw, and accompanied by variety of pickles. (The coleslaw, alas, is quite ordinary.) More places should offer tongue! It offers a wondrous beefy flavor, and a smooth tender texture that you only find in organ meats.

Dingfelder’s started life as a walk-up, take-out window in a substantial brick building at the corner of 14th and Pike, with occasional glimpses into the space now converted to sit-down dining. But it’s still bare-bones: one communal table, three four-tops, and a space heater. Still, there’s a community-center vibe to the place; off-duty docs from nearby Swedish Hospital linger over lunch, regulars drop by with their dogs. Not “romantic,” though.

Schmaltzy’s, in a new building in Ballard set back from Leary Way by the width of four parking spots, has a built-in following. Owner Jonathan Silverberg has had a successful, three-year run with a food truck called Napkin Friends, and the restaurant, which opened mid-November, ticks off all the boxes: commissary workers in the back, order-taker in man-bun, cheerful cashier, reach-in cooler for seltzers, room for 60 dine-in eaters, line out the door. Early on, they actually ran out of shmear (gulp!).

At breakfast, the bagel with shmear and lox works out to $7.50. At lunchtime, sandwiches ($13 to $16) come with a pickle spear and a side salad (slaw, potato, or cucumber). A pastrami sandwich called the Namesake featured thick slices of very smokey, quite peppery pastrami, and a palate-numbing dressing of deli mustard, pimento cheese, chicken-liver shmear, coleslaw, and Mama Lil’s peppers. “The sloppier the sandwich, the better it’s going to be,” says Silverberg, whose earliest efforts at Napkin Friends revolved around “latke press” sandwiches that substituted latkes for bread. But what’s with those few honey-mustard chips on the tray, dude? They looked leftovers from somebody else’s lunch. And just a suggestion: dial back on the smoke.

Footnote: I’m not going to argue that the ubiquitous Subway chain is anything more than a glorified canteen for repairmen and UPS drivers who left their lunch pails at home; nobody who actually lives near a Subway ever eats there. Ever.