Second Helpings

Deli Lama: The Valley has been enjoying a spectacular restaurant boom for several years. These days, you can get almost any type of cuisine; some of it good enough to compete with the fare in America's gastronomic capitals.

But, as I've noted more than once, we don't have any decent New York-style delis. The corned beef and pastrami in this town are, at best, second-rate. Real cabbage soup? Dream on. Slow-cooked pot roast with kashe varnishkes? Impossible. A decent potato kugel? I'm still looking.

About four years ago, Manhattan's Carnegie Deli moved here to plug the deli gap. But once locals got a look at the 22-ounce sandwiches and $14 prices, they stayed away in droves. The Galleria location didn't help, either. The place closed within six months.

A recent trip to the Las Vegas branch of the Stage Deli, another Big Apple-deli shrine to indigestion, reminded me of what I've been missing: monstrous mounds of slightly fatty cold cuts; exceptional rye bread; giant, anvil-heavy knishes; complimentary pickles; Dr. Brown's cream soda. Most astonishing of all was the chicken-in-a-pot--a whole chicken, kreplach, matzo balls, noodles, vegetables and broth, served in a bucket big enough to hang around Secretariat's neck.

Well, local relief is on the way. Stage Deli has started a mail-order business.

No, it won't ship you chicken-in-a-pot or put pickles in an envelope. But you can get corned beef and pastrami ($19.95 a pound), salami (2 pounds, $16.95), rye bread ($4.95 a loaf), Nova lox (half-pound, $17.95), cheesecake (six pounds, $34.95) and bagels (six plain, $4.95). Your shipment arrives in a corrugated, foam-insulated carton, topped with ice packs and a tight-fitting cooler lid. One-day shipping charges run about $30 on a $75 order; two-day service will set you back $18.

To get a catalogue, or place an order, call 800-STAGE-NY.
Table for One: Single Gourmet is a dining club for unattached food lovers, with branches all across America, as well as Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and London, England.

The idea is simple. For a fee of $90 a year, singles get an opportunity to dine and mingle at several top local restaurants every month. Dinners generally cost between $35 and $55. Last month, members went to Christopher's Bistro and Lon's at Hermosa Inn. This month, they're headed to Old Town Tortilla Factory and House of Tricks.

The club's literature makes it clear that Single Gourmet is not in the matchmaking business: "If you find someone you like at one of our events, fine. But we are not a dating service."

Nonmembers can try out one event before joining. Call 504-0998.
If You Knew Sushi: Robert McGrath, chef at the Phoenician's Windows on the Green, is teaming with Sushi on Shea's Fred Yamada and Kaspar Donier, proprietor of Kaspar's in Seattle, to put together an Asian-themed cooking class/tasting dinner on April 17.

You'll learn sushi preparation and get recipes for an Asian-inspired appetizer, entree and dessert. The cost is $65. For more info, call 423-2530.--Howard Seftel

Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,

 
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