Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh My Gout: Sherman's, Palm Springs, CA


Playing "Misty" for Me

When I first moved from Cleveland to San Francisco it didn't seem that I was giving anything up. Not only were things better by the Bay, but there was more of it. No offense to the CLE, which has its unique wonders, but while I've spent years blogging about California's Gold I could likely count the things that I miss about Ohio on two hands.

On one of those hands would be Jack's Deli on Cedar at Green. I'd spent some time at Corky and Lenny's before, but one trip to Jack's won me over. We didn't brunch on Saturday afternoons, we got a table in the blur of activity and matzo that was Jack's and satisfied our meat tooth with great pastrami and creamy chicken liver. Oh, the pickles and slaw! Oh, my gout, and the 'kraut! We would eat and talk about everything, that old gang of mine, and Jack's made it a pleasure.

After being in SF for some time it began to dawn on me that I hadn't run into a good deli. By good I mean any. There were, it seemed, plenty of great sandwich shops and restaurants, but not one real deli. By real I mean New York style via Cleveland. I remember nights spent lamenting this sad truth about my beloved San Francisco with Cleveland and New York transplants alike. We would spend hours drowning our sorrows and reminiscing about our favorite spots. If you've ever loved a deli you know what I'm saying. If you haven't no one can describe it to you in any way that would be meaningful. You have to live it.

After a few years East Side West opened ... and while they get points for trying they weren't the same. You could taste it in the attempted pastrami and see it in the faces of the patrons. They just made me miss the real deal even more.

Eventually, I moved my family away from a San Francisco that was becoming increasingly less endearing to our new home in Orange County. While there is rumor of a real deli in Dana Point, I've been hestitant to try it out of fear that it will only be another shadow of what I'd known in CLE and the great delis of NYC. Plus, their menu is a bit Italian-heavy. It's likely not what I'm seeking. I could drive an hour to L.A. for possible disappointment ... no.

No lies. The very finest.

So it went until this past weekend in Palm Springs where I was introduced to Sherman's. The pastrami was fatty and fantastic. It was better than I'd remembered! I asked for a root beer and got a float! How often does an order mistake give you something better? The pickles were tasty and the sauerkraut was quite good. Signed head shots from Kay Ballard, Adam West, Barry Manilow and more lined the walls.The staff and the crowd were alive in the way that only a deli that had been family owned and operated since '63 could be alive. It was like home in the desert.

We ate at Sherman's twice, once on Saturday with some weekenders and a scattering of local regulars, ("enjoy yourself" the staff called out, "it's like Ohio in the winter, we don't go out" said a local of the hot months), and again on Monday when the tourists had gone home, ("they got a walk-in bathtub. You know you're old when you need a walk-in bathtub" said a regular). Yes, home.

"We got a break this weekend from the weather."

"It's global cooling."

"Yeah. Global cooling."

Come for the food, stay for the banter. Pastrami in the desert? You bet. Enjoy yourselves.

Sherman's Deli & Bakery
401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA

73-161 Country Club Drive
Palm Desert, CA

Jack's Deli and Restaurant
14490 Cedar Road
University Heights, OH

Catering!