Sunday, January 18, 2009

Still here

Man, it's been a long time since I updated this blog. Sorry about that. It's been a pretty difficult couple months for me personally.

I've received a couple comments from readers I thought I'd share:

Rick Festa writes: "I am Leo Martin's grandson and my memories of Dubrow's are so vivid...The stuffed roasted chicken really stands out in my mind, and have never found a stuffing like that since. I spent many hours there with my Grandfather as a young boy, and i can still remember that special smell of the place. I still remember the faces of the cooks and the cashiers and that cool change returner attached to the side of the register..."

Deborah Berman writes to ask about the recipe for "the most memorable bran muffins in the world." As always, I do not have any recipes - I wish I did! So far I haven't found anyone else who does, either.

Dan Russell writes to ask about a Dubrow's in Bensonhurst and another "famous one on 86th street" - I am not sure both of these he is recalling are Dubrow's, but the latter is probably the one on Eastern Parkway. Anyone remember a Dubrow's in Bensonhurst?

Finally, I also found an excerpt in The World on a Plate by Joel Denker about Dubrow's:

"Cafes also became center of Jewish cooking and companionship. The Garden cafeteria, next door to the Jewish Forward, was a gathering place for reporters, actors, intellectuals, and ethnics who worked in the neighborhood. Like an eastern Europe cafe, it buzzed with conversation and animated debate. Places like the Garden encouraged a breed of ethnic socializers that Isaac Singer, who was one of them, dubbed cafeterianiks.

The Garden, which opened in 1931, was organized like a cafeteria. Customers decided on their order, and the counterman punched the appropriate code on their ticket. There were the classic dairy choices - blintzes, varnishkes, soups. The display case revealed a tantalizing plates of smoked whitefish, herring and apple and other salads, cheese, and coffee cakes. Many diners were content with a piece of cake and tea or a bowl of chopped vegetables and fruit mixed with sour cream.

As the Lower East Side rag trade withered away, Jewish cafeterias and luncheonettes sprang up in the midtown Garment Center. Dubrow's, one of the most famous cafeterias, served up pirogen, gefilte fish, and roast chicken to cutters, jobbers, and pressmen. Irving Moskowitz, a Dubrow's Cafeteria customer for over thirty years, remembered it as a warm gathering place: 'It was more than just a place to eat. It was a meeting place. A place. You didn't get to know them [other customers]. But they were people, and you sort of knew them