Monday, March 12, 2012

Matzo, matzo man! I've got to be, a matzo man!

Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen in Chicago started in 1942, and moved to its current location on S. Jefferson St. in 1964. Aboard a Burlington Trailways bus pulling into Chicago well over an hour late on a rainy pre-dawn morning, I spy the deli as we approach the station, and walk the half-mile back through the rain to grab a much-needed breakfast.

Excitedly I order the mazto brei, scrambled-style with sliced and diced salami, and onions. Matzo is broken into smaller pieces, lightly softened in water or milk, mixed with eggs, then cooked either like a pancake, or scrambled.

Eggy and with a light saltiness from the chopped salami and the occasional sweetness of grilled onion. The matzo crackers create structure while letting the egg subsume them. A filling breakfast.

For me this is comfort food, taking me back to Sunday mornings in Ottumwa, with a simple plate of matzo brei made by my pal Siegel, seasoned with a dusting of Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning.

Adding salami boosts the overall flavor but I'm betting Manny's corned beef is the optimal add-on. Given another visit I hope to find out.

On the way to the front register I grab a container of Manny's Dream Cake – a layered baked good similar to potica – to go. Dense but not heavy, the taste of cinnamon permeates the cake. A cup of coffee would go well with it.

Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli on Urbanspoon

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