Due to a number of requests, I've decided to up the resolution of the pictures included with my articles. Over the next few months, I'll be working to bring the pictures in my existing articles up to the new standard. You'll be able to look forward to "Digitally Remastered" versions of all my old posts. Yes, I've gone over to the Dark Side of the Force.
The picture updates shouldn't affect my schedule for posting new content.)
Founded 11 years ago by David Levy and Barry Robbins, two childhood friends from Chicago, Milton's Delicatessen attempts to bring the nostalgic, East Coast charm of a New York neighborhood deli to North San Diego County. The name "Milton's" refers to David's father, Milton Levy, the man who started Milton's Bakery, a nationally recognized brand of baked goods carried by major supermarkets across the country. The Levys no longer own Milton's Bakery, having sold the company several years back. Nowadays David Levy's energy is entirely focused on operating Milton's Delicatessen.
Thus far, his efforts have paid off. The restaurant generates roughly $5 million in revenue per year. One of the keys to their success has been location location location. Less than a mile from I-5, Milton's Delicatessen boasts an enviable position in the affluent city of Del Mar, which has a median income in excess of $80,000 per year, the highest of any incorporated city in San Diego County. Its excellent feng shui provides the restaurant with a steady stream of well-to-do locals and hungry travelers, all eager to grab a bite.
What keeps them coming back, however, is a selection of New York deli style treats that's hard to match in Southern California. The cold cases in front of the eatery are loaded with smoked fish, lox, pickled and creamed herring, cheeses, salads, and a dazzling array of cold cuts.
There's also a bakery section with wide variety of specialty pastries, including a number of Jewish and Eastern European sweets. Of course, you won't see any bread behind this counter. Instead, several racks near the front door are loaded with Milton's Bakery products fresh from the factory. As if Milton's Delicatessen would carry anything else.
The deli counters are for customers stopping by for groceries and takeaway orders. If you want a sit down meal, a cavernous dining area is available with an extensive separate menu. But, although Milton's Delicatessen bills itself as a New York deli, the food it serves is neither Kosher nor Kosher style. That doesn't mean it's not delicious.
Take, for example, the Chopped Liver Appetizer, served with crumbled egg, tomato slices, onion, and Milton's Bakery rye bread. The creamy liver spreads easily over the soft bread. If you don't mind onion, a little bit can help cut the dark earthiness of the pate.
On request, the servers will cheerfully bring you a side of Whitefish salad, made from their Smoked Chub (third picture from the top). The saltiness of the smoked fish is smoothed out with herbs and mayonnaise, and may offer a more appealing alternative to anyone in your party who isn't a fan of liver. Both the Whitefish Salad and the Chopped Liver Appetizer are personal favorites of mine.
Those who, like me, are of the pisciphilic persuasion might prefer the Smoked Combo Fish Platter, available for one person or two. The single person size is frankly large enough to serve two. Diners can customize their platters by selecting from Milton's Special Cut Nova (Lox), Smoked Chub, Smoked Whitefish, and Baked Salmon.
Each Smoked Fish Platter comes with a toasted bagel of your choice from, you guessed it, Milton's Bakery.
The terminally terrestrial can order one of Milton's sinfully hefty sandwiches, such as this Corned Beef, Pastrami, and Swiss. Each one comes with a small side of coleslaw, as if a few shreds of cabbage can do anything to combat the onslaught of artery-clogging delight that awaits the lucky diner. While good, the coleslaw is little more than a token gesture to help you stave off guilt.
If you just can't handle the remorse, there's always a bowl of their thick Turkey Chili. I imagine all that melted cheese pretty much undoes any health benefits you might get from choosing turkey instead of beef, but I won't tell anyone if you don't.
Since you're going to be stuffed from trying to finish the large potions at Milton's Delicatessen, I suggest having a liquid dessert so that it can sorta seep around the food in your already bulging belly and fill in the cracks. I speak from experience. My personal favorite is the New York Egg Cream, although if Milton's was really authentic, it would be called a "Brooklyn Egg Cream". Nothing like a fizzy chocolate milk to help sooth a troubled tummy. Seltzer is good for you.
If you've got more room in your stomach that I usually do, you can order a Chocolate Malt. What makes a chocolate malt different from a milkshake? The malted milk, which adds nice, a frothy consistency and a fair bit of flavor. Who doesn't like the sensation of drinking a giant malt ball?
butcher paper tablecloth + crayons = self portrait
Milton's Delicatessen - It's not Barney Greengrass, but it'll get the job done. Probably the best New York style deli you'll find in San Diego County.
Bill (for two)
Soft Drink - 2.75
Chopped Liver Appetizer - 7.95
Whitefish Salad Side - 4.25
Smoked Fish Combo Platter - 14.75
Corned Beef, Pastrami, and Swiss Sandwich - 13.95
Turkey Chili - 6.95
New York Egg Cream - 3.25
Chocolate Malt - 3.95
Tax - 4.48
Tip - 9.00
Total - 71.28
Milton's Delicatessen, Grill & Bakery
2660 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
(My partner in crime for this daring dining venture was my good friend Maniacal Penguin of 2 Wheel Nomads, who also writes for Geek Bling with Jpathomas (Stitch). 2 Wheel Nomads is a new blog detailing Maniacal Penguin's American road adventures on his Triumph motorcycle. Geek Bling is an IT discussion blog run by Stitch, and covers some of the latest developments in the tech sector. Check them out!)