Bringing Variety Back To My Diet

I started a new list of restaurants to try and blog about a few nights ago, and it actually felt liberating. For the past year, I’ve been almost constantly on the lookout for my next cheesesteak, which led me to bypass lots of other foods that I like. While I enjoyed the process very much and have no regrets, it’s time to branch out and eat other things. 

My tentative plan was to stop for a burger at one of the places on the new list today.* But I had to drop off something at my mother’s and she suggested that we have lunch at Hymie’s Deli, which is fairly close to her. While their corned beef was dry and too lean the last couple times I ordered takeout from them, I felt a hankering for smoked fish on a bagel. 

Merion Station, Pennsylvania.

Hymie’s has been around for over 60 years and is one of the better known delis in the Philly metro area. They have a fairly classic layout with a takeout counter off to one side and most of the remaining space devoted to dine-in service.

They’re also half of one of the area’s long-standing food rivalries, along with Murray’s Deli, which is across the street and slightly up the block. I still have yet to check out Murray’s. 

The menu at Hymie’s has all of the standard Jewish deli fare, but I skipped right to the bagel-and-fish section.

Lox and whitefish salad may be the two most popular types of smoked fish to order on a bagel, but I’ve always been a kippered salmon guy and ordered that on a plain bagel with cream cheese. I also requested that the bagel not be toasted, which is my standard practice when I’m eating them the same day they are baked.

One of the joys of dining at Hymie’s is their pickle bar. I initially thought they had removed it, but when I inquired about that with our server, she pointed out that it had been moved to another spot.

Hymie’s pickle bar
A couple of these went home to my wife. That’s a pickled tomato at left.

Pickles need washing down, and for that, I went with an old favorite that is traditionally found at Jewish delis; Dr. Brown’s soda – diet black cherry this time around.

Our food arrived before too long and it didn’t disappoint. My mother ordered a turkey sandwich on rye that she enjoyed. 

My bagel and kippered salmon plate doesn’t feature the array of colorful vegetables that normally come with it because I requested it that way. I just wanted the salmon, cream cheese and bagel – nothing else was required to satisfy my taste buds. If there is such a thing as a Jewish deli minimalist, I’m it. I also won’t eat anything beyond mustard on my corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.

I grew up eating kippered salmon at family gatherings and have always loved it. It’s also known as hot smoked salmon; as opposed to lox, which is a form of cold smoked salmon.

My mother’s turkey sandwich
Kippered salmon with cream cheese and a plain bagel. I was surprised to see a few olives on the plate. They also went home to my wife.
This was more salmon than I expected. I’ll get a second meal out of it and another bagel with cream cheese.

The bagel was indeed fresh. There was plenty of cream cheese and, as you can see, a thick chunk of kippered salmon – very good kippered salmon. 

I put a little over half of it on my bagel with the cream cheese and took the rest home with an extra bagel for the following day. That bagel will get toasted. 

When we walked over to the other side of the restaurant to pay, I took a look at some of Hymie’s dessert offerings. As expected, the cakes weren’t lacking in size. 

Gigantic cakes are common at Jewish delis, where huge portions are a tradition.
Rugelach are another deli favorite.

I’ll see where my cravings lead me next. I’ve got a healthy array of food categories to choose from – at least in one sense. In any case, as my wife and I are fond of saying, it’s good to have options. 

*Although I’ve already posted about the burger I had at M2O Burgers, my visit to Hymie’s preceded that meal.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

2 thoughts on “Bringing Variety Back To My Diet

  1. Looks like your bagel fell into the “some assembly required” category. ;^)

    I like my pickles heavy on the dill and brine, with as little actual cucumber taste as possible. I’m pretty sure you’ve had an authentic Chicago hot dog in the past; if you can remember the pickle, does Hymie’s offer a reasonable equivalent?


    1. I don’t remember what the pickle tasted like on the hot dog or two I ate while in Chicago. The darker green ones I grabbed are called half-sours. I didn’t know of their existence until I was well into adulthood. But I love them. I also like the sour dill pickles, but have a preference for half-sour.

      I grew up eating what I call Philadelphia style deli in Northeast Philly and the northern suburbs around where I lived. When I was in my early 30s, I was first exposed to New York style Jewish deli in NYC and it also was brought to Philly for the first time by a guy who still is one of the leading deli owners in the city. It didn’t take me long to decide it was better than the Philly style, which was sliced thinner and not served warm (in addition to half-sour pickles not being an option).


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