We've got a lot of great restaurants in town representing a variety of cuisines but we're missing a classic Jewish delicatessen. That's going to change, at least for one day, when Chabad of Bakersfield holds its Pop-Up Jewish Deli.
The event will be held at the Chabad Jewish Community Center, which opened in August on Ming Avenue.
Esther Schlanger, wife of Rabbi Shmuli Schlanger, said she was surprised by how the event took off when she put it up online.
"I posted this on Facebook and it went viral," she said. "It's a little bit overwhelming."
To help estimate what they need, Chabad has been taking preorders through its website.
So what's on the menu? Sandwiches are the stars, with the choice of corned beef or pastrami (both $13.99), smoked turkey ($10.99) or salami ($9.99). All feature a quarter-pound of deli meat, imported from New York, served on rye bread with topping choices of lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard, mayo or Russian dressing (or any combination). Sandwiches also come with a half-sour pickle slice and choice of potato salad or coleslaw.
Salads will be made at the center and are available as sides — potato salad and coleslaw $2.99 each or Israeli salad for $3.99. Other sides include potato knishes ($2.99), also made on site, potato chips and sliced half-sour pickle ($1.50 each).
Children can opt for a kosher hot dog ($3.50) or double trouble, aka a pair of hot dogs ($5.50). Each dish is served with a bag of chips.
And what would this deli be without chicken matzo ball soup? You won't have to find out as it's available for $3.99 a bowl.
A Brooklyn brownie ($1.50) offers a sweet end to the meal.
Preorders guarantee availability but Schlanger said there will be "a little extra" for walk-ins who show up Sunday night.
Based on the response — and the 150 preorders — she said it's "definitely something we’ll do again."
In fact, the date is already set: Dec. 14, during the celebration of Hanukkah.
The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the center, 6901 Ming Ave.
Killer new spot
Those looking for a new spot for downtown dining should head down 19th Street. Killer Poke opened Saturday at 1002 19th St., the former home of a second Bonnie's Best Cafe.
It's the perfect-sized space for the new eatery specializing in California-style poke bowls. You start with your base, a choice of rice (white, brown or cauliflower), spring mix, or a half-and-half.
Then you choose proteins: raw (salmon and ahi or spicy tuna), cooked (smoked salmon, shrimp) and vegetarian (mushrooms or egg salad). You pick three scoops, which can be any mix of the aforementioned options. Next add a sauce: soy, tataki, sowabi (soy and vinegar with a kick of wasabi), ponzu, eel, sriracha, sriracha mayo or Killer A, their spicy recipe.
The next step is when it gets colorful with a variety of options: spicy crab, seaweed salad, corn, edamame, cucumber, bell pepper, red and green onion, radish, pineapple, mango, masago, crispy garlic, black and white sesame seeds and nori. Avocado is available for $1.50 extra.
You can top it off with a little extra sauce and you're good to go. Bowls are $13, and the portion is quite filling. I had one with mushrooms, shrimp and spicy tuna, along with the savory side of the garden and all the crunchy toppings. It was fresh and vibrant, and opting for half brown rice, half spring mix felt like a healthy choice that was still satisfying. And the staff recommendation of tataki and Killer A was a great sauce combo.
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Check them out at killerpokebowl.com.
New and different
Pumpkin cheesecake is back at Olive Garden, just in time for National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day on Saturday. California Pizza Kitchen also brought back its pumpkin treat, served on a ginger crumb praline crust with fresh whipped cream and praline sauce. It also added a new smashed chicken meatball piadina sandwich, which is available as a lunch duo with salad for $9.95. ... Creamistry has ice cream pies, combining oven-fresh pie crusts with premium, made-to-order ice cream and toppings. Available through Nov. 26, the two flavors are caramel apple (apple ice cream with cinnamon apple compote, caramel and streusel topping) and Earl Grey (tea-flavored ice cream, garnished with whipped cream, chocolate curls and dark cocoa powder).