Giovanni's has done a lot to assuage my homesick desire for real pizza. It's not perfect, but it fills the hole. Similarly, a friend turned me on to House of Bagels, and as long as you avoid the one on Lawrence Expwy, I'll grant you they something better than the round pieces of bread the likes of Noah's tries to pass off as bagels. They're not Schwartz's (Sorry, I know intellectually that H&H are better than Schwartz's but for some reason when I'm jonesing for a bagel fix, I'm daydreaming about the Southside of Pittsburgh.) but they'll do.
The one item I've not yet found: pickles. PDC used to have barrels of them, in a "take as many as you'd like" kind of set up. A friend of mine who was living in Fremont got so bad that he took to having cases of Ba-Tampte Half Sours Fed-Ex'ed from Brooklyn. Unfortunately (for me) he's found his way back to Old New York.
I've been toying with that idea for some time, but it seems excessive. There HAS to be a decent deli around here somewhere (though I suspect I'll have to go north to find it). I recently ran across something intriguing. Trader Joes' Half-Sour Kosher Dills. Once again, in a side-by-side comparison, they'd not stand up to a Ba-Tempte or Guss'. They're not as crunchy as I'd like, though they're better than the flaccid spears most of the sandwich shops around here use. BUT they taste right!, oh, do they taste right. I missed that experience.
I share this experience for two reasons. I suspect I'm not the only one in this predicament, and someone else can benefit from my discovery (incidentally, if you're interested in splitting shipping costs, let me know). Also, if any of you have been keeping a deli to yourself, because you didn't think the philistine Californians would understand, please speak up.
Hmm, I think I'll have one right now. Breakfast of Champions.