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Alex Canter: Hot Pastrami Podcast, Dining Out and Canter’s Cheese Blintzes

Taste Buds with Deb - Episode 59
[additional-authors]
June 6, 2024
Photography Credit: Adam Reynolds (IG: @adambhb)

Entrepreneur and passionate foodie Alex Canter grew up in the Los Angeles dining community. He is the 4th generation of Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles.

“I had quite a unique upbringing, growing up as a child in Canter’s Deli; there’s pictures of me as a baby being pushed on like a bus cart around the restaurant,” Canter told the Journal. “I have vivid memories of my sister and I playing hide and seek in the back of Canters.”

He added, “Growing up in a restaurant … was a lot of fun [and] it gave me a lot of perspective on the way that restaurants work.” A recipe from Canter’s is below.

Canter, who publishes a list of his favorite 100 restaurants in LA every year, loves trying new places. Every week, he posts his favorite bites on Instagram @DeliBoySwag. “That’s been a fun way to keep track of the places that I’m going,” he said. As a result, people text him all the time, asking for recommendations of places to eat and what to order.”

“Most dinners that I have are out at a restaurant and sometimes even two dinners in one night, especially if it’s one work dinner, one dinner with friends or family,” he said. “At the end of each week, I look through my photos and realize how many amazing places I’ve eaten at.”

As much as he enjoys the food, Canter really loves the whole restaurant experience, whether he is by himself or with a small or large group.

“Sharing a meal with somebody is the most intimate thing you could do,” he said. “Breaking bread together just unlocks a new level of conversation and friendship.”

In May Canter launched the Hot Pastrami podcast, which he co-hosts with Lily Rosenthal, a restaurateur and New York Times bestselling author. Note: Lily and her father, Phil Rosenthal (“Somebody Feed Phil”), were guests on Taste Buds with Deb in March to coincide with the release of “Just Try It!”

Photography Credit: Adam Reynolds (IG: @adambhb)

“Lily and I actually grew up together; we went to the same elementary school, the same Jewish camp growing up [and] our families were very close with each other as well,” he said. “She’s always posting at some of these amazing restaurants that I enjoy going to as well [and] we’re always exchanging notes.”

Canter and Rosenthal decided to create a platform where they can showcase amazing restaurants and talk about all things food.

“Every episode, we interview different special guests, whether it’s an actor, a comedian, a chef or restaurateur,” he said. Their guests have included Henry Winkler, Tiffany Haddish, B.J. Novak and Josh Peck. “We film each episode at a booth in Canter’s Deli… over some bowls of matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwiches.”

While Canter grew up on corned beef, as the podcast title suggests, he is now more of a pastrami guy. A pastrami reuben is his number one go-to at the restaurant.

“It’s delicious, although you need a nap after, if you’re eating it during the day,” he said. “It’s very heavy.”

When asked about his leftovers philosophy, Canter said that leftovers are great, especially for breakfast the next morning.

“There’s no time of day where I can’t eat … something [like steak] that you would traditionally not eat for breakfast,” he said.

Also, he said to not let your leftovers sit. Eat them the next day … or even when you get home. Just make sure to reheat them properly.

“There’s a big difference between air frying wings to reheat them versus baking them,” said Canter, who is not even close to being a chef; his wife is a great cook who does most of the cooking at home. “Definitely don’t put them in the microwave. Just Google what’s the best way to reheat things and it will tell you.”

The Hot Pastrami podcast, produced and distributed by Cloud10 and Clamor, launched on May 9. New episodes are released on Thursdays.

Follow and on Instagram. Subscribe to the on iTunes or your favorite podcast platform.

For the full conversation, :

:

Canter’s Cheese Blintzes

Ingredients

Crepes:

3 large Eggs

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 -1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter; plus more for frying

Cheese filling:

2 pounds farmer cheese

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish:

Sour cream

Blueberry or strawberry preserves

Instructions

Combine the crepe ingredients in a blender and let them stand for 30 minutes.

In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, melt a 1/2 tablespoon of butter over moderately high heat. Pour in enough batter to just coat the bottom of the skillet, swirling, and cook it undisturbed until the top is set and the bottom is golden. (Do not turn it over.) Transfer the crepe to paper towels in one layer with the golden side down. Make more crepes with the remaining batter. Use more butter as needed.

Mix all the cheese filling ingredients together in a large bowl. With a large spoon, place 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of each crepe; fold the opposite sides of the crepe over the filling until the sides barely touch. Fold in the ends to completely enclose the filling, forming packets. Heat butter in a frying pan on medium heat, and place 6 blintzes in the pan. Cook on both sides until they are golden. Repeat with the remaining blintzes. Serve them warm with sour cream and/or preserves on the side. Serves 6 (12 blintzes).


Debra Eckerling is a writer for the Jewish Journal and the host of “Taste Buds with Deb. on or your favorite podcast platform. Email Debra: tastebuds@jewishjournal.com.

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