I don’t know about you, but whenever I go home to visit family and friends, I’m flooded with food memories and places I want to revisit. I was born in Los Angeles, California, USA, in a town called Hollywood. The hospital I was born in was once called Cedars of Lebanon. It is now the headquarters of the Church of Scientology. Well, some things do change.
But one thing that hasn’t changed in all the many years since I left L.A. is the killer combination of deli and bakery down the street from where my parents have lived in Tarzana, California (yes, the city got its name from the Tarzan character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs who lived there). Mort’s Delicatessen and Bea’s Bakery are a must-stop dual delight that I never miss when back home.
Nothing fancy, Mort’s is a reliable deli that serves dine-in and has a take out counter as well. The bagels used are from Bea’s next door, so they are fresh and perfect every time.
Last time I stood at the counter, I chatted with some of the many people there waiting to pass the time. One man said that he had been coming there for over 30 years – 30 years! (I don’t know why I’m so surprised, I have been doing the same thing.) Another woman, who was getting over a cold said she just couldn’t sleep until she had some matzo ball soup from Mort’s. She drove 45 miles to get it!
Breakfast can include perfectly scrambled eggs and crispy home fried potatoes with a bagel.
Or you can just do your “coffee and…” with a bagel and cream cheese or whatever you like.
Lunch could be a deli sandwich piled high or a bagel heaped with perfectly sliced Nova lox, creamy coleslaw and a little Greek salad.
Bea’s Bakery next door – in fact, there’s an open wall between the two so you can get your bakery and your deli at the same time – is just as delicious and has just as many loyal customers.
In addition to fresh bagels, you can get all kinds of bread, including the cherished corn rye, to take home. They truly make some of the best butter cookies and Rugelah in the business.
Although I live in Chicago now, one of the greatest places in the U.S. to live if you are a foodie like me, there’s something very special about going back home to my food home, Mort’s Deli and Bea’s Bakery in Tarzana, California. If you ever have a chance to visit the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, be sure not to miss these neighborhood favorites.