I was long overdue in visiting the Al Noor Deli since their recent move south along Fourth from 20th to 22nd. The food is as good as ever, the portions as hefty, and the owners as welcoming. Go eat!
Farther north, on 16th & Fifth, I just discovered that Sandy's Cafe has some new management in place. There's a wider selection of baked goods, and never fear, there are still tamales. I spoke to Gigi, who along with her husband is now in charge at the cafe, and the tiny place feels as warm and comfortable as ever. I'll miss seeing Mrs. Adame at the counter - we've talked a lot over the years - but it looks like the cafe is in great hands. Please support Sandy's.
These are the kinds of businesses that make my heart glad, and as the neighborhood continues to get wealthier & rents rise, these small, independent groceries, delis, cafes find it harder and harder to survive. Lucky are the businesses that own their premises. Forget the of-the-moment high-end restaurants where (if you have the money) you can blow hundreds of dollars on an indifferent meal - those places are replaceable in seconds, and might as well be in a mall for all their character. Forget those Ample Hills high-end ice-creams - I can guess where Walt would be today and it wouldn't be on Nevins buying a pint of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake. Put your cash where it counts and eat well at the places where just about all of the people that live around here can afford a meal: Al Noor, Sandy's, Luigi's, El Tenampa, Seventh Avenue Donuts, Reyes, El Continental, Girasol, La Flor Del Paraiso, Back to John's. There are many more, for now. And try the newer places too, like El Salvadorean Castillo's, recently arrived at 22nd and Fifth. Here's food that sustains everyone.