"What do you want," I was asked the instant I set foot inside Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel on Thursday. After barely glancing at the menu, I wasn't sure. But a line had quickly formed behind me, so I barked out: "pastrami, knish, Israeli salad."
"That's exactly what I want, too," the volunteer said. Apparently, I had passed the Deli Days test.
She handed my companion and I an order form and said they would call out our name when it was ready.
Deli Days, the annual Jewish food festival held at Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, is a cornucopia of nosh. In addition to the requisite corned beef and pastrami on rye, the kosher dogs and dills and the mountains of steaming knishes, there are tables upon tables of baked delights: challah bread, brownies made with dead sea salt, cheesecakes and enough kugel to make sure people pop that top button on their pants after the meal.
Outside on the patio, a pair of lounge pianists were crooning and beat-boxing their way through Journey and LMFAO covers, occasionally admonishing the audience for basking in the sunny day instead of singing along to Neil Diamond.
I bit into a chuck of kugel made with pineapple and instantly knew I'd be back again for dinner. And possibly lunch. And dinner today. L'chaim, bitches.
Deli Days runs through 7 p.m. today, at Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, located at 11 N. Latah St. in Boise. Get there before all the kugel is gone or spend the rest of the year living in regret.