It Isn't What You Think It Is: Egg Cream

eggcream.jpg
Dave Lieberman
The pride of New York's soda fountains, the egg cream, contains neither egg nor cream (despite what a woefully uninformed cook at Jerry's Famous Deli in Westwood tried to tell me 10 years ago).

It is a chocolate-milk soda, and it is one of the most addicting drinks in the world.

You take a couple of ounces of chocolate syrup--Fox's U-Bet is the canonical choice--and you stir it up with whole milk to fill half a tall glass. You don't have to use a twisted, wrought bar spoon, but it would be nice. Once you've got everything uniform, add seltzer water, stirring to create froth, until you've filled the glass.

That's it. Chocolate syrup, milk and seltzer water; a magical amalgamation that even as recently as 20-something years ago (*cough*) was beguiling me and my classmates at city fountains and suburban luncheonettes alike.


I found OC's best egg cream at a place I wasn't expecting to like. Benjie's Delicatessen on Tustin Avenue in a strangely medical district of eastern Santa Ana was covered by our colleagues on Food Frenzy a month or so ago.

pastramisandwich.jpg
Dave Lieberman
Benjie's pastrami and macaroni salad...
In décor age and patron age, it's a lot like Los Al's Katella Deli; it doesn't look like it's been updated since it opened in 1967. I was the youngest patron by at least 20 years. It's an aging restaurant, and the vinyl booths don't help. It does, however, have serviceable pastrami sandwiches (but double-bake that bread, please, so it doesn't fall apart), good half-sour pickles (just ask), absolutely terrible straight-from-the-food-service-gallon-tub macaroni salad, and these fantaisies writ egg creams.

It's a real taste of home for an ex-East Coaster. All I need to find now is a pork roll without having to drive to LA's permanent farmers' market.

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
7 comments
Anon
Anon

The knishes at Benjie's are also pretty stellar.

Nathan
Nathan

Wow Benjies is getting all kinds of reviews from food blogs. I even posted one about a week ago. Benjies has some hits and some misses but the hits are really good in my opinion.

nycinoc
nycinoc

Believe it or not, supposedly Jersey Mikes just started selling Pork Rolls for breakfast.Also, Town Hall Deli back in South Orange will overnight a Sloppy Joe:http://www.townhalldeli.com/

Joey M
Joey M

Maybe I've been infected by too much California sun to appreciate an east coast favorite, but I forced myself to try a 2nd and 3rd egg cream before I declared that carbonation has no place in chocolate milk...for me, a native Californian.

Claudia Koerner
Claudia Koerner

I am so so so going back just for an egg cream.

I was an uninformed waitress in Arizona when an older couple from New York ordered one from me. They didn't care it wasn't on the menu, just gave me instructions. Hooked ever since :)

Bill
Bill

Your ingredients are spot on, especially Fox's U-Bet. It HAD to be U-Bet. One difference though. When I learned to make egg creams -- in NYC, 40 years ago -- I was taught to add the seltzer to the milk before the U-Bet. That makes for white foam on the chocolate-milk soda. Maybe it's wrong, it certainly wasn't the norm, but it sure makes for a good presentation.

Parley Baer
Parley Baer

Must be something going on in Orange County to require this kind of clarification.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...