Nora Ephron's hot dog
The This | 2.24.17

I am a rubbernecker at restaurants. Food obsessed. I eavesdrop. I stare. I side-eye. I gawk. I am like a nosy Santa: I see you when you're eating. I know when you eat cake. I know if you've been bad or good, so be bad for goodness sake. Why not?! Food should be fun. It's communal. It's nostalgic. It's hopefully super delicious. Nate 'n Al's in Beverly Hills is a food spy's paradise. The couple next to me debates the dignity of the pumpernickel bagel. The guy over there somehow has the waiter bring him a diet coke in a plastic quart container- because I guess that's how he likes it. That lady in the corner gets a side salad but keeps stealing her husband's french fries. It's all fascinating to me! I love it. 

So, I order an everything bagel with cream cheese and wild nova salmon. They bring the iceberg lettuce, onion slices, tomato, and cucumber on the side, and it's all speared together with a toothpick that has an olive at full mast. It's perfect in every way. Who doesn't love a toothpick? 

The coffee is great and comes in an actual mug, as opposed to those terrible (yet sturdy) small "coffee" tea cups diners usually use. 

Nate 'n Al's deli has been around since 1945, and is a Beverly Hills institution. It's all good: the people-watching, the food spying, the pickles, and the pastrami. And hey, in what may be my favorite food interview ever, the late Nora Ephron says that the Nate 'N Al's hot dog is worthy of last-meal on earth status. So why not head over to Nate 'n Al's and tell the waiter you'll have what she's having?