Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pastrami Heaven

Before moving to LA, I'd always thought New York was pastrami heaven. I now realize LA is pastrami heaven. In New York, pastrami is something you find in Jewish delis. And God forbid, you eat it in any other form except as a sandwich on rye with mustard. In LA, pastrami is everywhere. At hot dog stands, hamburger joints, taco eateries. And it's in everything, from burritos to double dips. A pastrami burrito? How good is that, you might ask? I have to admit, I haven't had any good examples. There's a famous one at the Oki Dog on Pico, but I couldn't see the point of it all (it was huge, with a lot of cabbage so it was like a pastrami stir-fry wrapped in a giant tortilla). Much more successful is the concoction at Oinkster, a huge pastrami sandwich on a bun dripping with red slaw and gruyere cheese.

Does that mean LA pastrami is inferior to New York's? Not at all. In fact, my all-time favorite pastrami is at Langer's. Langer's pastrami is sliced thick and framed with succulent fat — the prime rib of pastrami. And their rye bread is fantastic. I also like the pastrami at Greenblatt's, which is more like the New York deli kind, sliced thinner, a bit drier, but absolutely addictive. With Pastrami King now Pastrami Queen and Second Avenue Deli no longer Second Avenue Deli, there seems to be less and less things I miss about New York.

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