Monday, August 29, 2011

Langer's Deli

I like sandwiches. And today, I had the best one I've ever had. The #19 from Langer's Deli in Los Angeles. I am loathe to admit this, but this pastrami sandwich blows away any NYC deli's version.

Steve and I had a discussion the other day sparked by our delicious pork sandwiches from Forage. Steve maintained that the #19 was the winner across the entire spectrum of sandwiches he's ever eaten in his entire life, including Sack O'Subs. I said it was not fair to put deli sandwiches in the same category of regular sandwiches. Perhaps they could compete in the "hot meat on a bread" category (Phillipe's etc) but cold sandwiches are their own category. Grilled cheese, hot dogs and hamburgers would have to have categories of their own as well.

So today was the day I tried it.

I now believe that if there was a Westminster Sandwich Show, that this #19 from Langer's Deli would be Best in Show. If you can compare a tea cup poodle to a sheepdog and pick a winner, then you can compare pastrami to grilled cheese.

The first indicator that I was dealing with a world class sandwich was that though this deli is located at the intersection of El Shitto (Alvarado) and Filth (6th) across from MacArthur Park (where someone left the cake out in the rain and it is now full of used needles and bum poo) it has been at this location for 60 years with no signs of stopping. There were 4 cashiers poised and at the ready for the lunch rush that was just starting. They have no parking on site, requiring patrons to walk a block through the crappy neighborhood, but yet the place was already filling up. As I glanced around for the few moments I had to wait while they bagged up my order, you could see how the place was just about to be absolutely swamped, but they were ready. The phone was already ringing constantly with orders. They have curb service.

We took the sandwiches home. After the first bite, I knew.

It starts with the bread. This was the best rye bread I've ever had. Soft and tender on the inside, with a hard, crunchy irregular crust on the outside. The bread alone was worth the trip, and I would have gotten a whole loaf if I'd known. The pastrami itself was so tender and perfectly cooked and seasoned. It was not sliced, but sort of flaked or chunked, and not too much. This was not one of those monstrosities piled with two pounds of meat. You could fit the sandwich in your mouth. The other layers were some kind of coleslaw, russian dressing and according to Steve, cheese. I did not detect cheese. I also did not stop to pull it apart, because I was having a transcendental sandwich experience at the time. There are times where you just savor, living in the flavor moment and not question the how or the why.

The sandwich was so perfect, that I ate only half (plus one bite) and have saved the other half for a few hours from now.

Edit-it is now a few hours later, and I have finished the sandwich. I feel a loss, a deep sadness, now that my sandwich is gone. How will I ever eat another sandwich anywhere else?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's not shillin' if they don't pay me...or how to spend $20ish in L.A.

I have two local businesses I'd like to mention today...

 The first is Forage in Silverlake, Sunset Junction to be exact. They so don't need my help that they don't even have a sign out front, so I'm not going to even bother to hyperlink to it. Suffice to say, you will easily find them by the line out the door and the clusterfuck in the previously tight but manageable parking lot.

We'd been hearing about it in the nabe since they opened. The place that was there before (two places before?) was mediocre but serviceable, never really crowded. In late June, our pal Patrick Rowe-Sowa couldn't not stop drunkenly raving about it, practically challenging Steve to a sandwich smack down right there in the bar. Even though his formerly-Vegan taste buds are suspect, we gave it a try today.

And it was damn good. I would say it was in the Top Ten Sandwiches I have eaten. This sandwich gave Beefy Boys a run for the money. (I don't remember what Beefy Boys was really called. It was in the West Greenwich Village, run by two very handsome and beefy young gentlemen and their grandmother. They were only open for lunch, and closed when they ran out of food around 2pm.) We got the pork belly sandwiches. I'm not sure what goodness was on it besides roasted pork and mayo- it looked like shaved celery root, carrot and magical unicorn horn. It ain't cheap ($$ as they say on the Yelps) two sandwiches, one mexican coke and a small side of lemon kale salad cost $29.15, but it was a nice treat.

The second business I'd like to give a shout out to is the Little Rockstar Children's Salon in Sherman Oaks. We finally got Dex's hair cut and it was the first time a stylist actually did "please leave it long on the top and short on the sides and back." The salon was cute, clean and quiet. They had FIVE different cars to sit it while getting your hair cut, and Dex tried them all out, settling on the Ferrari. The stylist was a cute little babuska named Romida, who was a sweet, grandmotherly type, and she knew exactly how to talk and coo to a small child to keep him calm while she wielded three different clippers around his head. She even showed him how to do a fauxhawk at the end. Well worth my $20 bucks.


after with a fauxhawk


Sunday, August 7, 2011

More kvetching about tourists

I'm not the only one who is feeling a bit overrun with tourists, this is from the Huffington Post.

Normally, I would be all "Too bad for you, fancy pants cliff dwellers with a view!" But those streets are really narrow and windy, and it is no joke about fires. There are many designated scenic overlooks all around the area with plenty of parking and safety railings. If you can pull the van over and not block traffic that is one thing, but to block the street and people's driveways is a completely different story. The best part is the guy's kids selling them lemonade. They should sell bottles of water for $3 a pop. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Use a Parking Structure

I think my next few posts will be helpful tips to the tourist population of Los Angeles. All of whom seem to be in my way as I head in to work.

First, WELCOME. How lovely for you that you decided to visit Los Angeles in August. Before the internets, a real live travel agent would have told you to go somewhere else at this time of the year, but hey, progress! Here are some of the things you can do while you are pretending that Hollywood and Highland is like the rest of Los Angeles.

 1. Pulling into the parking structure- If you have the arrow, DRIVE. IN. PLEASE. There is a long line of people behind you who also want to drive in. Those pedestrians on the sidewalk waiting to cross will be just fine. See the red hand they are looking at? That tells them to stay put while your green arrow is telling YOU to DRIVE IN. No need to be polite and wave them across, they get their turn next. Please just pull in to the parking structure.

 2. This is a huge parking structure, with 6 floors and thousands of spaces. It's okay to go down to a lower floor to park. In fact, it's encouraged. See the light up tote board that says there are 8 available spaces on Level 3, but yet 567 spaces on Level 5? Guess which one is easier to park on? So please, for the love of god, just keep driving down and stop lollygagging on Level 3. Those 8 spaces are behind poles. Please just drive.

3. Try to remember where you parked. They use numbers and colors, but you might want to take a photo of the pole. That's actually just a helpful hint and not anything that makes me insane. That will probably be the only non-anger driven comment in this whole post, so embrace it.

4. If you went down to level 5, you were easily able to park near the escalators and elevators. Here's a pro-tip. YOU ARE UNDER GROUND. You spiraled down each floor to park. You will want UP to get out. The top button means UP and the bottom button means DOWN.  When you press them, that means you would like to go in that direction in the moving box room. 

5. Why are you taking a picture of the Louis Vuitton store? Between that and the shot of the staircase, I can tell all your pictures are going to suck. I should just steal your camera to put it out of it's misery.

6. Get out of my way. I'm trying to cross the street. Perhaps you might like Venice Beach or Disneyland? Why don't you go there instead. 


8. I hate you all, and I also hate the event company that is staging whatever bullshit premiere that has decided they need to not only block the street, but not allow anyone to CROSS the street. And is parking cars on the street diagonally, just as set dressing. Please die.

9. It is 11:56am and I now hate all of humanity. I hope you're happy, fuckers.