The Unvegan

Recent Posts

Feasting at Y Thao Garden Restaurant
Street Food Spotlight: Oyster Noodle Soup
Living in Green Heaven
Street Food Spotlight: Taiwanese Sausage

‘Pastrami’

Morning Glory at The Original Tops

Classic!
Classic!

The Original Tops is a classic countertop-style diner in Pasadena that would probably evoke nostalgic memories if you were from the area. As someone who is not from Pasadena, I at least get excited over the prospect of a new burger spot, especially a no-frills type of place that has stood the test of time like The Original Tops.

Chowing on Some Ugly Drum Pastrami

Slicing up.
Slicing up.

In a city filled with all kinds of fun events, one event (aside from a plethora of farmer’s markets) can be counted on every week. It’s Smorgasburg, which originally started over in Brooklyn, and it’s kind of like a miniaturized, hipster version of 626 Night Market. On my first venture, I made my way to Ugly Drum Pastrami.

Perfect Pastrami at Katz’s?

Two-tone.
Two-tone.

In the world of great Kosher-style pastrami, the list almost always begins with Katz’s, with very few others even coming close. This is an insane New York bias and after years of proclaiming Langer’s in LA to be the greater of the two, I finally had a chance to put my money where my mouth is (pun very much intended).

Herding Sheep at the Pasadena Sandwich Company

No sheep here.
No sheep here.

It’s no secret that Pasadena isn’t quite flush with Jews. That might be related to the fact that the Hebrews were banned from living in the place until more recent times, but who can really know. What is know, though, is that without Jews there is a certain lack of amenities like good bagels and Jewish delis. Fortunately, the Pasadena Sandwich Company is there to at list fill part of the niche of the Jewish deli.

A Hot Dog Burrito at The Slaw Dogs

No slaw here.
No slaw here.

Usually when a restaurant name includes something that I hate very much, I go into that restaurant expecting the worst. Yet, while I have never had any need for slaw, I somehow knew that The Slaw Dogs in Pasadena was going to be an experience to remember. Sure, there were all sorts of options that made my mouth water, but it was the throwback to Oki Dog that really got me excited.

The Hat Full of Pastrami

Any fries there?
Any fries there?

The Hat is one of those local LA fast food spots that has been around forever and seems to be in no rush to change. It has “World Famous Pastrami,” but is not limited to just one meat, because the place also serves burgers, roast beef dip and crazy big portions of sides. I mean crazy. Just look at that order of chili cheese fries on the left and try to comprehend how small the individual fries look.

A Big Boy Sandwich at Smallman Street Deli

Strange pastrami indeed.
Strange pastrami indeed.

Growing up near Detroit and then living in LA, I must admit I have been spoiled by good delis. Thus, when I moved to Pittsburgh I was shocked to learn that apparently the deli scene was pretty terrible. Because of this, it took me nearly two years to get to Smallman Street Deli – the biggest Jewish Deli in town.

Floating High at Szmidt’s Old World Deli (CLOSED)

Old World Pierogies.
Old World Pierogies.

When you think of an “old world deli,” what comes to mind? Perhaps some amazing cured meats? Italian or rye bread (depending on which part of the old world). Maybe cheeses that aren’t synonymous with Kraft or Velveeta? Root beer floats and pierogies probably don’t cross your mind, but when it comes to Szmidt’s Old World Deli, which has recently reopened in Downtown Pittsburgh, they are certainly worth trying.