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.
Around the LA area and the surrounding region is a small group of hot dog spots called Dog Haus. Despite the fact that this seems to portray some sort of Germanic hot dog spot, it’s really just a place for some creative hot dogs and burgers. And while the burgers were actually looking mighty fine, I just had to stick with the hot dog part of the menu.
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.
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.
Situated right next to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philly is the Reading Terminal Market, which falls in many ways somewhere between LA’s Grand Central Market and New York’s Chelsea Market. Inside is a load of delicious scents and sights, ranging from BBQ to Middle-Eastern food. Just as I was about to make my way to BBQ, a friend of mine pointed me to Hershel’s East Side Deli, a Jewish deli that I just had to eat as after setting my eyes upon it.
One of the biggest complaints that, like, anyone who moves to LA has is the lack of breweries. And by breweries I mean the micro variety that pump out tasty, local brews. You see, good microbreweries are about more than just beer, they also churn out delicious food. Fortunately, Torrance has a little place called Red Car to fill the void.
EDIT: Umamicatessen has become Umami Broadway and is more or less now just a glorified Umami Burger from what I hear.
The word “Umamicatessen” is quite a mouthful. And I’m pretty sure that’s what the people behind Umami Burger were thinking when they put together a deli in downtown LA. They were thinking, “We want to fill mouths with delicious deli food, while preserving the Umami name.” To me, that’s quite the name to maintain, because Umami is still my favorite burger in LA. Plus, while LA doesn’t have the big name delis of New York, there is still some stiff competition from the likes of Langer’s.
A while back, I wrote a glowing review of Langer’s Deli and their legendary pastrami. Well, it seems they are having themselves a bit of a 65th birthday! Situated in MacArthur Park, it is truly a testament to their pastrami that they have survived. But while turning 65 is usually time for retirement, Langer’s is going a different route and offering their famous pastrami sandwich for free!
While there is a lot of buzz in the food world today about The Oinkster‘s Burger Week (in which they do their own take on classic burgers from around the country), I just made it to The Oinkster myself for the first time last week to see about their real menu. It was my first time in Eagle Rock and was nothing short of an eye-opening experience. The Oinkster itself resides in a building that was once a typical LA-style fast food burger joint and still retains much of that charm. It calls itself a purveyor of “slow fast food” and I had been wanting to check it out for just about as long as I’ve been aware of its existence.
Over in New Jersey, they like to deep fry their hot dogs. When I found out about this I first thanked the heavens that the state has contributed something to the world besides Jersey Shore. Then I bided my time until I could make the journey out to Reseda to try one of these deep fried “rippers.” You see, Reseda is home to Fab Hot Dogs, where they ship their rippers straight from New Jersey. These rippers are specially made for deep frying and no normal dog will suffice. Of course, Fab Hot Dogs serves tube steaks from other regions of the country (conspicuously missing Detroit Coney Dogs), but on my first time I needed a ripper.