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.
I must confess that I have lived quite literally two minutes (by foot) from Victor’s Meats & Delicatessen for the past six months, yet had not once set foot in the place until this past weekend. “Why?” you ask. Well, the answer isn’t simple. It’s also not difficult, because there is no answer save for my foolishness. And it is pure foolishness because Victor’s is a dream come true.
While part of the place is straight-up butcher, Victor’s also serves up sandwiches and assorted pre-cooked foods and salads and such. I was in for a sandwich, but I got more than I expected.
After a long day of repenting and fasting, I needed a good Jewish meal to remind my body and mind what eating felt like. Since we were attending a comedy show later that night at The Laugh Factory, we decided to go to an ancient little deli next door called Greenblatt’s. And when I say ancient, I meant it’s been there since 1926. That means when my grandma was living in LA in the late ’40s, it was already old and she remembers its existence. To survive for 85 years anywhere, let a lone a big city where change is the only contant is quite impressive. I was eager to find out what kept Greenblatt’s ticking and to satiate my fully empty stomach.
For a nice little Sunday brunch with the grandparents in Beverly Hills, we headed to an LA icon. This icon is Nate ‘n Al and it’s been hanging out in Beverly Hills since before the hillbillies. Started in 1945 by two good old fashioned Detroiters named Al Mendelson and Nate Reimers, Nate ‘n Al brings the comfort of Detroit delis to Southern California. Supposedly. But I would be the judge of that.
Although I am well aware of the crazy mix of people residing in North Hollywood, I was still amazed when I discovered the clientele at Jack’s Classic Hamburgers. A moderate walk from my office, I knew this would be a perfect place for me before I even saw the menu. This was because 1) they were mostly men and 2) they all seemed to be blue collar men. No yuppies in white shirts and skinny ties here. Instead of that, there were construction workers, cable men, an Iron Mountain driver and finally a dude who might have been related to Dog the Bounty Hunter. I was a little ashamed having come from my well-ventilated desk job, but I was ready to devour a burger just as manly as any of these guys.