The Unvegan

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A Late-Night Feast at Johnnie’s Pastrami

Unvegan paradise.
Unvegan paradise.

Every once in a while, it’s good that the Taco Bell nearest to me isn’t 24-hours. If it weren’t for that, I never would have gone to Johnnie’s Pastrami and found one of the greatest sandwiches in the world. Located in Culver City, Johnnie’s is open 24 hours and ready to serve a hungry clientele.

I entered with a group of five and we squeezed into a four-person booth. The not-exactly friendly waitress handed us our menus, but I already knew I would be getting the French Dip Pastrami that is featured in Johnnie’s neon sign. I really only looked at the menu to see the price, which was a surprising $10.50 for the sandwich. I guess breaking out of the Taco Bell comfort zone also risks spending more money. I asked the waitress if the sandwich was just the meat and bread, and she said yes. Not even onions. Perhaps I had died and gone to heaven.

Within minutes, I was presented with a beautiful sandwich that made me forgot about the money. I would have paid $10.50 just to look at this work of art. The bread was fluffy and overloaded with pastrami. My foolish friend that made the mistake of ordering a cheeseburger, looked at my sandwich in awe. The one thing I noticed to be missing was some au jus for dipping. The waitress told me it was pre-dipped, but I could get some on the side. I took a test bite and decided this was unnecessary. The pastrami was perfectly juicy and I didn’t want to risk upsetting the balance of bread and juicy meat.

Halfway through the sandwich, I had to make a crucial decision about whether I should finish the beauty or take her home. I decided that the memory of the sandwich might be ruined through refrigeration and reheating, so with the help of my hapless hamburger-eating friend, we destroyed what was left of the sandwich.

In the end, the only thing I could’ve wished for was friendlier service, however, at 2:30 in the morning, the most important thing was to find some good food. Johnnie’s Pastrami certainly delivered on that end.