Langer’s – Los Angeles
I have been wanting to find excuses to visit LA more often. The area has been too overwhelming for me to handle, especially dealing with traffic and parking.
Luckily, Ted’s had some experience with the area, and insisted that Langer’s was the place to go for the best pastrami sandwich. Yes, better than New York! This, I had to see and taste for myself and we made a culinary weekend of it.
We start with the happy chap himself, sitting at the table waiting for the #19 pastrami sandwich to come out. We were also sitting near the official chair for Al Langer to use when he dined here. Up at the counter, with his name embroidered on the seat.
The sandwiches were indeed divine. The ever popular #19, with slices of pastrami, creamy coleslaw and cheese seemed to melt in our mouths. The bread, a rye that’s brought in par-baked and finished on site, was warm yet finely crisp on the crust. Delightful to bite into.
We also ordered the #88, corned beef with sauerkraut and swiss, served hot. Everything was nice and melty. The sauerkraut added more zing to the sandwich, compared to #19. Both were good, but #19 may have been better, with the sweeter coleslaw that didn’t taste as heavy as the sauerkraut.
The waitress also noted our cameras and asked if we were writers. I mentioned my piddly little food blog, but it was enough for her to offer for us to meet the manager, Norman Langer. He was extremely nice, and talked of some of Langer’s history in Los Angeles, how it indeed was considered better than the New York delis (and I have had the pastrami at Katz’s. I think it’s close, but perhaps Langer’s is better!), and then imparted some of the details on their fabulous sandwich preparation, which is how we learned about the par-baked rye bread.
Finally we asked the question I’m sure he heard all the time, “what’s the difference between corned beef and pastrami?” He first pointed to the answer written in the menu. Then he told us.
And if you’re curious: their corned beef/brisket comes from two layers of meat around the breast plate of the cow. Their pastrami comes from the steer, from a different cut of meat, closer to the belly. And it uses different spices.
I was feeling plenty vindicated on my complaint that LA’s driving and parking sucks, due to the asstrocious driving and parking we experienced getting there, but there WAS free parking to be had, just for Langer’s customers. For lo, there is a paid lot half a block away that waives the first hour’s fee with validation from Langer’s. Bless them.
And it is very possible to be in and out in under an hour. The staff makes very quick work of getting you seated, getting food to your table, and settling the bill – with a friendly reminder to get your parking stub validated.
Langer’s (Westlake area)