7. Brent's Delicatessen
Since 1967, this stalwart deli has catered to the fresser
in all of us; they're not messing around with their gigantic sandwiches. There are more than six combos on the menu that incorporate pastrami, including the triple decker heart attack of hot pastrami and chopped liver that's worth every dangerous bite. Ess gezunt.
( But no matter which version you order, leave the vine-ripened tomato off.) What you're served is moist, medium-thin slices of lightly smoked meat with a rich finish. If the portions seem extreme, you can order a half sandwich with a robust bowl of soup instead. The rye bread, which is perfectly lovely, is brought in from Delicious bakery. Since your're there, may was well pick up a loaf to make another sandwich from your leftovers. 19565 Parthenia St., Northridge; (818) 886-5679.
6. Eastside Market Italian Deli
Walk into the dimly-lit Eastside Market on a weekday and you'll instantly feel secure - mostly because almost every other patron will be a police officer, EMT or fire fighter. Seriously, if a crime were committed on the dark side of this building, nobody would ever know, as all eyes are on the behemoth sandwiches. This Italian-ish mish-mash of meat and bread is drenched in tangy red marinara sauce and topped with unmelted cheese - and is not for the faint of heart. New Yorkers may lament that it isn't on par with what they get at home, but Dodger fans know it's the ideal pre-game meal. Sandwiches are $8.20 and the harried but exceptionally kind counter-people hand the food over in a hurry, as long as you bring cash. 1013 Alpine St., Los Angeles; (213) 250-2464.
5. The Oinkster
Both outposts of Andre Guerrero's The Oinkster serve three versions of a pastrami sandwich. With cheese or without, you'll get a neatly packed pile of slow-smoked, medium-thin sliced pastrami.The juicy meat has only a hint of wood-fire clinging to it, but just enough to remind you of its long journey to the plate. At this carnvores' emprorium, (also home to some exceptional french fries) you are well advised to leave your vegetarian friends at home - and get your glutton on. 2005 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; (323) 255-6465.