9: Pastrami on Rye at Langer's Delicatessen.
Dozens of food writers and chefs, many greater than ourselves, have said it before: Langer's Delicatessen doesn't just have some of the best pastrami in Los Angeles, but possibly the world. A recent trip to New York, which included a spectacular but ultimately second-fiddle pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli, served only to prove this rapidly spreading hypothesis.
Located on the eastern edge of MacArthur Park, surrounded by street vendors selling everything from fresh tostones to bootleg DVDs, Langer's is a relic of old Los Angeles. It's waitresses are charmingly brash; the doors shut at 4 p.m. sharp. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
Some patrons might push first-timers to order the #19, a combination of Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and coleslaw. This is a mistake, though still quite delicious. Instead opt for impeccable minimalism and order the plain pastrami sandwich, made with layers of impossibly tender beef speckled with fat and fragrant with pepper and curing spices. Slices as thick as dominoes sit between two slices of fresh rye bread -- a smear of mustard is all you need. Why fly 3,000 miles for steak when you've got pastrami at home?
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