Orleans & York Deli

Untitled

Orleans & York Deli
4454 W Slauson Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90043
(323) 291-8800
orleansandyorkdeli.com

Once you get a hang of how things work, and used to the people who actively participate in the crowd-sourcing, Chowhound is an excellent source of unearthing new eats in town. I had some initial difficulties in finding new lunch spots near work, but after doing some research, I came across a place that was recommended in the forums and very much nearby: Orleans & York Deli. The name and the menu did worry me a little, since it seems like they’re trying to do both cajun/creole cuisine AND a variety of sandwiches they consider “New York” (hence the name of the restaurant). It also doesn’t help when there’s no restaurant in LA that truly does food from the Big Easy justice, so the place would be charting new waters.

While Orleans & York isn’t a full-scale cajun/creole restaurant, the food they serve that is within the realm of the cuisine is excellent – this po’ boy here can’t get enough of them po’ boys! The fried catfish one is very good, but it’s all about the fried shrimp po’ boy. Plump, well-seasoned and fried pieces of shrimp (they could be as large as 21/25, which is unprecedented for such a casual restaurant), fresh house-baked baguettes, and DAT HOT SAUCE – so hot. The sandwiches aren’t necessarily cheap – the po’ boys are $9-11 each, but they’re essentially footlongs, so you’re getting plenty for what you’re paying for. I haven’t tried the “New York” side of the menu, but my coworkers seem to be fairly satisfied with some of the offerings. But it’s like what my man Bubba said in Forrest Gump: “shrimp is the fruit of the sea” – and it’s plenty fruitful here.

Cuisine City/Neighborhood Price Grade
Cajun/Creole View Park/Windsor Hills $ B+

Orleans and York Deli on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Sorrento Italian Market

Untitled

Sorrento is like Bay Cities’ brother from the hood – in Culver City instead of Santa Monica, no pretty people crowding the place, plenty of parking, and mom & pop hardware store ambiance. But once you look past all that, some good stuff from the deli counter awaits you. There’s no awesome Italian bread made in-house or a wide assortment of combinations and varieties here, but you can get a sandwich here at Subway prices. And you can be sure that you’ll eat a good sandwich, in addition to eating fresh. Their cannoli is pretty good, too. Get a couple of them with your meatball sub.

Untitled

Chris Hei grade: B

Sorrento Italian Market
5518 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 391-7654

Sorrento Italian Market on Urbanspoon

Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory

Untitled

As part of my self-serving lunch section of the blog (since I’m really doing it to create more lunch options for myself), I polled a dozen of my coworkers on what their top 5 lunch spots were. I’ve been to most of their choices, or am fairly indifferent about the ones I haven’t been. But one choice, by coworker Melody, caught my attention immediately: Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory. She really recommended the place for their burgers, but I remembered reading about Jeff’s Gourmet re: the Kosher Corridor in LA Weekly, as well as the publication’s top 10 best hot dogs list (at #7). So last Thursday, I decided to give the place a go.

I was determined in ordering 1 of the gourmet sausages and 1 of the regular hot dogs, but while I was looking up the address of the place I stumbled upon this LA Times article. The article sung praises for Jeff’s old-fashioned pastrami sandwich, and it didn’t help the cause when coworker Han was coincidentally bragging about how he brought a Langer’s pastrami sandwich to lunch that day. For a wuss who proclaims himself as agnostic, I do have an affinity towards believing in “fated” events. And there it was on the specials board when I arrived at the restaurant: the old-fashioned. They callin’ me…

Determined to be a kosher fatty, I ordered an old-fashioned and a regular hot dog with grilled onions. First of all, the hot dog, while fairly standard, was pretty damn good. Jeff’s makes all of their hot dogs and sausages in-house, as well as cures and seasons their deli meats as well. In this case, the house-made aspect was evident – the hot dog had a cleaner taste than the street hot dogs I’m more accustomed to. But I didn’t write 300+ words so far to talk about the hot dog. It’s all about the old-fashioned here.

The sandwich was old-fashioned indeed: thick-cut pastrami slices with deli mustard on rye bread. It’s very easy to hear that and immediately discredit it as some cheap imitation of the legendary version that can be found at Langer’s (and understandably so). But while Langer’s has essentially perfected the execution of the cured and seasoned pastrami, Jeff’s takes a (literally) sloppier approach. The beautiful slices of pastrami are unapologetic-ally bursting with fat, loaded with enough juice to soak the toasted rye bread as if it was dipped a la Philippes. You pick up alternating hints of garlic and smoky flavors with each enormous bite, but the star is that fat. Kosher pork belly, if you will.

It’s not the cheapest of options at $15/sandwich, but such delicacy transcends a moot price point. I will definitely be back to try other items on their extensive menu (the boerewors sausage and the western burger in particular), but if that old-fashioned is there on the specials board, it’ll be might hard to say anything but l’chaim and submit to the Old Testament. In my search for a greater purpose in life at lunchtime during work hours, I have finally found my calling.

Untitled

The Old Fashioned Pastrami Special ($14.95) – a ½ pound of hand-carved garlicky pastrami on crusty rye bread with deli mustard. Served with cole slaw and a pickle.

Untitled

Jeff’s Kosher Dog ($3.25) + grilled onions

Chris Hei grade: A-

Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory
8930 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 858-8590

Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory on Urbanspoon

Langer’s Deli

Untitled

It embarrasses me to say this, but my visit to Langer’s in March was the first time I’ve eaten there. EVER. I’ve had their stuff via catering and to-go a long, long time ago, but never managed to dine in at the restaurant, nor order what they’re known for: the pastrami sandwich. I blame their hours – they’re only open until 4pm Mondays-Saturdays. Still, truly embarrassing for a LA native to have not visited what is arguably THE dining landmark in the city. And it’s not like it just slipped my mind, either. I hear their radio ads on 710 ESPN every damn day.

I forgot how it transpired, but one Saturday afternoon, Daniel, Kevin, and myself just decided to go to Langer’s. We had mentioned going there on multiple occasions, but the idea wasn’t really premeditated. Just one of those abstract ideas you throw out there and expect everyone to forget about it. But there we were, suddenly determined to follow through. We went shortly before the restaurant closed at 4pm (around 3pm I think), but there was still a line out the door. Luckily, we only had to wait a few minutes before being seated.

My first thought: this place is much smaller than I envisioned. Guess that’s one reason why they’re always so busy. They are, after all, considered to be the best deli in town (or even the nation, according to some). I got the #19, which is pastrami on rye with Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing (their most famous and popular item). I’m ususally more of an old-fashioned person when it comes to my pastrami sandwich, which means just meat and bread, but everything just worked here. Of course, the highlights of the sandwich was still the meat and bread.

I read, shortly after my visit, that neither the meat or bread is made in-house (which is understandable, seeing how big the place is). That might seem like a negative (certainly brought my pastrami high down a little), but after thinking about it, the key aspect here is really what Langer’s does with what they’re given. I mean, a prototype wide receiver in the NFL can be 6’5″ and run a 4.4 40-yard dash, but all of that means nothing if he can’t produce on the field. Langer’s is able to utilize those given gifts and generate maximum output. The Calvin Johnson of all delis.

First of all, let’s talk about the meat. They’re thick-cut, fatty slices with a nice pepper crust. The meat itself is succulent and nicely seasoned, without being overly salty. There has to be a special way they’re steaming or preparing the pastrami, or else there would’ve been many imitators along the way. Then that rye bread, that pillow-soft bread with the crunchy crust. How do they manage such a perfect contrast? Double-baking, homie. Not a radically new concept, but one I’ve never seen utilized outside reading Yakitate!! Japan (manga about baking bread – don’t laugh at me, it’s good).

Veni, vidi, vici – finally, I came, I saw, and I conquered Langer’s Deli. I think I’m going to try it without all of the extras next time, just to see how much better I can truly appreciate the meat itself. But even in its somewhat overkill state, the #19 at Langer’s manages to leave all other deli sandwiches I’ve ever had in its dust. It’s amazing how execution of something so simple and (fairly) economical can delivery such gastronomic pleasures. Now if Langer’s would only open for 24 hours like Canter’s…

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Chris Hei grade: A-

Langer’s Deli
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050

Langer's Deli on Urbanspoon

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

A few weeks ago, I came home and had this waiting for me on the dining table, courtesy of Eugenia and Linh-Nam. I’ve been wanting to try what is arguably the most popular sandwich in LA (The Godmother), but have heard horror stories regarding the wait. Sure, you can order online, but I’m not going to fight a crowd to enter. Not for a sandwich. And certainly not this sandwich.

A lot of people in LA have claimed that The Godmother is the best sandwich in town. Imagine the sandwich as an all-star team of Italian ingredients: genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto, provolone. But like the case with all-star games, putting these stars together doesn’t necessarily mean that the game itself will be good. It was a good sandwich, but it just feels like every ingredient is fighting for attention. And as great as getting it with the works sounded, after an hour or so on the dining table, and all the condiments weighed down the sandwich and made it a bit soggy.

Still, there is no denying that there is a joy in eating such a behemoth of a sandwich. The bread is amazing, and each bite had every ingredient and condiment stacked on top of one another. A salty and sour bite at that, but really, quite delicious. But in the end, it’s just putting a bunch of things together. Not much to it. At least not worth going out of my way for. But I’ll be happy every time The Godmother shows up on the dining table.

Chris Hei grade: B

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-8279

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Deano’s Deli

8/30/11I didn’t have time to eat lunch on Tuesday (due to picking up new pair of glasses), so I had to resort to Deano’s Deli in front of bebe. Having never heard of the food truck, and not being particularly interested in what they were serving, I was strongly considering forgoing having lunch that day. But I was REALLY hungry after getting back to the office, so I figured it was worth a shot since it was either this or something from Ralph’s. And there wasn’t a line, so I wouldn’t have to wait too long.

PhotoI believe that they’re a relatively new food truck (only two reviews on Yelp, and no food blogger reviews so far – surprise given the number of self-proclaimed critics in L.A. who want to be the first to report on all things food), so there wasn’t any research to be done. All I knew was that the sandwiches were quite pricey, but I wanted some variety. So I essentially paid $13 for a whole sandwich. Was it worth it?

MeatballMeatball ($7 half) – provolone, marinara, hot peppers

The trucks peeps suggested this, one of their specials. Unfortunately, not impressed at all. The meatballs were a bit bland and the marinara sauce had no flavor at all. The only flavor evident was the sourness from the “hot” peppers, and the bread didn’t go well with everything else. How sad, considering my love for meatball subs.

Roast BeefRoast Beef ($6 half) – cheddar, fried green tomatoes, horseradish mayo

Much better than the meatball. The roast beef itself was rarer than the usual roast beef, although the flavor was somewhat light. The sharp cheddar was a surprise choice to go with roast beef, but not bad. Horseradish mayo, on the other hand, was anything but a surprise to go with roast beef, and not bad as well. It didn’t look like the fried tomatoes were actually green tomatoes, but the fried slices gave the sandwich a nice crunch, which the stale bread was unable to do.

I wanted to give Deano’s Deli a B-, since it’s not pretty to knock on a business (I know firsthand from formerly being in the restaurant industry myself), let alone a new one. The roast beef was probably a B- on its own, but the meatball was a C at best. And with new places I try, I’ve noticed that I tend to NOT give them the benefit of the doubt. This is probably a self-imposed defense mechanism to lower my expectations for possible future visits, and to imagine giving these places something to strive for. I hope Deano’s Deli takes the time to develop their sandwiches (because there can never be enough sandwich places), and maybe I’ll stop by again if they’re near my work next time. Good luck guys.

Chris Hei grade: C

Deano’s Deli

Canter’s

Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Ave. has been open since 1931, becoming a L.A. landmark and celebrity/tourist attraction along the way. I’ve been going there since I was in high school, since I went to Fairfax High and lived nearby for a few years, and make the occasional visit from time to time, even today. Although it probably doesn’t have the best pastrami in town anymore (public opinion has Langer’s winning the title for the last decade or so), it’s still a great place to have a deli sandwich, especially late night (it’s open 24 hours).

Like I said before, Canter’s probably doesn’t have to best pastrami in L.A. anymore (although I reserve final judgment until I go to Langer’s – haven’t been back in about a decade), but it definitely retains the silver medal. Sorry Alex Adams, there’s no way Junior’s is better. My usual go-to item to get is the “for dedicated fressers only,” which is corned beef and pastrami piled high on rye, with sides of coleslaw and potato salad. There isn’t a more appetite-filling late night meal than this giant of a sandwich. The quality of the deli meats are a bit inconsistent at times, but it’s never a disappointment. Just a solid deli all-around. The selection for the bakery is noteworthy as well, so don’t forget to pick up something for the sweet tooth after.

Chris Hei grade: B

Canter’s Delicatessen and Restaurant
419 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 651-2030

Note: credit LAist for the photo.