Looking for a great Jewish Deli in Downtown LA that is open Late! – Langer’s

Langer’s arguably makes the best traditional pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles. In my opinion they do have the best jewish deli sandwiches. I have been to Canter’s, Nate N Al’s, and Jerry’s deli – but I know I am missing one or two in the Valley. I would even compare Langer’s to Katz’s in New York City. But I think Katz beats Langer’s, by a hair. I like the service that Katz has better – where you walk up and order and the guy gives you a small plate sample of the meats. (oh gosh my mouth is watering). . . .back to Langer’s

They have been around for over 60 years. I was reading, at one point, there were open late. When the neighborhood changed, for the worse, the owners, still the same ones, were forced to close early – at 4pm. I asked our waitress if they had thoughts about returning to dinner hours and late night schedules, with new influx of residents in downtown Los Angeles. And she still said no. I do hope they would consider opening for dinner and late night crowds. Hot pastrami sandwiches are great late night drunk fare.

I can’t explain it, but pastrami beef is one of the few cured and prepared meats that goes good if sliced thinly or thickly. The thin sliced pastrami is what you find at the Hat of Alhambra, Tops of Pasadena, and Johnnie’s of Culver City. The thick pastrami is the more traditional jewish cut, found at Canter’s, Nate N Al’s, and Langer’s. Personally, I like the traditional thick cuts. I believe texture is quite important to the eating experience. Thin sliced pastrami seems to fall apart too easily when you pick it up and when you eat it. Sometimes when you bite into the sandwich the little pieces – might often be more tough than you want. Whereas the thick cut pastrami, is expected to have the same texture all around and won’t typically fall apart. But I do like the Hat’s dipped buns (in the au jus) which gives it a more juicy and squishy feel in your mouth. But for me, my ultimate preference has to be with undipped Rye bread with sauerkraut and russian dressing. For whatever the reason, this combination – which I had for the first time just recently, does it for me. The flavors just melt together in this perfect storm of tanginess, sourness, and savoriness – with this unique taste sensation.

Anyways. . . .just go Langer’s. Make the trip out there. Deal with the crappy neighborhood and useless parking situation. You won’t regret it.

Check out this perfect pastrami. The meats are piled high with the coleslaw. Thank you Mr. B.Y. for this nice image. My camera couldn’t get focused correctly.

Here is the sign right outside near MacArthur park in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, their parking lot is a block away.
I love these old fashion coke glasses they still use. Same cool shape and all.
Check out the sauerkraut with the russian dressing. Amazing combination and taste.
My friend got the juicy Pastrami dipped sandwiches. But I prefer mine with lots of mustard on rye.

Here’s my sandwich with the rye. The Rye bread’s nutty flavor coupled with the mustard and savoriness of the pastrami give it a unique taste.

704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050

Langer's on Urbanspoon
Langer's Deli in Los Angeles

Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer’s Market

Wednesdays in Santa Monica mean one thing – Farmer’s Market day! The Wednesday Market is one of the largest and most diverse grower’s only markets in the state. Their website also states that some of the, after more than 20 years, some of the best known chefs and restaurants have frequented this market. KCRW also has a weekly show – Evan Kleiman’s Good Food about the market update with Laura Avery. She will talk with some of the growers about what’s fresh and speak to one of the local chefs about a favorite recipe.

Each season brings a variety of fruits and vegetables. You won’t find the same things each month. These expert growers, most of whom are organically certified or non-pesticide, come with truckloads of goodies for home cooks and restaurant buyers. You can also find some meats – buffalo, pork, beef as well as nuts, flowers, herbs, and juices.

Today, I saw some great peaches, nectarines, plums, and figs. In addition I saw some golden raspberries and raw milk. I saw lots of different sized eggplants and some mini potatoes that caught my eye. Lots of the vendors were letting people try their fares.

It was a fun little morning just to walk around looking at the different fruits and vegetables. I encourage all of my friends to find a farmer’s market to check out. The best place to park is at the 2nd avenue parking structure.

Check out my previous post about other farmer’s markets in the Southern California area.

Most of the time I didn’t know what I was looking at. These appeared to be onion bulbs with their stems.

Here’s a picture of some fresh pomegranate juice. They had apple pomegranate and orange pomegranate juice, too. I was recommended the apple pomegranate. Pomegranate has some of the best anti-oxidants . . . I think.
Check out these baskets of peppers, eggplants, squash, and red things and yellow things.
I thought these were great – mini potatoes, called pee-wees!
You start your own herb garden with some of these varieties. I think I saw at least two different herb vendors.

Tables and tables of fruits and vegetables. Check out the cucumbers and squash. I was recently told that cucumbers make great garnishes for Gin and Tonics – my favorite drink.

Even on a Wednesday, you’ll see loads of people. Santa Monica was bustling today.

Check out these flowers. . .tuberose?. . . I have never even heard of these before. . .but they smelled kinda good.
I really liked the colors at this table. The golden raspberries were pretty interesting and had a great subtle flavor.
You could see a variety of different people from all types of backgrounds. I even saw Laura Avery walking around.

Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer’s Market
Arizona Ave & 2nd St.
Santa Monica

Wurstküche – “You USE what kind of meat?”

Wurstküche, located near little Tokyo, recently opened in the past year. They fill the void, here in Los Angeles, of a needed german influenced Sausage & Beer house. I could be wrong . . . but that’s what I feel. With the back room of wood benches and flowing beers, on tap, Wurstkuche almost has the feel of a Beer Hall.

In this unassuming building in the re-zoned industrial area of Los Angeles, Wurstküche dreams up some crazy sausages with exotic meats. Buffalo, Alligator, Duck, and Rattlesnake names jump at you from their menu, but appear to be normal menu items. One thing I liked is the different type of mouthwatering mustards available. I don’t usually like mustard, but it goes really well on sausage. I personally liked the Whole Grain and Dijon. Along with the different mustards, they also feature multiple dipping sauces for their great fries. These fries are also really good as well. Not sure what else to say about them, they’re just yummy. In addition, they also have a great selection of beers – Belgium and German Beers, on tap, too!

I had the Duck & Bacon with Jalapeño Pepper sausage which was good. I remember it being better with the mustard than without, but I guess that’s personally preference. My friend had the Kielbasa sausage, which was actually a bit better than mine. Like I said before, the fries were great – with the sauces. They also had a nice selection of bottle sodas.

Anyways. . . They are planning to open later than their midnight closing for the late night apres clubbing crowd. They have lots of street parking and is conveniently located in Downtown Los Angeles.

This is my Duck & Bacon with Jalapeño Peppers. The peppers and onions also are available for each sausage.

Here’s a pic with the fries and another sausage.

Chimay Beer is one of the better beers, IMO. And I’m not a big beer drinker.
Here’s some of the non-alcoholic drinks they have – the bottled sodas. They also have wine.

Wurstküche Restaurant
800 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-4444

Wurstküche on Urbanspoon

Wurstkuche in Los Angeles

Tacos El Gallito – the Late Night Savior

Recently, after a night of fun and drinks, we were looking for a place to grub on. Some of the time, we usually go to a Cantonese cafe in Monterey Park or Alhambra to get our late night fix. But this night, we decided on Tacos!!!

Tacos El Gallito is a taco truck located on Fair Oaks in Pasadena. They have a wide range of Mexican specialities. Brain, Beef, Chicken, Pork, etc. in the form of burritos and tacos. Not wanting to have a brick in my stomach, I decided on a couple of tacos. Since I don’t eat much beef, I settles on the Carnitas and Al Pastor – both pork.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell the difference between Tacos El Gallito and King Taco. To me, with the untrained Mexican taste, they are very similar. Coupled with the late night cravings with the buzz from the alcohol, just an hour ago. . . Tacos El Gallito is the best thing EVER – well at that time for me, at least.
Anyways. . . since it is in Pasadena, Tacos El Gallito is a nice little late night joint that I would recommend to anyone.
Here is a carne asada burrito that a friend of mine had. Notice the mild green sauce. Red Sauce for me equals pain.

Here are the two sauces that you can choose from. Just looking at the red sauce is making my mouth water . . . from FEAR!

Here are the two tacos I got – Carnitas and Pastor. Carnitas are my favorite. If any place serves carnitas, you know I will be ordering it.
Here is their simple menu. I don’t know half of these items and I would be afraid to order them. What is Suadero. . . What is buche?
Here is the line of people outside the truck. Not a long wait . . . but it shows the popularity.

Tacos El Gallito
400 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Open Late!!! FTW

Plate By Plate 2009

Last Saturday, August 1st, at the California Science Center, I attended Project by Project’s annual Plate by Plate Food & Wine event. Theses were some of the snapshots – good quality and bad quality (iPhone camera). I hope you enjoy.

Overhead shot from the balcony near the silent auction. The California Science Center is a great venue. The large outdoor and indoor ambience make it great for this event.

I only wish there were more tables for people to eat and drink on. During the early summer evening hours, the natural light comes through. You can’t beat the summer evenings in Southern California.
You can see the line in front of Katsuya’s table. They had a shabu shabu plate. Their line was the longest. Personally, I don’t think the wait was worth it. But I stood in line, since I thought it had to be good. But it was one of the better offerings. Their presentation was great, with the hot water and the boiled vegetables.
Here you can see the reflection pool with the stage. They had some nice performers intermingled with the chatter from the crowd. I was impressed with J-Ricz’s vocals.
Here was the program with the wine glass & plate. The program was designed beautifully. Nice color selection and design.
This is a dessert from M Cafe. This was one of the last things I had. Nice to dish to finish the night.
I believe these two were from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. A well thought and carefully prepared sampling. I’ve been to Roy’s and I do think they have a unique menu.
This is bread pudding from Jamaica’s Cakes. It looked great with the sauce and the powdered sugar, but I felt that it was hard and difficult to eat.

This was my absolute favorite, from Mendocino Farms. They had two mini sandwiches – a pork on a roll and a BLT interpretation with heirloom vegetables. The BLT was great and tasty. I only wish I went back for seconds.

This was the shabu shabu from Katsuya. This particular table had the most excitement with the long line.
This was the provocative sign they put in front of the Katsuya table.

Xooro presented a yummy churro that was cream filled. I was surprised and considered this to be one of my favorite tastings of the night.

Tips on Attending a Food/Wine Festivals

Food & Wine Festivals in Southern California seem to come in bunches. You can always find these different events coupled with great charities. Tonight, i will be attending Project By Project’s Plate by Plate Annual event. Here are a few tips I put together for attending these outings.

Get your Tickets Early
When tickets are going onsale for these events, make sure you look early on their sites and any pre-events for early bird tickets. You can often find the best deals for these events. Though the proceeds go to a good cause, it never hurts to find a good deal

VIP Tickets
These tickets are worth their weight in gold. I like VIP tickets at these events just because it enhances your experience. The better service, the less of a wait, the quality of other VIP bonuses can make it worthwhile.

Good to Know Someone. . . who might know someone
Often times, these events are sponsored by some Major Corporations. And these corporations often give tickets to their customers and clients. I’ve personally been to a few events with this type of relationship.

Get there Early!
Festivals will, without a doubt, get crowded fast. It is strongly advisable to get there early to avoid long lines. Unfortunately, some wine makers and restauranteurs run out of their offerings. When you finally get to the wine you are salivating for and they run out, it just might ruin your mood.

Wear Comfortable Shoes
These events most often times, don’t have enough table, nor chairs for everyone, so expect to stand and eat/drink/chat/ogle. Comfortable shoes – and ones that are fashionable. . . are suggested for these social gatherings.

Dress Appropriately
Better to over dress than underdress. You don’t want to stand out being underdressed. My personal rule of thumb is . . .it is better to be overdressed than under. And taken from Notorious B.I.G. if you don’t know. . . . now you (know) should ask just to be safe.

Travel Lightly
As I said before about being expected to stand and eat/drink/chat/ogle. . . It helps to not have too many things to carry. Ladies, I suggest you bring a small handbag.

Bid on Silent Auctions at the Last Minute
These events almost always have silent auctions accompanied with the food and wine. If there is something you really want, look to bid on it at the last minute. But do your research early, to find what you like.

Interact with the Chefs
Look for wine makers, as well as chefs to interact with them. They might whip up something new and interesting that you haven’t tried. They could also convince you that their wine and restaurant is the place to be and try.

Do your research on the Purveyors
On the their website, do research on the restaurants and wines that you want to try. Make a mental list of what you target first and what are the “must try’s”. This can make your experience that much more memorable.

Project by Project
Plate by Plate
My other post about Project by Project’s Plate by Plate
The Food and the People
Upcoming Food & Wine Event – Plate by Plate, August 1st, 2009

Project by Project – The Food and People

Only 3 days till Plate by Plate!!! I can’t wait. It has been awhile since I attended their food/wine event. On this particular post, I was forwarded some great pictures of past events. I thought you guys might enjoy.

What I remember from past events, the lines weren’t long and crowded as other food/wine events. The venues – Pacific Design Center and the current California Science Center, were great choices. The light airy spaces provide great natural light in the early summer nights. The array of tables lined up with the center reflection pool make the California Science Center the ideal location for food and wine festivals.

In addition, being that Project by Project is heavily Asian Influenced, you’ll see some restaurants that aren’t normally at other festivals. You’ll taste Chinese, Japanese, and Korean specialities as well as more exotic Japanese Sakes and Thai Beers.

Here is a list of some of the Purveyors that I am looking forward to. . .
M Café
Japon Bistro
Hakutsuru Sake
Ozeki Sake
Singha Beer
Vavo Ginger Ale

One other nice little bonus. . . Project by Project caters toward the young Asian professional in the Los Angeles area . . . while most other food/wine events have a “higher” age demographic. This means you’ll see more younger and pretty people. . .

Project by Project, a 100 percent volunteer- Asian Pacific American non-profit organization, will host its seventh annual tasting benefit, branded Plate by Plate, in Los Angeles. Leaders of the restaurant business and their executive chefs from across Southern California will gather for a special evening to showcase their culinary artwork to benefit Project by Project’s 2009 non-profit community partner – Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program. All net proceeds from admission and auction purchases of the event will benefit API SBP (http://www.apisbp.org) to help the organization strengthen its foundation and mission to assist the development of Asian and Pacific Islander small and micro businesses in Los Angeles, especially those of low income immigrants of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Filipino communities.

California Science Center – Wallis Annenberg Building
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Saturday, August 1st, 2009
6-7pm VIP Reception
7-10pm Main Plate By Plate Event

$150, $275 (VIP)
$200 day of the event

Check out the Project by Project facebook page . . . http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2229201573

Marked 5 and their Rice Burgers!

The latest craze in Los Angeles are the “taco trucks” that roam around serving delicious food. One such truck is called Marked5.

Marked5 serves a simple menu consisting of a Torakku Beef burger, Katsu Pork burger, Torakku 5 Tofu Burger and a Curried Chicken burger. In addition, they have shrimp chips that go along with each of the “burgers”. Their Torakku Beef burger is their best selling burger made from Angus beef. As some of you know, I am not a big fan of beef – therefore this one didn’t exactly woo me. But then I tried the Katsu Pork burger. This one, with the suggested Sriracha hot sauce, was great! This one was clearly one of my most memorable “burgers”. I don’t usually like hot sauce on anything – since I can’t take it. . .but I must admit the spiciness and the sweetness with the tonkatsu sauce was perfect. Yet, I did feel, that this particular burger was a bit “wet” – though I didn’t mind the messiness. The curry chicken one was nice, nothing special . . .could have been a bit more spicy. It lacked some flavor. . . I guess people walking around don’t necessarily want that heavy curry mouth breath. The shrimp chips are quite nice. I liked them a lot. I remember having them as a kid. If you are asian, you ought to know about fried shrimp chips. Most Caucasians don’t know about shrimp chips. These are light and fun to eat.

The reason why I kept use ” for burgers . . .is that the “buns” they use are made from packed rice that’s fried. This concept is not new. I first saw this used for buns, when I was in Taiwan. There’s a Japanese fast food restaurant called Mos Burger. And they use rice buns. The rice buns are great. They are warm to the touch and hold the food together quite well.
You can find more information about a similar Mos Burger here – http://www.mos.com.tw/yakinikuriceburger.htm

Marked5 was recently featured on the Video Podcast Vendr.tv – you can check them out here http://vendr.tv/video/marked5/. You can see Dan Delaney and David Ly on this episode.

You might ask, what is the meaning behind Marked5. I asked David Ly, of Marked5, and he told me that they want people to “mark” their food with “5” points – their fingers. This is to indicate hand held food. Marked(by)5 is the hand held mantra for future roll outs of different cuisines and offerings.

Follow them on Twitter to find out where they will be. I know I do . . .


Upcoming Food & Wine Event – Plate by Plate, August 1st, 2009

Going on 7 years now, Project By Project is one of the Los Angeles’s highlight food and wine events. Personally, I’ve been to 2 of their past events. This pleasant event features some of the better restaurants and wines, around.

The event, this year, will be centrally located in downtown Los Angeles – near USC at the California Science Center. I personally like this airy courtyard which is both somewhat outdoor and indoor.

Below you can see some images that of past events. I will post more about the event – mostly food. . . early next week. I do like this event, since the lines don’t get that crowded. I just hope that it isn’t too muggy or humid that night. Make sure you buy your tickets soon – check out the link below.

Project by Project, a 100 percent volunteer- Asian Pacific American non-profit organization, will host its seventh annual tasting benefit, branded Plate by Plate, in Los Angeles. Leaders of the restaurant business and their executive chefs from across Southern California will gather for a special evening to showcase their culinary artwork to benefit Project by Project’s 2009 non-profit community partner – Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program. All net proceeds from admission and auction purchases of the event will benefit API SBP (http://www.apisbp.org) to help the organization strengthen its foundation and mission to assist the development of Asian and Pacific Islander small and micro businesses in Los Angeles, especially those of low income immigrants of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Filipino communities.

California Science Center – Wallis Annenberg Building
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

August 1st, 2009
6-7pm VIP Reception
7-10pm Main Plate By Plate Event

$150, $275 (VIP)
$200 day of the event

The Saban Free Clinic The Extravaganza for the Senses 2009

Summertime in Los Angeles is the time for Food & Wine Events. One of the finest events is the The Extravaganza for the Senses by the Saban Free Clinic. They have been having their event for 14 years. They raise funds for their free medical clinics around Los Angeles. Like other Food & Wine events, several restaurants in and around Los Angeles participate with wineries from all over the world. They provide samplings of their best creations.

Some of my favorite plates for the evening were Dr. Bob’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs, and The Foundry. Dr. Bob’s Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream was probably the best vanilla ice cream that I have ever had. Serious. Period. I don’t know what it was. . .but it was quite tasty. Heck, I might even look for them in the future, just for their ice cream. Additionally, Mr. Cecil’s Ribs were quite good as well, they had a small slice of their beef ribs as well as a small baby back rib for each plate. In my humble opinion, Mr. Cecil’s has the best Beef Ribs. Perhaps with my limited California bbq ribs experience, I am a bit biased or I haven’t tasted many of the top Mid-west rib shacks. . . but i am willing to have Mr. Cecil’s up against anybody for their beef ribs. The Foundry had this mini grilled cheese sandwich with salsa – which was quite tasty. They used some sort of artisan bread with some expensive white cheese, but it was the salsa that made the sandwich.

Since I am not a big fan of wines, I don’t really remember drinking many wines that I liked. Thought I did have some Skyy Vodka throughout the night. The event, located at the Fox Studios outdoor lot, off of Pico Blvd, provided a nice outdoor summer setting. The cool night helped for most of the slightly buzzed wine drinkers.

This particular Food & Wine event also had a great silent auction. Other similar events didn’t have the wide range of items, nor the big ticket quality ones. They had a tech savvy way of doing their auction with bar codes with credit cards, which made it easier that other auctions.

In short, I think the food was a bit lacking, in comparison to other events, but the silent auction more than made up for the event. Tickets were $100. I’m not sure about their VIP tickets.


Johnny Rocket’s

I’m not sure what I would categorize Johnny Rocket’s. It’s similar to fast food, but you have waiter service. It’s similar to a dine-in restaurant, yet they mostly have burger and fries. I like Johnny Rocket’s for several reasons.

A. They have a consistent menu that is the same.
B. Their fries are some of the best around.
C. They can put a fried egg in your burger
D. They have old-fashion milk shakes

I don’t think I have to say much more. . .most of you know about Johnny Rockets and have been there before.

One last note. . . one place in West Los Angeles that features some of the same types of menus – perhaps Johnny Rocket’s copied. . .is the Apple Pan – just great burgers.

Johnny Rockets
400 S. Baldwin Drive
Arcadia, CA

Johnny Rockets on Urbanspoon