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My tour of LA delicatessens

-March 24, 2011

Over the last two weeks, I flew from Boston to Los Angeles twice. The first trip was for the OFCNFOEC conference, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The following week, I attended the Measurement Science Conference. These conferences attract completely different sets of engineers. OFCNFOEC is for the fiber-optics industry while MSC attracts calibration and metrology people.On each trip, I spent three evenings in LA. Of those six evenings, I ate dinner at five different delicatessens. My motivation for the LA deli tour came after reading Save the Deli by David Sax last year. In his book, Sax tours the US and Canada tasting deli food and he reports on his findings. He also claims that LA has overtaken New York as the best deli city.

In truth, my LA deli tour started in March 2010 when I visited Factor’s Deli before heading to LAX for a flight home. That was following a week when OFCNFOEC and MSC were on the same week and I had only one night for deli food. Here were my deli stops.

March 2010: Factor’s on W. Pico
March 7, 2011: Izzy’s on Wilshire in Santa Monica
March 8, 2011: Canter’s on N. Fairfax
March 9, 2011: Greenblatt’s on Sunset
March 15, 2011: Fromin’s, also on Wilshire in Santa Monica
March 17, 2011: Pico Kosher on W. Pico

At all six delis, I started with a deli staple, matzoh ball soup. Next came a different deli sandwich every night–well almost. I’ll say this for LA delis: They all make good soup, yet each was different. Canter’s had the largest matzoh ball I’ve ever seen. See photo. The squares in the soup are reflections from the ceiling. The soup didn’t have much else in it, but then it didn’t need anything. Izzy’s and Pico Kosher were also favorites for soup. Both had noodles and carrots.
Matzoh Ball Soup

As far as the sandwiches, Izzy’s had excellent roast beef and the rye bread was soft inside and crusty outside. Greenblatt’s had some good crusty rye surrounding the turkey. Canters rye was kind of soft on the outside, but the corned beef  was great.

At Fromin’s, I tried the pastrami. Now I haven’t eaten pastrami in years and perhaps I’ve grown intolerant of such fatty meat. It was the only sandwich I didn’t finish. Pico Kosher’s roast beef was also somewhat fatty, more so than Izzy’s.

There were two other delis that I wanted to visit, but ran out of time. They are Langer’s, which they and Sax claim has the world’s best pastrami, and Nate ‘n Al. Unfortunately, Langer’s closes at 4 pm (Canter’s and Izzy’s are open 24 hours). I also would like to return to Factor’s because of the year gap between my visit there and the others. As I recall, I also enjoyed their chicken soup and sandwich.

To be continued, probably in 2012 unless another LA trip comes up this year.

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