Here’s J. Ritz’s cry for artisanal (lack of a better word) deli in LA.

Here’s New Yorker Dvora Meyer’s informative piece on what I call the ghetto pastrami scene in LA (Jim’s, George’s, The Hat).

And since a discussion of NY’s new hipster deli movement is certainly relatable to NYC, here’s D. Sax vs. Ozersky “debating” the issue. Of course, debating with Oz is a akin to arguing with an elephant, but D. Sax voted LA deli as a winner in the deli wars, so whenever he talks pastrami, Angelenos can beem with pride while listening. Of course, Sax supports the ilks of Miles End in historical versus modern deli debates, which makes him even more interesting than usual.

Jeff's Sausge Old Fashioned Pastrami

Here, in LA, it’s obvious Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage is a beacon of hope in the deli-forward movement. Granted, Jeff’s only offers its “old fashioned” pastrami three weeks out of the year, but the thought is there. I’m happy for Tribe members who get to showcase their skills at local shul’s brisket competition, but I’ve yet to find a way into a shul, or a temple school, so I can only hope for a taste in the future. The rest of us have to settle for Jeff’s, or for that rare occasion when Mr. Amdur’s shows up to a wine store with a side of brined beef.

Fortunately, as LA Times contrib C Thi Nguyen previously reported, Jeff’s old fashioned pastrami is damn glorious. It ain’t cheap, but half a pound of properly trimmed brisket never is. This is better than Katz’s pastrami. When you get lucky, it’s glaringly superior to Langer’s, especially considering it’s made in-house, every step of the way. Jeff’s manager himself says the quality still varies a bit batch to batch and requests feedback from many who come from dozens of miles away merely for a sandwich. On that particular day, it was a bit salty, but the pillowing rye alleviated the strain on the palate. Dangit, it was glorious. You know who’s fit to produce LA’s first historically proper pastrami? Sqirl. Someone petition TheKos to get this started. Lobster/uni crostinis might be lovable, but a legendary pastrami would be legendary.

The rest of the you, feel free to return to the Dorner coverage.

Jeff’s Gourmet
Facebook page for old-fashioned pastrami hunt
Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory on Urbanspoon



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  • Bigmouth

    Ex-New Yorker here. Langer’s is as good, or better than, Katz’s. And Big Mista BBQ is right up there with both. Still haven’t tried Jeff’s old fashioned (he never has it when I’m there) but the regular is not so impressive.

  • sinosoul

    Jeff’s old fashion pastrami is a very specific product. It’s available usually end of the year/beginning of the year, then it’s gone. And there’s no way to know if you don’t follow their twitter/facebook. It’s annoying, but it’s fully made in-house, unlike Langer’s, Jeff’s regular pastrami. Hence I used it as an example of the forward deli.

    I used to eat Katz’s monthly myself, then the girl told me the pastrami made her fat. Then I got tired of NY snow. Big fan of Big Mista’s, but it carries has the same problem as Jeff’s: mobility/elusiveness. Also, Jeff’s has a really proper rye which, obviously, Big Mista’s doesn’t have regular access to.

  • Bigmouth

    Ah… I gotcha. So the big difference is that, with Jeff’s old fashioned, every step of the process is done in house, as opposed to buying the meat pre-brined from elsewhere?

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