Pastrami, Glorious Pastrami




Pastrami Queen, NYC

Non Langer’s rye bread is truly horrific.


Langer’s rye is the ideal compared to which all others fall short.


Gjusta Pastrami Rueben


A friend of mine who lives in the valley wanted to go to Art’s for lunch. I haven’t been in forever so I said what the heck. The matzoh ball soup is only worth mentioning in that it sort of tasted like under seasoned pond water. The pastrami sandwich on the other hand…

Thinly sliced. Tender meat. Fat was well rendered Good flavor. The bread wasn’t amazing. But slap some deli mustard on it and it made for a really nice lunch. Bonus that there was zero line up the block at Salt and Straw.

Strawberry cilantro lime cheesecake tasted a lot better than it read. A nice way to deal with the famously oppressive heat in the SFV.


I like Art’s but I’ve found them very expensive in the past. How much are they charging for the pastrami sandwich?


The half soup/half sandwich combo was $18, I believe. With a couple dollar up-charge for that woeful soup.


I took my lovely bride out for her first pastrami sandwich ever on Saturday. Only Langer’s would do.


Wow. A pastrami virgin. And here in California, America.


I know. I was shocked. Part of it has to do with the fact that she doesn’t come from a family of diverse eaters, and her ex has issues with food that I willl never understand. I’ve introduced her to Vietnamese, Korean, foie, and oysters just to name a few. She’s loved it all, and it’s been a blast watching her try and enjoy so many new things.


The proverbial match made in heaven.


More than you know. I never really believed much in the whole “marry your best friend thing”. I was wrong.


So how did she like the pastrami sandwich? My wife and I were involved in a ménage (or mange) a trois with pastrami in our salad days!


Went to Refuge in San Carlos after hearing some speak of “best pastrami” up north…

Well, the sandwich was pretty good - thick cut rye, decent quality/nice chew & toast, and overall sandwich components were good. But the pastrami itself tasted more like corned beef. Real lack of smoke and pepper esp. when compared to Pastrami Queen, and not nearly as luscious as Langers/PQ either.

That patty melt saved the day though.


I’ve told this story in detail as to the circumstances back in the day on CH. I like to joke that I fell in love with my wife on our second date. Due to circumstances, we stopped at a Tommy’s for a quick meal on our way to our date destination. She was new to California and had no idea what Tommy’s was, but was game even after I cautiously described and offered her an out to go elsewhere. She gamely told me to order her exactly what I would get.

There we were sitting across from each other on a picnic table out in the open in a chilly November night. We each had a double chili cheese burger, chili cheese fries and a large coke. She was dressed nicely but dove right in. As I watched her match me bite for bite, all I could think of was “I’m in love!”


Any well-dressed date who is willing to square off with a full-on Tommy’s meal is a keeper for sure! I know some folks will name their kids after places where couples first met, fell in love, etc.

“Meet my son, Tommy. His middle name? Rampart…”


Once took the president of my company to Tommy’s. Fun to watch the chili fries slide across the table in their heavenly greasiness.


That’s pretty much what I thought. Excellent product, delicious sandwich, did not satisfy my pastrami craving. What I had was smokier than traditional NY pastrami.

My favorite pastrami sandwich around here is at Wood Tavern in Oakland. Not traditional at all but so fatty and good that I often forget it’s not pork.


Funny! I took a (former) brand new boss who was out from Atlanta to lunch. We had a few meetings and ended up near Langers. He asked what was good. I instructed him that he would be having the pastrami and I would order it for him. He was a little taken aback at my insistence, but he understood when he took his first bite.


IIn Orange County (CA) we have a place called The Hat. It’s well known for pastrami sandwiches BUT it’s not the same pastrami concept as Langer’s or ANY Jewish deli. Totally different animal. Thinly sliced, very fatty, More like a a Philly beef in the way it’s served. When I feel like an artery-clogging experience it’s The Hat sandwich and fries. For me, coming from New York, the Langer’s/Brent’s pastrami is to die FOR. Tommy’s has it’s place, but it’s more like to die FROM. We also have Tommy Pastrami, which is somewhere in between.

Note: I meant to say THE HAT was to die FROM, but Tommy’s is kinda the same.