For me, nothing says Christmas more than a nice big pile of...pastrami. Not really, but after picking my parents up from the airport on December 25, our options for lunch were limited. We took the opportunity to take Mom and Dad IFlipForFood with us on our first visit to an L.A. food landmark, Canter's Deli, located around the corner from our place on Fairfax Avenue between Melrose and Beverly.
Canter's, family-owned and operated since 1931, feels like it would be right at home if you picked it up and dropped it in the middle of the Big Apple, sharing its busy, "order up!" atmosphere with New York's finest delicatessens. That makes all the sense in the world considering the establishment's roots in Jersey City. Obviously, the deli's east coast vibe works for it, as even on Christmas, the place was packed.
The menu is massive, offering deli staples like reubens, brisket, corned beef, matzo ball soup, and pickled tongue, as well as a variety of pastas, salads and soups. However, in order to expedite the ordering process (and because I am very much my parents' daughter and Mark was willing to go along with the group), we all opted for the hot pastrami sandwich on rye, a colossal creation piled high with thick-cut, juicy, perfectly seasoned meat. How does Canter's version stack up against other pastrami sandwiches I've had lately? Bread-wise, I still have to give it to All About The Bread's offering (I'm not really a fan of rye, plus it was a little dry), and I like that sandwich's inclusion of pepperocinis for a bit of a kick. That being said, the quality and cut of the pastrami at Canter's takes it in a walk.
Each sandwich came with a choice of cole slaw or potato salad (pictured below), and since we got four orders, we got both. Both were solid, but no better than similar sides I've had at other delis. What Canter's does excel at are their dill pickles, gigantic specimens, tangy and crisp.
The sandwiches, while not particularly holiday-like, hit just the spot for everyone, leaving us full and more than satisfied. Which is a relief, because I'm counting on Canter's (open 24 hours) to be a go-to in the future. Who knows? Maybe we'll make it a holiday tradition and come back on Easter.