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SIMIHOUND Oct 13, 2007 02:03 PM

After just biting into an inferior pickle at home I decided that I need rec for "old sour deli style pickles." (I should have posted this years ago...)

I have tried every major brand that I know of and have been to many deli's over the years. Only on occasion have I found a good batch served up at a deli (including Brent's) There seems to be no consistency which is frustrating.

I recall hearing way back that (Mr Pickles?) in Santa Monica or Culver City sells the pickles I am looking for. Can anyone confirm this?

I am willing to travel 50 miles from Simi Valley.


  1. e
    eartha Oct 13, 2007 02:18 PM

    I like Trader Joe's Half Sour Pickles. Comes in a quart jar, usually on a shelf above the meats and cheeses. Hard for me to stop at just one.

    1. b
      Burger Boy Oct 13, 2007 02:29 PM

      Surfas carries a brand that are made in L.A., can not remember the name, but they are good, AFAIAC!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Burger Boy
        Burger Boy Oct 13, 2007 03:53 PM

        Kruegermann Pickles & Sauerkrt
        2824 Gilroy St, Los Angeles - (323) 662-9313

        A-1 Eastern-Homade Pickle Co
        1832 Johnston St, Los Angeles - (323) 223-1141

        1. re: Burger Boy
          budlit Oct 14, 2007 10:43 AM


          1. re: budlit
            kittyklline Jan 16, 2008 12:07 PM

            Do you mean Aunt Polly's Pickles? They were the greatest!

            1. re: kittyklline
              budlit Jan 16, 2008 04:58 PM

              yes, I heard she died

        2. maxzook Oct 13, 2007 02:43 PM

          I think my favorite restaurant pickles are at Billy's in Glendale, but i have no idea if they sell them to go.

          Fifty miles for a pickle? You've come to the right place!

          Billy's Delicatessen
          216 N Orange St, Glendale, CA 91203

          1. wutzizname Oct 13, 2007 02:46 PM

            I think Canter's are spectacular. Of course for me that's 50 yards, not miles, so.

            1. l
              LisaN Oct 13, 2007 05:12 PM

              I like the ones at Abe's Deli in Northridge, they are very consistent, have you tried there?

              And have you tried Bubbies in the refrigerator case at the supermarket? They are pricey, I've found them less expensive at Smart and Final.

              1. n
                NYCnowLA Oct 13, 2007 05:31 PM

                if you are willing to order them and get them shipped, these are the best. i always have a gallon in the fridge (full sour). they keep very well for a long time and are better then any i have found locally.


                2 Replies
                1. re: NYCnowLA
                  SIMIHOUND Oct 13, 2007 11:38 PM

                  I have tried TJ's and Bubbies. They come close but..something is missing. I stay away from Abe's as a strict rule but I will check out all the suggestions and report back.

                  1. re: SIMIHOUND
                    jonahlee Jan 16, 2008 11:44 AM

                    I love bubbies. They taste just like the ones my grandfather and my mother used to make in the basement, with Salt and no vinegar in big vats. Crispy and delicious.

                2. a
                  ahuacatl Oct 14, 2007 12:34 AM

                  I don't know if this helps, but you can get Tony Packos at the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City. I'm all about the sweet hot pickles & peppers. I don't know if TP makes anything that qualifies as old sour deli style though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ahuacatl
                    Diana Sep 7, 2008 03:38 PM

                    I LOVE Tony Packos pickles!

                  2. monku Oct 14, 2007 12:51 AM

                    Best sour pickles I've ever had are at Johnny's Pastrami. Lots of people rave about them.

                    Johnnie's Pastrami Restaurant
                    4017 Sepulveda Blvd
                    Culver City, CA 90230
                    (310) 397-6654

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: monku
                      Emme Oct 14, 2007 10:52 AM

                      Nate'n'Al's and Canter's. Second Johnnie's as well.

                      Also, Katella Deli, Junior's, Roll'n'Rye, and recently tried Canada-Strubs brand off a rec on this board... sold at Ralph's.

                      1. re: monku
                        mungus Oct 18, 2007 08:19 PM

                        I get pickles by the half-gallon from Johnnies. I already sent the last container to the recycling bin, but don't they come from A-1?

                        I don't know whether it's the same A-1 listed above. The Johnnie's waitress said she thought it was in Torrance or somewhere (she wasn't sure).

                        If it is the same A-1, does anyone know where else they sell the pickles besides Johnnies?


                        1. re: mungus
                          LisaN Oct 18, 2007 09:45 PM

                          The Bear Pit in Mission Hills gets their pickles from A-1

                          1. re: LisaN
                            Phurstluv Aug 1, 2009 02:16 PM

                            We love the bear pit pickles, were told they make them there..... not true??? We can get them in a store???

                          2. re: mungus
                            monku Oct 18, 2007 10:14 PM

                            You could be right about A-1. I was always under the impression they made their own pickles.

                            I should have known better to look in their dumpster when I was looking to see what kind of pastrami they were using.....Vienna Pastrami !!!

                        2. g
                          glutton Oct 14, 2007 08:49 AM

                          Why not make them yourself? Pickles are astonishingly easy to make.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: glutton
                            SIMIHOUND Oct 14, 2007 10:35 AM

                            The "mix" doesn't seem to come out right. If you have a recipe post it or e-mail me from my profile. Thanks.

                            1. re: SIMIHOUND
                              Steve2 in LA Oct 14, 2007 11:44 AM

                              If that recipe comes through, I wouldn't mind seeing it posted. By the way, Tony Packo's Sweet-Hots ROCK. I get 'em at Artisan Cheese Shop too but the Packo web-site has some types that the Cheese Shop doesn't carry. Haven't tried the Sours yet but am waiting to open the jar.

                          2. f
                            Fuser Oct 14, 2007 12:21 PM

                            Danny's Deli on Telegraph Road in Ventura also serves up a pretty tasty pickle and you can take a ride to the beach while you're at it.

                            1. a
                              asimen Oct 16, 2007 04:29 PM

                              I like Bubbie's, available in the refrigerator case at Ralphs and Vons. When I can't find them, Strubs (spelling?) are pretty good, too.

                              1. c
                                chowpuppy Oct 18, 2007 10:00 PM

                                Guss' Pickels Orchard Street - Manhattan New York. They've been doing it since 1910 and they deliver. If you've never had the sours or half sours or sauerkraut or any of the other other pickled vegetables they prepare - and/or your "best" experiences have been elsewhere - I just feel sad for you. And if you happen to be fortunate enough to actually go to their shop - make sure to go across the street to the bialy shop and get a real bialy and don't stop there as you might as well get a box of fresh made matzos right out of the oven (don't be shocked that they're round not square -- that's how they originally hand make them...).

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: chowpuppy
                                  goodhealthgourmet Oct 18, 2007 10:14 PM

                                  unfortunately for simihound, guss' isn't exactly "local" to southern california...nor is kossar's for those bialys.

                                  however, luckily for all of us angelenos, guss' ships nationwide...and we can get kossar's bialys at barney greengrass in beverly hills :)


                                  btw, i wholeheartedly second the guss' rec...best pickles on the planet.

                                  Barney Greengrass Restaurant
                                  9570 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    budlit Oct 19, 2007 02:54 PM

                                    the whole foods in woodland hills sells guss' pickles

                                    1. re: budlit
                                      LisaN Oct 19, 2007 03:17 PM

                                      Make sure if you buy Guss' from Whole Foods, look close at them to make sure they aren't very pale. When I've bought pale looking ones they have been mushy and disgusting.

                                      1. re: budlit
                                        goodhealthgourmet Oct 19, 2007 04:53 PM

                                        hallelujah! they had them for a brief time in la jolla when i was living in san diego, but they kept selling out so quickly that the store stopped carrying them. i'm back in l.a now, but i haven't seen them in any of the westside locations....guess i'll have to take a trip over the hill.

                                        oh, but there is one essential question before i make the pilgrimage...are they sours or half-sours?

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                          glutton Oct 19, 2007 05:44 PM

                                          Guss' makes sours and half-sours, so you should have a choice.

                                          I couldn't help but notice the sentence "they kept selling out so quickly that the store stopped carrying them." This has a Yogi Berra quality to it -- "Toot's Shors is so popular that nobody goes there anymore."

                                          1. re: glutton
                                            goodhealthgourmet Oct 19, 2007 06:01 PM

                                            i know they make both, i grew up on them...i used to love going to the store on orchard street and picking them out of the barrels outside the shop, but the la jolla whole foods usually only had half-sours...and i want maximum pucker-inducement :) it was pretty ridiculous, i tried to convince them that they just needed to place LARGER orders to keep them in stock, and that selling out of a product was a GOOD thing, but apparently it was a distributor issue.

                                            doesn't matter now. i'll check with woodland hills to make sure they have my sours.

                                            thanks again for the tip, budlit!

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                              Foodandwine Oct 19, 2007 08:08 PM

                                              goodhealthgourmet: Friendly fire here.. Not sure how old you are but I bet my house you are older than 5 years old. Guss moved to Orchard Street in 2002 and was on Essex Street before that. I am in my forties and my parents took me to the Lower Eastside ( their homeland ) for a weekly pilgrimage! We went for whatever!! Food, Clothing, Shoes, Stuff for the house. I remember when the Barrels were taller than me. Its an institution. Did some searching on the NYC site and I have always liked the Ba Tempte Brand as a substitute ( I use that word lightly ). Look at the thread I am attaching and in particular to the post concerning the brine. I agree with that poster and his or her advice will help you with your selection in whatever brand you choose to buy in a supermarket. I purchase the Ba Tempte brand when ever I can find it. And you know what.. I have turned to Kimchi here in Los Angeles. I get my Sauerkraut fix that way.. Beverly Soon Tofu is the Guss of Kimchi.. Look at the refrigerated section and see the large bottles you can buy. They make it in house.. Many selections of Kimchi to choose from including Pickle Kimchi ( kinda half sour variety ) and have some Soon Tofu while you are at it. With the colder weather comming up you can score a double play..

                                              Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
                                              2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                              1. re: Foodandwine
                                                goodhealthgourmet Oct 19, 2007 09:39 PM

                                                you're absolutely right on both accounts...i'm obviously older than 5 [by several decades], and yes, the original was on essex street. i had just been looking at the web site for shipping info, and the new orchard street address got stuck in my head.

                                                the first time i saw the display at the la jolla whole foods i had such a happy childhood flashback because they were displayed in one of those old-school barrels....but my joy was somewhat tempered by the discovery that the barrrel contained only half-sours.

                                                i do like ba-tampte and they're not too difficult to find on the westside, so they might satisfy my occasional craving. fortunately i'm headed back to nyc next week for a visit, so i can get the real deal while i'm there. i'm also planning to get my zabar's fix :)

                                                i love kimchi, and typically keep a jar in the fridge, but i prefer the spicy varieties. i often find the pickled ones to be overpoweringly salty. maybe one of these days i'll try beverly soon tofu...although i'm guessing my options there will be limited since i can't eat soy.

                                                thanks so much for the link & suggestions.

                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                glutton Oct 19, 2007 08:58 PM

                                                My point was that I have seen both sour and half-sour on the shelves out here, so you might be able to find both. Good luck... I'm going to NYC next weekend and Guss' was already high on my list of places to visit, but I think I just bumped it up higher after this post whetted my appetite.

                                                1. re: glutton
                                                  goodhealthgourmet Oct 19, 2007 09:46 PM

                                                  thanks...i just wanted to make sure because the la jolla store only had the half-sours when i was there.

                                                  fortunately i'll also be in nyc next weekend...hopefully i'll get down to guss' myself...zabar's [much farther uptown] is already on the itinerary.

                                                  btw, if you do make it down to the LES, you should stop at kossar's on grand street for the best bialys on the planet.

                                                  safe travels.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    bagdoodle Oct 19, 2007 11:57 PM

                                                    How can it be that nobody has mentioned Claussen's? They're available in jars at almost every market chain, and, while they're not as good as the very best deli "new" pickles, they're far better than most, and are VERY consistent in size, finish, and quality

                                      2. re: chowpuppy
                                        vou vou Jan 16, 2008 04:15 PM

                                        Now you're talking. I'm from LA but live in NY now and we get them from Guss'. They are so fresh. YUM. My favorite was when I was a little girl, we'd stop at Main Street at Disneyland and get a giant pickle on the way out. BuT that was years ago.

                                        1. re: chowpuppy
                                          2ndAvenue Feb 13, 2008 07:42 AM

                                          You can buy jarred Guss' Pickels in LA. Try Western Kosher on Fairfax.

                                          1. re: chowpuppy
                                            Diana Sep 7, 2008 03:40 PM

                                            I'm gonna be in Manhattan next weekend! Guess where I'm going!

                                          2. m
                                            malibumike Oct 20, 2007 08:58 AM

                                            I agree with baqdoodle, I think it would be hard to beat Claussens, Costco carries New York Carnegie Deli Kosher Spears and they are very good. Back in the late 60's when I worked for Department of Water and Power we used to go to A-1 Eastern pickle company(somewhere northeast of downtown LA) and although they were wholesale only they sold us a case at a time - these were excellent and at the time the only deli type kosher you could find outside of restaurants. I believe they also supply Tommys hamburger with their excellent yellow chilli peppers.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: malibumike
                                              goodhealthgourmet Oct 20, 2007 10:46 AM

                                              i've had claussen...i guess they're satisfactory for a basic brand off your supermarket shelf, but they TASTE like they came out of a jar from the supermarket.

                                              guss' are in a league of their own. once you've had one straight from the barrel, nothing else compares. [as far as jarred brands go, ba-tampte is the only remotely acceptable substitute, and even that's pushing it.]

                                              it's like the issue with authentic ny-style eggrolls...another topic that's been debated quite passionately in these boards. once you've had the experience, there is no acceptable replacement or substitute.

                                              1. re: malibumike
                                                BuZie Dec 25, 2007 10:17 AM

                                                Costco in San Francisco does not carry the Carnegie Deli Kosher Spears, and the Costoc in Palm Springs stopped carrying them. I think they are fantastic, second only to Gus'. I drive from SF to PS and stop in LA. Does anyone know of a Costco in LA that carries them. Thanks.

                                                1. re: BuZie
                                                  BBQ101 Jan 17, 2008 05:55 AM

                                                  I second A-1. They make a great Dill like I remember from back east.

                                              2. Professor Salt Jan 17, 2008 08:09 AM

                                                What, nobody's mentioned Langer's? They sell full sours and half sours that are both terrific.

                                                Simihound, you said there's no consistency, but remember that real kosher dill pickles are a living, fermenting thing. They continue souring as days go by, so the same jar you buy today will not be the same in three more days.

                                                If you like Brent's pickles, you might call over to their purveyor, A1 Eastern Homemade Pickle. (I saw their truck parked in front of Brent's in Westlake Village once). As others have said, they're wholesale only, but may be able to tell you where else to buy their products.

                                                A-1 Eastern-Homemade Pickle Co
                                                1832 Johnston St, Los Angeles, CA

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Professor Salt
                                                  TomSwift Jan 19, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                  I'll second the half sours (called "new" by the staff) at Langer's. They are superb but you must ask for them as they're kept refrigerated and not on the counter like the full sours. And you must eat them soon after purchase because, as the Professor says, they continue to sour and eventually lose that lovely cucumber crunch.

                                                2. PurpleTeeth Jan 17, 2008 11:44 AM

                                                  Billy's Deli in Glendale has wonderful pickles.

                                                  1. George Jan 18, 2008 06:57 PM

                                                    i like the pickles that marconda's meats in the farmers market sells. Don't remember the maker. They are not cheap, sold individually.

                                                    1. SIMIHOUND Feb 12, 2008 09:44 PM

                                                      Hi All, I found the answer to my own post yesterday...Grinders Deli in Moorpark has buckets of the the best pickles (and rye to match any deli in LA) I have had in years and years. I ran across the deli in a neighborhood ad type booklet and decided to try them out. Grinders is a nice looking place, very clean, large.. etc and the service was great to boot. The menu has everything a deli should have. The manager tells me they are owned by ROXY Deli in Thousand Oaks. Once I go back a few times I will review Grinders.....Check them out..


                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: SIMIHOUND
                                                        asimen Feb 13, 2008 10:55 AM

                                                        Did Roxy's recently buy the Grinder?

                                                        1. re: asimen
                                                          SIMIHOUND Feb 13, 2008 03:34 PM

                                                          Yes...That's what the manager told me. It's strange that I would know that but we conversed about Deli's...Roxy...and then he mentioned the sale. We CH's are a concerned bunch aren't we?

                                                          1. re: SIMIHOUND
                                                            SIMIHOUND Feb 13, 2008 11:07 PM

                                                            It just dawned on me (DUH!) that if Roxy and Grinders are owned by the same people then ipso facto(?) probably Roxy has the pickles I like. I have only been to Roxy late at night for a coffee so I cant vouch for the pickles but its safe to say.....

                                                            1. re: SIMIHOUND
                                                              thousand oaks mom Jul 21, 2008 02:56 PM

                                                              In fact, they are NOT owned by the same people. The manager of Roxy's (ex-manager I guess) bought the Grinder and has made it his own. They have no ties to one another. The Grinder is a better, cleaner, more friendly restaurant than Roxy's ever has been. Thumbs up Grinder Deli!

                                                      2. o
                                                        Oh Robin Feb 13, 2008 08:17 AM

                                                        Katella Deli carries sour and "new" pickles... ones that have only been brined a couple days. The new ones are awesome...

                                                        Katella Deli-Restaurant
                                                        4470 Katella Ave, Los Alamitos, CA 90720

                                                        1. o
                                                          Outerspace Feb 13, 2008 04:37 PM

                                                          Guss update: based on the helpful posts here, I went to Western Kosher and found Guss half sour pickles at 4.49 a jar and Guss sauerkraut at 2.99 a jar. They don't stock the sours.

                                                          I then went to the Whole Foods on Wilshire in Santa Monica. They have what they call "new" Guss pickles in one of the pans in the olive bar. Forgot to see if they have the pickles in jars in the refrigerated section.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Outerspace
                                                            LisaN Feb 13, 2008 08:13 PM

                                                            Be careful with the Whole Foods pickles. Last time I bought them they were all mushy

                                                            1. re: LisaN
                                                              creamfinger Jul 21, 2008 03:45 PM

                                                              I had the same experience. I tried the Guss' Pickles at Whole Markets twice and on both occasions I too found them to be mushy. No snap or bite. I suspect that pickles don't handle exposure to air very well, and the plastic containers that Whole Foods transfers the pickles into for retail sale have very little (if any) brine, just the pickles.

                                                          2. c
                                                            coleren Sep 7, 2008 12:32 PM

                                                            Simihound - I signed up for this board just to talk A-1 Eastern pickles. I think they are the very best. I like the dark ones that are kind of flimsy. Do you know if they will sell them to the public? Currently when I find them at delis, I just buy a bagful to take home. I'd love to have some on hand anytime I want them. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: coleren
                                                              paprkutr Sep 7, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                              I don't know where else they sell them, but Johnny's pastrami on Sepulveda serves thems sliced. They sell them but they are sliced but they are really good.

                                                            2. d
                                                              DORFMONT Dec 4, 2009 03:22 PM

                                                              Sorry but Mr. Pickles lost his lease a few years ago and now only does catering. I miss the restaurant too. We used to get so much good food from there. He even had bourekas and knishes.

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