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May 12, 2004 08:15 PM

Langer's, finally

  • t

Alright, so I'd never eaten at Langer's - tried about 4 times, it was closed every time.

Yeah, well, my girlfriend and I split one simple pastrami on rye, and one #... #... whatever, the rye and coleslaw and Russian and pastrami.

Anyway, yeah. What have I got to say about it? Ummmm...

I swear to you, this is not an exaggeration. I am trying to be as neutrally accurate as possible. But it was literally unbelievably good. I mean, when most people say "unbelievably good", they don't mean it - it's just some sort of extra emphatic nonense. I mean it. I actually had some sort of bizarre disassociative experience, where I stopped believing that I was there eating that sandwich, because there was no way a pastrami sandwich could be this good.

I mean it.

This has never happened to me before with food. Only, say, in college, after years of steady rejection by girls, when girls first started getting interested in me - for about 6 months, I would regularly, during moments of intimacy, experience a similar sense of dissasociation. The belief that no girl could possibly dig me was far stronger than any sensory input about what was actually in my arms.

I haven't felt that for years, until this sandwich.

I think it wouldn't have happened without the bread. I mean, the pastrami is fantastic - FANTASTIC - but it is still barely within the realm of the believable. It is the softness/crunch of the bread, and the combination's utter carnal satisfaction, that really pushed it over the edge. And I think it wouldn't have been so unbelievable had I not done a pastrami tour of New York, and found what I had previously thought to be the Outer Limits of Pastrami.

Anyway, I'm babbling now. I'll stop.

The pastrami there - first of all, am I the only one that has a hard time believing that it's beef? It's beef, right? That's what I'm told. Hard to believe. Weird. Anyway, the pastrami has this sort of intensification-of-meat-flavor going on, with this wonderful intense near-crunchy crust... the only analogue I can think is certain pork barbecue. The best pork experience I've had was at the Interstate BBQ in Memphis, and this is the second best. Even though it's not pork.

It's not pork, right? Christ. It doesn't exactly taste like pork. Yet I compelled by its sheer porkiness....

Probably something to do with association to barbecue.

Anyway, yeah, I have nothing else to say. I figure the split of the pure and the doctored sandwich was just about right. Pure pastrami could have been a bit too overwhelming. But I would've missed it, without any...

Anyway, yeah. I was actually moved at the end of the meal, round about the time that I actually came to believe that I was actually eating what I thought I was eating. There was a little lump in my breast, like you get when you're watching a sad movie and you're trying to not get those little man-tears. Anyway, whatever. Nobody's going to believe this. But I'll say it anyway: I was actually moved.

Thanks, Chowhounds.


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  1. Welcome to the life-long addiction that is called Langer's! You are absolutely right, the pastrami is indeed divinely porcine, perhaps the closest you can get to pork and still be kosher? Now I am jonesing big time for the #1 Special, I think I will stop by tomorrow!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ernie

      I'm still tasting and dreaming about the pastrami and chopped chicken liven sandwich we had there last week.

    2. Speaking as a card carrying member of AARP, I just want you to know Thi, you are now in Middle Age when you start experiencing carnal feelings about food, and the food gets better than the sex.

      1. My first time was a couple of months ago and I had pretty much the same experience. I've actually been a little bit scared to go back: I think if I try it one more time, I'll end up sleeping on the street in front of the door, spening all my time and money in there, like some cocaine fiend.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tom P

          Oh, is THAT what happened to some of those people hanging out on the sidewalk around there....

        2. I ordered the sandwich with the cole slaw and russian dressing and felt that I had somehow muted the intensity of the experience. The pastrami is great, no arguement, but that bread..........

          2 Replies
          1. re: Just Larry

            Suggestion from years of going with the kids: go there on the Red Line -Westlake stop- the walk is only a short 1/2 block on Alvarado St. It's bustling, very colorful and feels safe. If you drive, the parking lot is about a block east on 7th St and the walk feels much less friendly (and the guard carries a gun, which small boys find endlessly interesting, but I don't). Also, order the root beer float for the young ones - a full can (yes, it's a can) of root beer with about a half pound of ice cream.

            1. re: Just Larry

              I liked having half a pure, and half a cole slaw/russian. The cole slaw pastrami sandwich was like a sort of... mellow respite from the pure rigorous intensity of the pure sandwich.

              If someone were going alone, by all means, pastrami and rye and nothing else.

              But I liked having the cole slaw to alternate to. It had a... mellowness, a gentle combinatory vibe, I dunno, it was sort of cool. The pure sandwich is like talking with your best friend who you haven't seen in a long time about the meaning of life, and the coleslaw sandwich is like hanging out with them late at night on the beach smoking pot.


            2. Thi, let me know when you publish your first book, OK. I want to buy a dozen or so copies.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Thi

                Hmmm... I didn't post that. I wonder who did?

                Or was I sleepposting?


                1. re: Thi N.

                  Dorothy was so overcome by the power of your pastrami prose she started channeling you there for a moment in time.

                  1. re: WLA

                    Dude, it's funny, everytime somebody posts "you should write a book" or something (this is probably the third), I'm typically at some strung out point in my program where I would rather cut off my legs than write more philosophy. Are you guys psychic? Are you guys trying to seduce me away from my program? I'll tell you, if I had an agent right now, at this moment...


                    1. re: Thi N.

                      I had an Agent once, unfortunately it was Agent Orange.

                      1. re: Thi N.

                        really you should write books i bet you would become a ny times best seller