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the hat - world famous pastrami

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theconiglio Dec 30, 2004 11:09 PM

i'm so curious about this place. for months i've passed this place on my way to the gioia cheese factory in south el monte. i think that would be the hat's temple city location on rosemead. then today i passed another of it's locations on lake st in pasadena. both of them look clean but i'd love to know if they're worth my $$.

any information on this place?

thanks.

Link: http://losangeles.citysearch.com/prof...

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  1. c
    Chino Wayne RE: theconiglio Dec 30, 2004 11:26 PM

    Jewish deli pastrami it aint. Of the various venues where I have sampled the greasy pastrami dip, this is proabably the best. But keep in mind, it is still greasy pastrami dip. If I get gready and order two sandwiches, by the time I am halfway through the second sandwich I've got a hell of a stomach ache.

    Their dogs and burgers are very good. I love their fries. These are not skinny, undernoursihed fries like McDonalds, but nice thick fries, that have a great potato-y taste, great density and texture. Their rings are also very good. You can even get wet fries here. Do not order a large fries, unless you have someone to help you eat them, a regular order is very generous.

    Give the Hat a shot, it's got a hell of a lot more character than some large fast food chain.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Chino Wayne
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      monkuboy RE: Chino Wayne Dec 31, 2004 12:32 AM

      TWO pastramis from the hat?? Wow! I can barely finish one. I agree with your review - deli pastrami it ain't, but it is a decent pastrami dip. Adding an order of fries or rings makes it an extremely filling meal. Like you said, it is much better than eating at a large chain. It is definitely worth trying and you will not be hungry afterwards.

      1. re: monkuboy
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        prc49 RE: monkuboy Dec 31, 2004 02:28 AM

        Yes definitely try the pastrami. 1 sandwich will fill you up. I've tried the chili at several Hats and I think the best version is in Monterey Park (Atlantic/Riggin).

        1. re: prc49
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          dave smith RE: prc49 Jan 2, 2005 11:38 AM

          The Hat has the absolute worst pastrami I've ever had. The portion is huge but the quality is bad. Try Langers on Alvarado. Probably the best Pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles. They double bake the rye bread and hand slice the pastrami. It's very good. The only place better is at Katz's Deli in Manhattan.

          1. re: dave smith
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            Chino Wayne RE: dave smith Jan 3, 2005 07:15 PM

            The Hat pastrami dip and Langer's pastrami on rye are two entirely different animals, they should not be compared. However, if you only could eat one pastrami sandwich in life, definaely go with Langer's.

      2. re: Chino Wayne
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        jk RE: Chino Wayne Dec 31, 2004 01:39 AM

        The original stand is on Garfield and Valley, in Alhambra. That one has the most character.

        I never thought it was that great, but, the standards for burgers and pastrami have really declined. Today, comparatively speaking, it's good, because it's one of the last burger/pastrami/hotdog joints. These must be as rare as burger/pastrami/teriyaki and burger/pastrami/fried chicken. Fortunately, there are still burger/pastrami/tacos/burritos and chinese food/donuts to keep our polycultural fast food traditions alive. :0)

        1. re: jk
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          Bert RE: jk Dec 31, 2004 01:57 AM

          the standards at the various hats seem very different. the one in alhambra always makes me huge sandwiches with lots of juice. the one in glendora (been there 3 times) uses about half the meat, and the sandwich is dry unless i remember to request a double-dip. the one in temple city is decent...

          and i don't like their chili fries. no meat, just drippings in the chili. tastes like meat-flavored starch. sort of like tommy's actually (where i love their chili-cheeseburgers and detest their chili fries as well).

          1. re: Bert
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            RUBulldog RE: Bert Dec 31, 2004 05:00 AM

            Interesting. I've only been to the Glendora location and the sandwich is dry. My work takes me to Brea but I haven't stopped at that location yet. Maybe I'll try it and compare.

        2. re: Chino Wayne
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          Jimbo of TC. RE: Chino Wayne Jan 21, 2005 12:35 AM

          Here's some Hat trivia: Before Corky and Don of The Bellybuster (Alhambra) bought the original location in Alhambra, the burgers and dogs were charbroiled. It was one of those places where the flames from the grill would catch your attention if you went by at the right time. I think they were better then.

          Coffee was 10 cents for the longest time. Since then the other locations just don't have the feel of the original open air corner spot. When the Garfield Theater across the street (now gone) changed to Chinese movies, business at The Hat dropped off. One of the ladies that worked there told me the Chinese people would buy one hot dog and split it up between three!

          I still will go there when visting my parent in Alhambra. It's 1952 American nostalgia in a quickly changing city.

          1. re: Jimbo of TC.
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            Chino Wayne RE: Jimbo of TC. Jan 21, 2005 05:10 PM

            Nothing ever stays the same, does it?

            Some more Alhambra trivia, the company that owned Shakey's (at least around 1980) was headquarted in Alhambra, right next door to the Shakeys' on Valley just east of Fremont. I used to be able to walk home with a really good peperoni pie in those days.

          2. re: Chino Wayne
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            Sylvia McCasland RE: Chino Wayne Nov 7, 2005 01:01 PM

            I now live in Northern Calif. and TRULY miss being able to dine at The Hat. I could only hope someday The Hat business will expand to Northern Calif. ( San Jose or Hollister, CA) That would be wonderful. Until that day, I make sure I stop at The Hat when I go back home to L.A to visit my family. Always a Hat Lover. Keep up the good job!

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            2chez mike RE: theconiglio Dec 31, 2004 02:43 AM

            "pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise, tomatoes, and lettuce" - Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" :-)

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              martyR RE: theconiglio Dec 31, 2004 10:08 AM

              I lived a block from the Pasadena location for nine years. I had a pastrami my first day and never went back. Just a horrible grease/salt bomb. And I like grease and salt.

              Plus, after having a Langers pastrami how can anyone go to The Hat again?

              5 Replies
              1. re: martyR
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                Pat RE: martyR Dec 31, 2004 12:39 PM

                Concur. There is a brief blast of pleasure of tucking into all that fatty meat, but soon enough you're sitting there thinking, "Why do I do this to myself?"

                The place is pretty unpleasant inside, if I remember correctly (Pas. location.) All fluorescent lights, Armstrong ceilings, and forty-year-old plywood.

                1. re: Pat
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                  Pat RE: Pat Dec 31, 2004 01:32 PM

                  ...er, paneling, not plywood.

                  1. re: Pat
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                    2chez mike RE: Pat Dec 31, 2004 01:53 PM

                    ummm...ah..wainscoting maybe? :-)

                  2. re: Pat
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                    Dommy! RE: Pat Dec 31, 2004 06:58 PM

                    LOL! Totally agree with you guys... The hat was a guilty pleasure at my old job (The Monterrey Park location) and at visits to my parents (Brea Location). But not for the pastrami... I could NEVER stomach more than half of those things... but for the Chili fries and onion rings... I know they are SOOO bad and make me feel like a nasty lump at the end of the meal... but the journey is simply so good that it makes me forget that lump part... :D

                    --Dommy!

                  3. re: martyR
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                    Yummy Sound RE: martyR Jan 3, 2005 04:11 PM

                    Don't go to the Hat for the Pastrami--go for the burgers. I enjoy the Hat on (is it) Garvey in Alhambra better than the one on Lake. And I'll take wet fries anyday over chili fries!

                  4. j
                    JBK RE: theconiglio Dec 31, 2004 01:08 PM

                    It's 'okay', not remotely in the Langer's league and inf fact not 'deli' style pastrami. If there are no delis around, it's passable but wouldn't go out of my way.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JBK
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                      Greg RE: JBK Dec 31, 2004 02:13 PM

                      It's impossible to compare the Hat to Langers. It's like comparing Father's Office or whatever "gourmet" burger place to Tommy's, or In-N-Out. It's two different animals.

                      1. re: Greg
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                        Dorothy RE: Greg Dec 31, 2004 03:15 PM

                        I concur. And for what it is, The Hat is among the best.

                    2. s
                      Steve Doggie-Dogg RE: theconiglio Dec 31, 2004 02:28 PM

                      The Hat is one of those places that makes mountainous chili fries and paper sacks full of onion rings for starving students. The chili is mostly flour and the pastrami is watery and salty... not good at all. But the portions are enough to choke a horse. I went there once, and I don't see any difference between The Hat and your average "Tom's #58" burger joint. Whatever you do, don't order a hot dog there. I made that mistake once.

                      See ya
                      Steve

                      Link: http://www.russianfoods.com/showroom/...

                      1. w
                        WildSwede RE: theconiglio Jan 3, 2005 11:21 AM

                        I am one of the few (judging by this post) who actually LIKES The Hat's Pastrami. I have not tried Langers, although as some have stated, you cannot compare apples to oranges. I always add cheese and extra pickles and spread on their Spicy Mustard from their big selection of packaged condiments. The Horseradish is not bad on it either. I have not really noticed the greasiness factor, but have always thought that the meat is not fatty. When I get the chili cheese fries (never at the same time), I can eat so little of it (they give you a HUGE amount) that it looks like I am throwing away a full order. Their onion rings are really good, and once again, in huge portions.
                        I always go by the rule - you should try something yourself to see if you like it as there are many varying tastes and palates in this world!! Go try it and judge for yourself!! ;-)

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                          quinn tran RE: theconiglio Jan 30, 2005 05:24 PM

                          My husband and I just took our son and two of his friends there. I ordered the pastrami and my husband and the kids had chilburgers and chilidogs. The food was okay but the amount of the serving was ridiculous. You get way to much food. So, if you decide to go keep in mind that our party of five was unable to even leave a dent in the onion rings and chil fries.

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