I’ll fess up straight away—I’ve always been a Canter’s gal. Not particularly because I think that Canter’s pastrami is oh-so-special—though I do think it is quite good, and sometimes it can be amazing. No, I’m a Canter’s devotee because I quite literally don’t understand how anyone can eat an enormous pastrami Ruben in the middle of the day and still be a productive member of society. Pastrami is usually reserved for late nights in my book, preferably eaten after a few drinks and maybe a double feature at the New Beverly. I like Canter’s because I can get a Ruben and a chocolate egg cream at one a.m., and take some rugelach to-go for following morning.
After years of hearing about the transcendent pleasure of Langer’s pastrami, however, I decided it was time to venture out of my comfort zone. As Langer’s is only open until four p.m., we decided to make a lunch of it a few weeks ago. It was an ambitious plan—heaps of pastrami to be followed by the Alexander Calder show at LACMA and an evening screening at Cinefamily. I had hot pastrami on rye with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, while K had the same sandwich with corned beef. B, who acted as though he was on a drunken dare as opposed to a casual lunch, ordered chili cheese fries topped with a heap of pastrami. It was all of course delicious, but we were entirely bested by the beef. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a haze, and I can’t for the life of me see how anyone makes a regular lunch out of Langer’s specialties. Also, am I missing something, or is there not a proper Ruben on the Langer’s menu? To me, a Ruben is toasted rye, warm pastrami or corned beef, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. I’m not really feeling the coleslaw or spicy American cheese thing, though I’m sure I could be edumucated to change my mind. Next time I’ll try going to Langer’s when I have absolutely no other plans and can fully devote myself to a meat-coma afternoon. It’s really too bad about those fries, however. I can’t imagine a more delightful midnight snack.