Friday, December 18, 2009

Al and Pastrami King do Miller's

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a fan of the blog for lunch. His name is Al - I got into contact with him on yelp and he made it up to my office to talk about architectural products. To be honest, we talked business for about 2 minutes and the rest of the talk was a great deli lunch at the best, most complete deli in San Francisco - Miller's East coast Deli.

We arrived around 11:40 to beat the lunch rush, as I was entering I saw the owner Robby Morgenstein working hard someone's order. I had read about Robby in the Save the Deli book and I made contact with him on Facebook - so I was ready to finally meet the man, the legend. I pointed him out to Al as were went to sit down at our table "That's the owner. Let's go say hi to him when we get a chance". I approached Robby and handed him my pastrami king card. "Oh yeah, it's you! You looked a little different in the pictures." Al and I had a nice conversation with him about opening of the deli years ago and also about his meat suppliers. "I rotate between Sy Ginsberg and Robert's Corned Meats. Every week we get palettes of meat!" I know of Robert's Corned Meats - the office is actually one whole block away from my office and I walk past it daily on my way to get a soda from the Shell Station. I did a little more research and they also supply Tommy's Joynt and Brennan's in Berkeley - one of my favorite spots in the East Bay. I shall have to get a tour/interview in the near future.

Before entering Miller's Al gave me a small pep talk - "Anything you haven't had the guts to order here - order it today!" We were on a mission to sample as much as we could for his introduction to Miller's. We got three appetizers - tongue polonaise, stuffed cabbage roll, and stuffed derma (kishka). All appetizers were very good. The tongue had a sweet and sour cabbage sauce that accented the cured meat excellently. The stuffed cabbage rolls reminded me of the cabbage rolls my Polish Grandma used to make. It had meat with small bits of rice in the cabbage roll - very traditional style. I had read about the derma before I ordered it. Someone called it "Old school even compared to New York standards". It looked like small brown hockey pucks smothered in gravy. The taste reminded me of a very rich stuffing in gravy within every bight. These are all great, unique dishes that truly make Miller's the premier Jewish-Style Deli in the Bay Area.

As we were ordering our sandwiches I told Al about the grilled New York style the Miller's does. "The way they grill the bread is outstanding - you have to try it." I sold Al on it and he got a 3-way combo pastrami, corned beef, and tongue while I just stuck to the pastrami. As you can see, both sandwiches look so large they could humble even the hungriest fresser. As soon as Al bit into his 3-way he exclaimed "This is just as good as my favorite spot in LA (Brent's in Northridge)". Coming after the smorgasbord of appetizers, Al and I were only able to finish half of our sandwiches, but I was very happy to take them home. Al wanted me to take his half as well because he was headed to Saul's in Berkeley that night to check out the digs of the East Bay chic deli - What a true deli lover! I took the sandwiches back in my car to work. When I left my office at 5 PM, I stepped in my car and the smell of Miller's hit me in the nose...hmm that makes me think - Deli air freshener's for cars? I looked it up and they do have bacon flavored air fresheners but not deli. Who would buy them? Probably Al for one! I want to thank AL so much for coming to lunch with me. He gave Miller's such a good review on yelp, Mr. Morgenstein himself asked me to thank him. Check out Al's yelp reviews here. He's very through with his reviews and he does a great job with his photo spreads - an awesome yelp profile! Thanks once again to Al for the photos!

This is a nice corned beef sandwich I made at work. It's just Primo Taglio corned beef on Corn rye bread with Beaver's hot mustard. I used a whole package of the meat to make it proper size. All in all, it was better than the sandwich I had at a place in Berkeley called the Stuffed Inn. I read about the Stuffed Inn and made the trip with my friend the brisket baron. When I ordered the double pastrami with cheese I was upset to learn they were out of rye bread, and on top of that the pastrami was some lunch meat equivalent to the one above. The saving grace of the Stuffed inn was their vegan split pea soup and their cookies. I told my buddy "This is like a 3 star on yelp, but a complete fail for the pastrami blog." I have some pictures which were hi-jacked by the brisket baron on his trip to Florida - I'll post them later on.

I just found out that I have all of next week off of work. I previously said I was going to be in the Bay for the next for posts, but this looks like the next one is going to be in LA. I have 9 days to roam my old home and check out some spot's I haven't gotten around to trying, as well as the obligatory trip to Langer's.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seattle Pastrami!

Pike's Public Market

Seattle is a lovely place! I went the weekend of November 20th to the 22nd and I did my best to try as many pastrami places as I could, but there were a few miscues that led to me not getting to all the places I wanted to for the blog. However I enjoyed my trip very much and made it to the Seattle Center, University of Washington, the Fremont neighborhood, and various other cool locations. Above pictured is Pike's Market from Pike and 1st Ave.

I was staying at the Green Tortoise Youth Hostel which is a block away from Pike's Market. You can't really beat the location! I checked in around lunch time and headed out to Pike's to find a map. Before I could even find a map I unintentionally stumbled upon the I Love NY Deli. I approached the gentlemen and told them about my blog. "Oh, Jon (the owner) would love to meet you then. You have to go to the spot up by the University. He's normally there." The nice young man pulled out his card and handed it to me. I proceeded to order. "May I get a pastrami sandwich on marble rye with Russian dressing. I would LOVE to try one of you potato knishes. And can I get a cel-ray to wash that down?" The guy proceeded making my sandwich, the slicing machine pumping. He said to himself "This guy knows how to order." I smiled to myself and sat over in the small public seating area just to the left of the stand. The meal that came out of that small stand was a real treat!

When I opened the box the smell was very familiar. It smelled like a deli smells...right in the middle of Pike's fish market and flowers displays the smell from the box tantalized my nose just before I sank my mouth into the epic sandwich. The pastrami had a lovely brine and excellent flavor, up there with some of the great delis I love in California. The potato knish seemed to fit the environment perfectly and was good enough. I'd like to try the other flavors, but I played it safe and went with the potato, next time it's the sweet potato or garlic potato knish! As I was sitting there I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was a transplant from Massachusetts. He was enjoying his turkey on dark rye while I was telling him about my trip plans in Seattle. I told him the next place I wanted to try was Tat's deli on Occidental and he gave me fairly good directions on how to get there "go down to Pioneer square area and make a left then Occidental is the next right."

I took one more picture and then did some sight seeing for a few hours to let my stomach settle before I try to get to Tat's deli. I started the walk after getting off the monorail near Pike and 4th Ave. I got to the Pioneer Building and a statue of Chief Seattle. As I was taking a picture of Chief Seattle it started pouring. Was this an omen sent from the Chief himself?

I pulled out my umbrella and made the right turn on Occidental. As I made the turn I saw a bicycle cop kinda just wave his finger at a group of 6 or 7 menacing looking vagrants smoking crack in the middle of the rain....This place is a lot like Frisco! As I came to the door of Tat's (around 2 PM on Friday, they normally close at 4) a lady was standing in the middle of the doorway. "Yeah, we're closing...we ran out of bread." I pleaded with her "I came all the way from SF just to try Tat's pastrami, could I just sample a piece of the pastrami and I'll be on my way?" the one lady who was leaving from I presume finishing the last sandwich of the premature day backed me up "Aww, come on, let him try a little piece." she said to the woman. She kinda looked back at the interior and then back at me and finally said "No, the grill is off, we're closed. We'll be open on Sunday for the Seahawks game though come back Sunday." and then shut the door in my face. I continued back up 1st street in the rain, I got back near Pike's market area the rain cleared up and the weather was nice enough for me to enjoy the rest of Friday evening. Sadly, She was wrong about being open Sunday as the Seahawks were out of town and they were closed. I never got to try a tatstrami in Seattle.

The next day I woke up early and had a plan to try Barney's pastrami in Everett, Washington about 20 minutes North of Seattle. I had talked to the owner about 10 days prior to my coming up there and he assured that he would be "open to 4 PM for lunch on Saturday." I got started early and tried to make it for opening, so I didn't call....causing a huge detour for no reason in my trip to Seattle.

Frustration and disappointment all from a yellow piece of paper taped up to a storefront. I called when I got back to the bay to get an explanation. I asked the guy that answered the phone "Hey, why were you guys closed last Saturday?" To which the man responded "Oh I was rotating on a stick, but I'll be open till 5 today for lunch." Oh great (seething sarcasm)! Did I scare him by calling him about 10 days prior saying I wanted to try this place for my blog or was it just a slow day in Everett? I'll never know.

At this point I was pretty frustrated, I got shut down at 2 places and I had to take a bus back to the city which took about 30 minutes. I don't regret taking the ride as the scenery outside of Seattle was interesting and beautiful to see, however I greatly regret not calling the day prior.I decided that after this fiasco I was headed to the University District to check out "The Ave" as well as the I Love New York Deli location on Roosevelt. The bus pulled off I-5 and let me off somewhere on the other side of the U district at 45th Ave. I remembered the area from looking at the maps on google and proceeded on the overpass towards the University. I pulled out the card the guys gave me at the Pikes Kiosk...5200 Roosevelt I looked up and I was at Roosevelt and 45th, perfect. I had my umbrella out as it was drizzling as I pulled up to the deli from the south end. I saw through the window a lady carrying what looked like to be a big pot of soup and a guy slicing meat away at the machine.

I was tired and cold when I took the picture of the Met's Country labeled front door then I entered a truly wonderful and warm place! As I entered the same smell that had emanated from my box yesterday filled room. This was truly the complete picture of a nice neighborhood deli complete with everything under the sun. The small stand at Pike's market only had a small number of items compared to the more complete location in the University district. I walked up to the counter and asked about Jon the owner, to my dismay he wasn't around, luckily I was to reach him and tell him over the phone how impressed I was with his deli!

Pastrami Egg and Cheese on a Kaiser

Pastrami Lox

The special of the day was 1/2 sandwich with soup which sounded great to me on a cold, rainy day. I also ordered a potato latke on the side.

Daily Special

I enjoyed this rye more than the marble rye because it had a crispier more flavorful crust. The split pea soup and latke warmed my inside. When I arrived, I was tired and weary and upon leaving I felt like a new man! I had the rest of the afternoon to check out University Ave known to locals simply as "The Ave". The whole scene really reminded me of Telegraph by UC Berkeley. Lots of Thai restaurants, pizza joints, smoke shops, and just funky side shops with odd items worth looking at just once. I also got to check out the Mercer Museum which had some intersting Native American Art from the Pacific Northwest. I highly recommend you take a trip to the U District on your visit to Seattle. Make sure to have lunch at I love NY Deli at 52nd and Roosevelt! They have a webaddress Check it out for a full menu.

Sunday, my last day in Seattle, I planned to go to the Fremont district where a small diner named Roxy's was pointed out by many people on Yelp as the best pastrami sandwich in Seattle. Fremont has an interesting Farmer's Market and Hypermarket (swap meet) on Sundays which I checked out just before going to Roxy's Diner. The whole neighborhood district itself was very cool to check out. They have a large rocket, a statute of Lenin, and a self proclaimed center of the Universe just a block from Roxy's Diner.

When I walked up to Roxy's diner it looked popping! There were many people waiting on the outside, smoking cigarettes, talking about what they did on their Saturday night. I walked in the diner and the place was crowded! I found a small place at the bar in the corner next to the register. The lady who helped was very friendly and asked me what i wanted. I ordered the NY pastrami (regular size, you can get bigger for more $) with a diet coke and started looking around the scene of the diner. It looked like a cool, hipster place that young people go to after a hard night of partying.

Roxy's Diner

The pastrami melted in my mouth! I was truly impressed by Roxy's and it was a very cool, special spot in the neighborhood. They had characters doodled of the servers on pieces of pad paper saying funny things like "I need a drink!" I saw a picture of an Old Guy with glasses that kinda looked like the guy on the front of the Diner. I asked my server "Is that the man? the owner?" She giggled. "No, we found this in a picture frame at good will. We just like him." Roxy's seemed like a fun, cool place to go in the neighborhood, definitely check it out on Sunday along with the Fremont market. I got a cool shirt on as a souvenir that has the logo, at the bottom it reads "You can't beat our meat." I love the sense of humor! Roxy's has the very cool web address of give it a look!

I had a really great time in Seattle. It's now one of my favorite cities along with SF and Paris. I just wish it didn't rain so much! When I got back to the Bay Area I got to try a place by my work Sage Lounge which has a Reuben for 8$.

Sage Lounge Rebuen and floor plans

I phone ordered ahead and when I got to the place about 10-15 minutes later I was informed that they were out of rye bread. I made an upset face and the lady said "you can wait, our other co-worker is out getting the bread. she should be back very soon." I sat down in the bright white, ultra modern chair and started reading SF weekly. A few minutes later a lady with a TRADER JOE'S bag walked in the restaurant and into the back. The pastrami didn't have a large brine and tasted a bit of hot dogs - the sign of bad pastrami. The "coleslaw" didn't taste like slaw and reminded me of the shredded lettuce you get at Subway - no tang or anything to it. I recommend skipping over this place and going to Ted's market or AK subs. You seem to pay a bit more for the atmosphere at the Sage Lounge.

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving! I'll be in the Bay Area for the next for posts. Looking foward to meeting some new people and trying some new sandwiches.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Refuge - Pastrami Heaven

I featured The Refuge in a previous blog entry, but this visit had a very special twist. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner and god of pastrami himself, Mr. Matt Levine. Pictured above is the Reuben.

I came to the San Carlos Gastropub around 1 PM to have lunch and this time I was going for broke. I wanted try to everything that had pastrami on the menu. I started off with the pastrami chopped salad and the pastrami rillettes, which is under the Charcuterie.

The pastrami rillettes are on the right side, it was like a pastrami pâté with small chunks of pastrami mixed in. Matt delivered it to my table and told me he used the ends of the pastrami to make the rillettes. "Yeah it's about the only thing you can do with the ends." he said to me as he looked over to the lunch frenzy that was packing in at the Refuge on that Saturday. "It's going to be a busy day!" he said to me scurrying off to tend to the madness. This dish was amazing (amazing is an understatement). The mini cornichons and the sharp dill mustard combined with either the cracker and or the rye bread was a complex, sharp flavor that was gourmet, yet somehow reminisced back to the original pastrami on rye flavor that I love so much. My roommate and I were thoroughly impressed with the pastrami rillettes and I think it will be an every time order when I make it down to San Carlos.

That's not mustard on my pastrami, that's chopped liver spread. I've had the toasted #19 and the regular, this time it was proper to try the most cholesterol filled sandwich i could get. "Heart attack special" Matt said as he dropped it off on his way to chatting to the nice group next to us, guys with sunglasses enjoying Stanford beating USC on the TV screen over the bar. The pastrami was excellent as always and the chopped liver had a rich flavor - almost like goose liver. I must admit, by the end of the pastrami chopped salad, the pastrami rillettes, and the pastrami and chopped liver sandwich I was completely stuffed. "You earned your pastrami king title today" my roomie, Josh, remarked.

As I finished my meal, Matt finally caught a break in the action and we had a nice chat. The first thing I asked him - How do you make your pastrami so awesome?! He told me it was all about technique and the amount of care and culinary knowledge that went into the preparation of the pastrami. He makes his own brine, smokes his own meat, and hand slices it to serve. He claims a 54% yield, which means 46% of the meat is not served (well maybe some for the rillettes!) which is part of the reason the pastrami costs as much as it does. I was surprised to learn the he has no single source for his meat, "It always comes from California, but sometimes suppliers run out. So I have back ups." Each time I've been to The Refuge the pastrami has been consistently some of the best pastrami (never could tell it was different from last time) I've had bar none - even Langer's. That's tough to get an LA native like me to say - as Langer's is the shrine of pastrami in the South Land. The 38 year old Chef lived in many places during his life including Delaware for school, France to master his culinary skills, Ohio, and Los Angeles to eat deli sandwiches. "I would make up reasons to be around Langer's. It's not like I even lived close by, but somehow I managed to go there 2-3 times a week if I could." He told me. Among many interesting items on the menu one particular item caught my eye - The World's Fair Burger - which dates back to the to invention of hamburgers at a worlds fair in Ohio is the late 1800s. "When you taste a burger when your around those parts - Ohio - you know it's the way it's supposed to be." Matt was a top chef in Paris and was expected to open a more formal restaurant. "I was supposed to open a 5 star restaurant, but this is What I wanted." He said as he pointed around the room with people sipping beers down happily enjoying their afternoon on a sunny warm California Saturday. "I didn't want something that was rigid." He has truly succeeded in doing what many have sought to do in the business, create a local, moderately place that served to Stanford and middle class of the Peninsula proper. This was a place where people went to get a cheesesteak or a pastrami, have a beer, and watch the game...what could be more enjoyable? I asked him why not San Francisco to which he responded "San Carlos let me do exactly what I wanted to do. I have my family right up the hill with 2 daughters and I'm happy here." That sounds like a great life to me! We chit-chatted some more about making pastrami and the "Save the Deli" book then we took the picture at the bar you see above. It was truly a pleasure meet Matt and I can't thank him enough for taking time out of his day for the interview.

Big news! I'm going to have some cards made. It's already been designed (seen above) by my friend Jake Lung and they're being printed next week. I look forward to passing them out when I go to delis to meet owners and patrons who love pastrami. My next stop is Seattle - my plane leaves in the morning. I could not be more excited!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

P.S. I Love You

Pastrami in Palm Springs, CA? You betcha! Palm Springs was home to many Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball. I lived in the Coachella Valley from 1992 until 2002, and I visited frequently around the time Beverly Hills 90210 was in town . When I first moved to the desert it was smaller, Sonny Bono was the mayor, and there were many consignment stores and antique shops with stucco facades dotting Highway 111 from Palm Springs to Palm Desert.

My favorite deli in Palm Springs when I was growing up was Nate's. Sadly, like so many other old desert institutions, it closed. I can only find vague references to it online, like the change of ownership in 1999 - which I'm guessing led to its closure. I was upset when I drove by the old ruins of the Palm Desert Motor Lodge - it used to have cool cars old cars displayed out front with a glowing red sign. The desert scene with the River, Coachella Fest and many casinos is more a mix O.C./Las Vegas than Old Hollywood resort.

Sherman's is the oldest deli in town - founded in 1953. I remember going to this place many times before, but never for a pastrami sandwich. One thing that is very cool about Sherman's is the large patio, where you can enjoy your pastrami in the nice, warm weather of Palm Springs, the only place I can think of where you can eat pastrami outdoors in the bay is the Refuge, so in this regard Sherman's is a very cool location!

When I came to Sherman's, just at sunset, it was buzzing with an outside crowd, while fewer patrons sat outside. As I walked in, the man up front shouted to the people ahead "Ladies, step right up, we have a wonderful place right on the patio, just for you!". His schmoozing along with the deli smell of cured meats made me feel right at home. I ended up chatting with a couple of the managers for a minute - Jimmy was very knowledgeable about his meat and talked about how he once could only get pastrami made from the brisket cut instead of the navel cut, but now he got good pastrami directly from NYC. "You'll like our pastrami - trust me!"

I wish I could have stayed longer to eat my sandwich there and talk some more about my blog with them, but I wanted to try the new spot in town - Manhattan in the Desert. Manhattan is hard to find unless you know where it is on Hwy 111 just before Cathedral City. The entrance is very dark and when entering I felt more like I was at a Marie Callendar's than a deli. The bakery display was impressive, but I didn't get to talk to any cool managers, just some high school students who told me three brothers from New York opened up the place a couple of years back.

Manhattan in the Desert

I got both pastrami sandwiches to go, so I could take them to a neutral location to determine which one was more pastramitastic in Palm Springs. Both sandwiches were excellent specimens on rye with mustard served with a side dish of choice, but in the end there was a clear winner.

Above is the Sherman's pastrami. It smelled delicious, but it had a strange color to it.

Now here is the pastrami from Manhattan in the Desert. It was a better, more familiar color...tasted fresh and delightful...clearly both better by taste and by looks. It really pains me to write this, because I liked the vibe so much more at Sherman's. If you were to eat a lunch in downtown Palm Springs I would highly recommend Sherman's as it's at the excellent location of Palm Canyon and Thaquitz, but take a pastrami to go from Manhattan for a real treat.

Before I got on the plane to PS, I made it to Miller's at the request of my friend who needed chicken soup to battle his cold. He ordered a pastrami sandwich before me and I ordered after him - a 2-way combo brisket and pastrami on rye with Russian dressing and tomatoes, to which my friend replied "You can do that?" After the server left he confessed he thought about changing his order after hearing my extravagant request. The sandwich, pictured above, was so large it looked like it could attack! The Miller's pastrami has an excellent brine and their rye bread is soft with a nice, chewy crust - it's a standout sandwich in SF. If you're craving pastrami/deli in the Bay and you haven't tried Miller's yet, you're really missing out!

I have some more posts coming up in the next few weeks. I hope to meet the owner of the Refuge in San Carlos, CA this coming Saturday, then the next following week I'm traveling to Seattle. I've looked into pastrami in the Emerald City and it look's like I've got plenty to explore. Please feel free to e-mail me at and check out my yelp page

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween! Saul's, David's, George's on 24th, Canter's Halloween

Happy Halloween from a pirate with a pickle! I've been giddy with excitement over the past few weeks. It was pleasure to meet David Sax, the author of "Save the Deli" and I had pleasure connecting with some local Bay Area deli lovers.

The Berkeley book signing was held at Saul's which is in the Gourmet Ghetto of Berkeley, Shattuck and Rose. The sandwich above is a Niman Ranch pastrami with an Acme rye bread, plus Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. After hearing the owners speak about the meat and where it comes from and what they're trying to create (a sustainable California deli), I have an appreciation for Saul's. The pastrami from Niman Ranch is an excellent drier pastrami with a salty, tasty brine. It's some of the best I've ever tasted. If I'm going to complain the sandwich, I wish it was a little more meat, more bang for my buck and I despise the Acme rye bread. To me, the Acme rye bread tastes a bit sour and doesn't really have an excellent crispy crust that I get with some other ryes.

There was a pastrami/corned beef taste test at the event. The competitors were the Niman Ranch pastrami vs Empire National pastrami (supplier of Katz's in NYC). On the Corned beef side, there was again the Niman Ranch corned beef and a Marin Sun Farms grass fed corned beef. My choices were the Niman Ranch pastrami and the Marin corned beef. The Empire National pastrami was very good, juicer than the Niman Ranch pastrami, almost corned beef like. I could see how it would be marketable and sell well. The Niman pastrami is more of a dry rub with a salty brine that I enjoyed because of the more complex flavoring and spices, it was very poignant and I could see it maybe being too strong for some. Still I liked it better. Both corned beef were too salty to be honest. I think if you want a corned beef you could do better at Brennan's - an Irish spot. I brought along a friend, a writer for the Cal State East Bay Pioneer newspaper. He wrote a commentary entitled "Pastrami is Worth Saving" which can be found in the current issue of the paper on page 2

David's is located at Geary and Taylor in the City. The deli has a long back story - it was once the most prominent deli in the City with about 15 locations. It's down to it's last location which is in the one of the worst neighborhoods in SF - The Tenderloin. Tourists walk by it all the time and the area is frequented by shoppers enjoying the Downtown shopping scene while sipping coffee and people watching at Union Square. At night, it's a different story...I know where I am, try as you may to tell me I'm in Nob Hill - I'm not. I'm in the Tenderloin and everyone local knows to watch your pocket and stay on your Ps and Qs when visiting.

I drove to downtown and I found parking on a meter just a block away like a savvy SF vet. I figured....well about 50 minutes should do for me to get my pastrami and take a couple of pictures and get out. So I left 50 minutes on the meter and got stepping. The first thing I noticed about David's was the bakery window. They had black and white cookies, cakes, and other assorted pastries.I walked in and the place was full, not crowded...but busy enough. I sat down and started to read the menu. David Apfelbaum, the owner of the deli, has inserted his own message into the menu with clever anecdotes about Jewish cuisine and his mother's attempt at making him pasta.Looking over the menu, the prices were ridiculous. absolutely sky high for soup it was about 5 bucks and a pastrami was about 14$. I ordered the kreplach soup and the Pastrami on rye with Swiss. They were out of the potato pancakes...ouch. While I was waiting for my sandwich and reading the menu some more I noticed that across the way a family was finishing eating. The waitress asked "Will there be anything else?" "YES!" the lady replied. "Her sandwich!" she pointed at a young hungry girl who had just watched her entire family gorge themselves while she had not received her food yet. What a shame!

The sandwich came and it did not disappoint. It was a large pastrami comparable to other places I know. It didn't come too many ways though - just traditional rye meat and mustard...which is great when you want it like that! The pastrami was thinly cut and tasty, perhaps on point with Mosihe's pastrami which comes from Vienna Beef in Chi-town. David's has some special points, but it has so many negative I think people are afraid to support it and go often. Let me count the negatives - took forever... and a day!, high prices, difficult parking. Positives - a nice large pastrami sandwich, a kreplach soup, and a killer pastry! I ended up taking a Napoleon home, it was delicious...many flaky layers filled with powdered sugar. I highly recommend you come to David's and get a blintz and some rugelahs, because the bakery is the best thing about this place. Take the train though, by the time I was finished my meter had run out - somehow by grace of the DPT gods I was not ticketed on the corner of Leavenworth and Post on a Saturday afternoon - explain that!

The picture above is a pastrami from George's BBQ on 24th. I walked in George's around 2 PM. "I'm here for the pastrami!" I said enthusiastically. I saw the pastrami sitting there ready to be sliced and I was excited. She asked me how I wanted the pastrami - I said with rye...."Oh we don't have rye - soft roll, dutch crunch, or wheat." Uh oh, Wheat? I ordered it on a soft roll with mustard - which can be good. The chicken coop over on Taraval hand slices the meat and puts it on a soft roll and it's to die for. However this meat was not to die for. It was iridescent - fish scale like. If you want a real deal pastrami, don't waste your time with George's. If you want some bbq chicken however, it looked exceptional...go there and try something else. It's a Greek owner place that pretty much copied the Pete's BBQ down the block.

I asked them where they got their pastrami and she didn't say a word. It wasn't something she wanted to divulge....hmm makes me think.

I just got back from Los Angeles. It was an awesome less than 24 hour jaunt - the festivities down Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollyweird were reminiscent of how The Castro was back in 2004, when no one got hurt and you could still go to The Castro without it being a police state. Sadly, San Francisco, which was once known for having one of the most elaborate Halloween festivities, has lost it's fire. It's simply more fun in LA now. After we were done with the parade my dad asked me if I would like to go to My Father's office - known for a large selection of beers and a killer 15$ burger or Canter's on Fairfax. To many it would've been a tough decision, but to me it was instant decision - Canter's for pastrami on Halloween...what could be better?

That's the Brooklyn - Pastrami with Coleslaw on rye. My dad got the same thing with a Dr. Browns cream soda. We finished our sandwiches in about five minutes flat - no knishes, no soup we meant business. Canter's is really where my love of pastrami started. This place really does it well and the fact that it's open 24 hours make it the only other spot in the USA besides NYC where you can get a pastrami sandwich at 2 in the morning.

When we finished we were off to the bakery. My dad planned to buy a whole loaf of bread because his honey isn't eating bread anymore - so she won't buy it in the store anymore either. When he told me he was going to get a whole loaf I thought to myself "Is it really that good, I think I've had better now" however when I bit into the crispy crust of the rye at Canter's I was reminded how great their bakery really is.

Standard issue out the door - we always get 1/2 dozen macaroons - 3 regular, 3 chocolate. They're excellent. Above pictured are poppy rugelahs. I bought a half dozen. I ate 3 and gave the rest to my roommates. They were like a poppy fig newton!

Oh that bridge! Caltrans was supposed to perform maintenance on the Bay Bridge over the Labor Day weekend. They found a crack in the bridge and a part had to be airlifted from Arizona to Oakland within days. The same part of the bridge that was "fixed" had a large part fall on 3 cars at 5:45 on weekday. The Bay Bridge has been closed ever since and I just heard on the news it will closed for Monday's commute. People in the East Bay are suffering, but people in SF and the peninsula have been voicing an interesting opinion. Some people have suggested the City is better without the bridge, there is less traffic, you can park and the trains run later which deters drunk driving. I even heard someone say "Wouldn't it be great if they just blew up the San Mateo bridge too, just cut us off." We think we would be alright over here in the SF peninsula, but the fact is the Bay bridge, when functioning, augments regional stability. Oakland is the largest port on the West Coast, all the Hondas that people drive in California come through that port. Over 200,000 people cross the bridge daily - now they are forced to take BART which broke a single day record of ridership during the now Bay Bridge crisis.