Hey there pastrami fans. I hope you had an awesome Mardi Gras. This past weekend, I finally was able to try the Wise Son's pastrami sandwich...and boy was it awesome.
This sandwich was a bit hard to obtain...as Wise Son's is only serving on Saturdays as a pop-up inside Jackie's Cafe on Valencia (@ Duboce). The pastrami was sweeter than most of the pastrami I have tried - more salty/sweet than spicy. The slices were larger, thicker hand cut slices - which I normally prefer over the machine-sliced, thinner slices of pastrami. The brine had a large fat layer on it that let you know without a doubt in your mind that this was pastrami and not corned beef. I have never seen a corned beef with that type of brine on the outside, although it did have pinkish hue (not as ruby red) that some corned beef has. The rye bread was very good, the rye crust was chewy and crispy...but it still wasn't as good as the double-baked rye of Langer's. A very lovely presentation and a tasty pastrami - a definite 5 star in my book. Can't wait to try it again!
Speaking of Langer's....I had a guy harass me a bit when I ordered my sandwich @ Wise Son's with Swiss cheese and coleslaw. He said "That's not kosher, it goes against the grain." I smiled....this guy is 40+ years old and screams East Coast...but I'm confident in my deli ordering skills. I'm confident because I know the first deli I ever went to - Langer's in Los Angeles - has been proclaimed the best deli in the world by many, many people. "I'm not Jewish, I'm Polish. I do not adhere to Kosher law." I replied - then with a question to him "Where do you like to get your pastrami, usually?" He told me he was a a big fan of Max's Opera Café, but that he's from Brooklyn and "nothing beats Brooklyn." I have a bit of an issue with this statement. Many people try to claim Brooklyn when claiming the best deli food, but more often than not - I ask them which deli and where and their response is some small place I've never heard of or they give me an Italian deli instead of a Jewish Deli as an example. I know of some delis in Brooklyn - Mile End comes to mind as well as David's Brisket House and Ben's Best (Queens) - but I do think it's a cop out to claim Brooklyn without backing any claims. At least give me the name of the place that makes Brooklyn unbeatable. After he claimed Brooklyn, I responded "Oh yeah - Max's Opera Cafe uses Robert's Corned Meat in the city, they do good business." He looked at me like how the hell did he know that? then following up "and if you're going to claim Brooklyn on me - I'm going to have to claim LA. You ever been to Langer's? Best pastrami in the world." He told me "no" and I told him he's "missing out" and I hand him my Pastrami King card. Yes - I can tell a old Jewish maven from Brooklyn he's missing out on the best deli food without flinching - because I am the Pastrami King!
I got some awesome love on yelp this past few weeks - two awesome reviews. The first review was from a a girl named Tram, from San Jose, who reviewed the Deli Board. Check out the review here, but my favorite part is in the beginning.
"Theodore.. if it weren't for your review, I wouldn't have ordered the Boca sandwich.. I came here from San Jose w/ a one track mind: I MUST get Boca or else my heart would stop instantly."
Nice! Thanks a bunch Tram. I'm glad that Boca treated you well and I'm sure the owner of the Deli Board will be happy to know I'm sending him pastrami lovers. The second review that mentioned me was from a friend Luis A. We went to Miller's East together and he was blown away by how good it was. Check out Luis' review here.
A small excerpt "I was referred to this place by 'THE PASTRAMI KING' and now I know why he is called that. This guys truly knows his craft and was not kidding about the food here." I'm blushing from all the praise on yelp. It's amazing to see how many people have reached out and talked about how I led them to a great deli experience.
I got some news David Sax, writer of the book "Save the Deli", will be in the Bay Area to do a story on yelp and yelp elites. I'm not sure he knew I was yelp elite, but he does now and I'm hoping to have some pastrami with him sometime next week. Hopefully will get some pictures for the blog of David. I am also planning on going to Los Angeles at the end of the month and will be trying a few places there (hopefully).
My e-mail is Pastramiking@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter @Pastramiking. My yelp stuff is always pastramiking.yelp.com. and please, join my facebook fan page. There is a link at the top of the page for "liking" the fan page - do it!