Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Johnny's - Antioch, California & Bite Me Sandwiches, SF

Hey there pastrami fans! I hope you enjoyed my post on the Waygu/Kobe beef pastrami as much I enjoyed eating it. I have some news and a few deli sandwich reviews that I'd like to share with you for this mid-September post.

My first bit of news - I'm going to be in New Orleans this weekend to celebrate my birthday. I plan to try some pastrami for the blog, but the big, well known sandwich in New Orleans is the Muffuletta which is an Italian style sandwich with olive spread on a round roll (and of course the po-boy). It's normally a sandwich meant to be shared, so I hope my dad will want some or I'll just order a half-muffuletta. I'm also planning on just relaxing and having a sazerac on Canal street. If you have any suggestions for me to enjoy my vacation in New Orleans, feel free to comment on the blog or e-mail me at

This past week I was able to attend the Giants vs Dodgers game. Giants/Dodgers is a huge rivalry and I showed up in my Dodger gear, which is making yourself a target for smack talk. The only problem for Giant's fans - it's hard to hate on a guy with pastrami. My dad flew up from LA that day to go to the game with me and he brought a gift package from Langer's. We watched the game at AT&T park in SF while eating pastrami sandwiches from Langer's in LA. The guy sitting behind me asked "Hey, where did you get that sandwich?" and I responded "L.A." and he got really interested. "Wow you brought pastrami all the way from L.A.? You must be a pastrami fan." I smiled and gave him my card as well as a small piece of Langer's pastrami, then went on to discuss the fine establishments in SF that carry good pastrami. The Dodgers winning that night was cool, but the highlight of the evening was eating the pastrami sandwich at the game inside the ballpark and having people intrigued by my blog. Awesome!

My first sandwich review is from a place in San Francisco named Bite Me Sandwiches on South Van Ness at 17th street. They had an interesting menu with lots of sandwiches featuring pastrami/corned beef, so I was intrigued to check it out. It's a small sandwich shop operated by two guys who are super friendly and like to make a good sandwich. I ordered a pastrami Reuben and the guy offered it on rye bread because he wanted to make it traditional. I always appreciate that - you can't mess with a classic.

 Bite-Me Sandwiches Pastrami Reuben

The pastrami itself was OK, pretty good, but not great. I did like the toasted rye bread, the Russian dressing, and the sauerkraut. The flavor of the classic Reuben was all there, it just wasn't a Carnegie Deli Reuben, but I didn't pay near that price either. The advantages of this place - it has great prices for a big sandwich and has a relatively small line at lunch time compared to Ike's, Deli Board, or Ted's. I'm always down for a new sandwich shop by my work and I will look forward to trying out all their sandwiches till I decide what I really like there.

For my second review - I went all the way to Antioch, California which is about half way between San Francisco and Sacramento. Its nickname is the "Gateway to the Delta", referring to the San Joaquin River Delta which is actually where most of Southern California gets it water from. I had to go out there to measure a building for my job, which was abandoned except for the raccoons that lived on the top floor in the rafters. For lunch, I found a place on yelp called Johnny's Market.

 Pastrami on soft roll - Large and in charge

When we were driving to Johnny's, a few blocks before the shop a sign was hammered into the ground advertising "Beef Brisket" this way. I knew I was in for a treat. This sandwich shop has been here for years and this is the place the locals go for their sandwiches. I ordered a big pastrami on a soft roll and sat down at the dining table next to the TV to talk with the other patrons. They told me they had been coming here for years and this was the best sandwich in town - I have to agree that it's a great value and they have great hot meats like brisket, pastrami, and hot links. It reminded me of Ted's Deli in the city, but this was in Antioch - which isn't necessarily known for it's culinary prowess. In fact, they even use the same pastrami as Ted's Market which is Evergood pastrami. I think that it's a four star out of five on the pastrami spectrum. Evergood is a San Francisco based company and their pastrami has a great flavor, but it's a little thin and a bit salty. Overall a very good pastrami, just not grass fed, organically grown, Waygu beef (I'm getting spoiled now). No, Johnny's isn't a petit cafe - it's an old school sandwich shop with friendly owners and a cool room for you to enjoy your sandwich before going back to your work day. If you're ever in Antioch, I high recommend coming in here and talking with the owners and locals.

My last bit of news is a shout out to Rene C. on yelp and his review of the Refuge that reminds me of Langer's and the time my Grandpa told me only a fool would order the cheeseburger. When you go to a place that's known for pastrami a burger is normally a bad call. But to be fair, Refuge has some great burgers, although I'm going to get the pastrami each and every time. Hmm, maybe a pastrami burger? Thank you Rene C. for your wonderful review of the Refuge and I hope you're a pastrami convert for life now!

I hope you enjoyed the Mid-September post and I plan on having another one once I get back from New Orleans. Traffic on the website has been down this quarter, which has been probably due to my lack of posts. I have a renewed passion for the blog and I plan on posting more frequently than once per month now. Keep coming back - I love getting your comments and suggestions for pastrami places. for email, @Pastramiking on twitter, and please join my Facebook fan page - otherwise i'm posting it up on your wall and you have to deal with it :-)

1 comment:

Peter Fleming said...

langers: definitely the highlight of that night :)