A weekly look at SoCal life covering news, arts and culture, and more. Hosted by John Rabe

Please explain pastrami to me

by Off-Ramp®

148904 full
Offramp producer Taylor Orci doesn't know what this is.

If recent reports are to be believed, the popularity of the classic American deli is in decline. This is in part because of people like Offramp producer Taylor Orci-- an on again, off again vegetarian overwhelmed by large menus and meat she can't explain. 

So when Carnegie Deli shuttered on New Years Eve, she set out to chat with local deli owner Norm Langer of the James Beard Award-winning Langer's Deli to gain an appreciation for the American institution.

True, Carnegie's closing may have had to do more with struggles resembling a sandwich soap opera rather than simple demand: even Woody Allen himself can't save a famous deli from a gas leak that closed the restaurant for almost a year, back wages to workers owed in the millions, and a divorce where the owner's ex husband may have given trade secrets to his mistress.  

Still, Carnegie going the way of expired cole slaw is the latest in a number of delis closing their doors. But that doesn't mean Norm Langer of Langer's Deli is about to start catering to trendy whims.  

Playing hard to get: Langer's takes the day off on Sundays, and so should you.
Playing hard to get: Langer's takes the day off on Sundays, and so should you.

"I'm a big fan of do what you do and do it well," Langer told Orci after the lunch rush on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon. "Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Johnathan Gold said our pastrami is the best in the world." He added, "If you want bean sprouts, I'm not your guy." 

And for folks who are curious if Langer's is going to open Sundays, the answer is still a resounding, "No." Gotta respect that unwavering stance. 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy Off-Ramp®? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC