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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


800 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-4444
I've always said if I open a restaurant that I would specialize. Do one or two dishes and perfect them, to the point that you crave it. That's exactly what Wurstküche has done specializing in sausages and serving them with the best fries in Los Angeles. Yes, you heard it here. Without a doubt, the best fries in LA.

Wurstküche [Wurst (weiner pronounced veiner) küche (kitchen)] already has quite the following with the help of nearby 'SC students. It has a small store front to order and leads back to what was aimed to resemble an indoor beer garten. They currently sell beer and wine with a full liquor license in the works.

$6.75 Austin Blues - hot and spicy, tri-pepper & hardwood smoked pork (7)
I like my sausage with just meat, bread, and whole grain mustard. The peppers looked pretty good, but please keep that sauerkrap away from me. This was a decent sausage, but I it could have been a more tender. It did have a good crisp bite to it.

$7.75 Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeño Peppers - buttery but mildly spicy (9)
The rattlesnake was more tender than the Austin Blues and coated my tongue with jut the right amount of lard. Besides the cost factor, I'm not sure why a place would serve hot dogs instead sausages, they're just worlds apart.

$5 Belgian Fries with White Truffle Oil Glaze served with Bleu Cheese Walnut and Bacon dipping sauce (10).
After trying the truffle fries at Cache, I'm convinced truffle oil is new standard for quality fries. Cache's are a bit too thick. Here, the glaze envelops the thinner fry so well and it has the ideal size for that perfect crunch. And blue cheese with bacon is a good sauce to choose, two of the world's greatest gifts blended together. This and the rattlesnake sausage would make a great last meal.

A lot of people don't know this, but french fries are actually a Belgian dish. They were attributed to the french by Ray Kroc, who thought they were so good they must be French. Really. Seriously, though. The other historic theory is they are cut in slivers or 'frenched' hence the name.

I'm not much of a beer drinker and passed on this visit. I can't quite overcome the fact that is looks and tastes like piss. However, given the great selection
Wurstküche has on hand, I may have to try a one next visit and will be back.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Philippe The Original

1001 N Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-3781
Philippe was established in 1908 and is arguable the creator of the French Dip sandwich. Cole's also claims a stake at the title, but if nobody eats at your restaurant its hard to retain the title. As is the case with Cole's. Philippe's claims that the owner in 1918 accidentally dropped the roll in the roasting juices and the customer asked to take the sandwich as is and thus the 'first' French Dip was born. The name is lost in history, either a result of the French roll it was served on , the owner's French heritage, or the customer having a French name.

A traditional french dip sandwich is sliced roast beef and cheese served on a roll and finished with a quick dip in the beef's cooking juice. Philippe serves beef, ham. pork, lamb, and turkey.

$6.75 Lamb Dip with Blue Cheese (5)
$.80 Pickled Egg (4)
I ate here about 10 years ago and recall two things: one, the sandwich wasn't worth the crowd or the wait and two, the hot mustard kills. The dip was better than I expected. The lamb was fairly tender, not as flavorful as I would have liked. It have this Midwestern taste to it, I kind of feel I should be eating it in a barn. But, the blue cheese was a smart addition as its strong flavor has salvaged many a dishes in its lifetime. i just got the pickled egg because it looked cool and it did not disappoint, it did look cool.

$1.10 Potato Salad (7)
Good quality potato salad with pickles scattered throughout to give it some texture and a salty bite. A lot of BBQ places don't seem to take pride in their side and was good to see that Philippe did.

If not done well, a French Dip actually is a disgusting sandwich. And even when done well, it's nothing to write home about. I'm a little surprised both these restaurants are claiming its invention and a little embarrassed that Los Angeles is home to its birth. Along with Pinks, I can't believe somebody would wait in such a long line for to eat here. But, I guess it's not just about the food, but taking in the historical significance.

Monday, June 1, 2009


704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050

Langer's, the iconic Jewish deli in Los Angeles, was established in 400BC, but I haven't managed to get there due to the limited operating hours. They have the traditional Tanakh length menu highlighted by several pastrami sandwiches. On my visit, I also wanted to get the liver & onions, just to understand how that dish even makes restaurant menus. But I've heard the chickens are force fed and I won't support that.

So, what is pastrami? You basically take beef brisket, the underside of the cow's belly, and brine it (salt and water), dry it, season it, smoke it, then mark it up 300%. That's pastrami in a nutshell. Here's a simplified home version:


The food arrived 3 minutes after we ordered it and they will serve you as long as you get in the door before 4PM.

$12.25 #19 Pastrami, Swiss Cheese and Coleslaw, Russian Style Dressing (9)
This is the best pastrami sandwich I have had. The only relative comparison I have is Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich in Montreal and Langer's was better. The meat was amazingly tender and went great with the rye, coleslaw, and dressing.

$11.60 Hot Pastrami and Swiss Cheese (7)
I got this one with on a French roll. The pastrami was just as good. I just gave it a lower rating because it's best served on rye and it was better with coleslaw and the dressing.

Other reviews I have read tend to complain about the prices and the limited hours, 8AM - 4PM. And I would tend to agree with both. There is, however, free parking a block east of the restaurant.