Canter's Deli at 419 Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA, delivered the most wonderful plate of deli food I ever remember biting into. I don't declare this lightly. I have eaten at some of the most delightful deli-restaurants in the country but I wasn't expecting this surprise. On a recent trip to Los Angeles my friends and I headed out for a late meal on a Thursday evening. Our goal was a popular food stand. Driving by it we didn't even park the car when we saw the long line of eager diners winding around the building. So it was pure serendipity that I ended up at Canter's Deli.
This Jewish-style deli opened in 1931 and has been open 24 hours every day of the year except for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Because of it's location near the border of West Hollywood, it has welcomed many celebrities through the decades. Be sure and click on the link to see how many celebs you recognize. I did scan the diners but didn't recognize anyone. (I think the only famous person I ever saw while on a California trip was Sarah Jessica Parker. She had her three children with her. I may have seen others but didn't know who they were. Too bad!)
After we were seated, I was particularly taken in by the lighted ceiling. I have never seen anything like it. Isn't it awesome?
Our waitress, Lauri, a 5 1/2 yr old veteran of Canter's Deli, was most helpful. Trying to decide which reuben to order I asked Lauri the difference between pastrami and corned beef. She smiled and left our table without a word, quickly returning with samples of both. It was such a delight to compare the pastrami and corned beef. The difference was obvious. The pastrami had been brined, partly dried, seasoned with various herbs and spies and then smoked and steamed. The corned beef is salt-cured. When we came in the front door the meat and cheese deli was on our right, brimming with choices. Now I had a better understanding of this Jewish deli offerings.
Sampling each of the yummy slices of meat, we all agreed on the same order, a pastrami reuben. As an appetizer we also had a plate of kosher dill pickles on the table. This was turning into a meal I wasn't going to forget.
The first bite of the sandwich told me I had just experienced the best reuben I've ever had. I've always been a reuben fan but this one was above and beyond. From the pastrami to the rye bread it was amazing. The sweet potato fries were delish as well. I savored every bite I took.
The sandwiches were so big I decided to save the second half for the next day.
This made room for my friends and I to share the creamy cheesecake. Walking into Canter's Deli we passed by the rows of bakery cases screaming "eat me" so what else could we do?
It's a good thing we shared the cheese cake three ways. It would have been a little sinful to eat one all by ourselves!
Here are some pictures of the other bakery choices inside of Canter's Deli.
Besides the outstanding reubens, something else we appreciated about Canter's was the free parking lot next door (with validation). In Los Angeles, free parking is most appreciated. Since the deli is open 24 hours, this thoughtful sign at the parking lot caught my attention.
I was surprised to learn that a Colorado cousin, Aurora Lowell, knew all about Canter's too. At a weekend party we compared notes until our mouths were watering. Has anyone else been to Canter's Deli? This afternoon while writing this blog, I wished I was at that bakery counter. It would have made a very wonderful afternoon treat!