Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 5

Greetings, Readers!

I am sad to announce some very bad news to you: this is the last entry in our Burbank adventure.

Did you think I was going to say I was ending the blog? Because that's insane. I may be on a new diet and exercise routine, but that does not mean I will give up my love of sandwiches, nor my love of reporting it.

The real problem with writing about Burbank is that there are just too many places to review, so I will have to tackle this area again in the near future.

On our last stop in Burbank, my traveling partner Bryan mentioned that the Burbank Deli & Carryout was known to have the best liverwurst sandwich in town. Now, I have never had liverwurst, nor had I even thought about it as a possibility for consumption, but I was up for the experience.

If i was going to try it, why not at the deli with the sign that says "best wurst in town"?

Sadly though (or luckily enough?) the deli hadn't served liverwurst in a few years, but had kept the sign because it had become such a staple of the shop. Speaking with the sandwich artist we were recommended two different sandwiches: The Pastrami and the Assorted Meats.

Having already tried numerous pastrami sandwiches, we decided to tackle the Assorted Meats Sandwich.

Stacked with ham, bologna, salami, roast beef, lettuce, jalapenos, peperoncini, provolone cheese, tomatoes, salt, pepper and mayo on a long Italian roll, this sandwich delivers with flavor and is filling.

Each of the meats lends their own distinctive flavor without really tripping over each other. The ham and bologna flavors blend well together with the salami and roast beef sticking out from the crowd with their own distinctive flavors. The peperoncinis and jalapenos add a spicy kick while the lettuce gives this meaty sandwich a little bit of crunch.

Oh, and the roll held up throughout the entire ordeal. Quite the feat for how much is contained inside.

So this ends this journey through Burbank to discover some of the best delis in town. Besides finding numerous delicious sandwiches to eat, I think I gained an insight into what makes Burbank a great town.

Not only did we find great neighborhood delis, but we met the people who owned them, who worked in them, and who added to the great culinary experience of Burbank.

Meeting the people was just as enjoyable as eating the sandwiches that made them popular.

So use this adventure as a reason to get out and learn about some of your neighborhood eats and learn more about your neighborhood/town/city. You'll be glad you did.

Until next week, Readers...

Assorted Meats Sandwich
**** Stars
Burbank Deli & Carryout
1414 W. Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA 91506

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 4

Greetings, dearest Readers!

I hope that the Sandwich Gods have treated you this past week to deliciousness as I further retell my tale of trekking through the city of Burbank.

The one thing I've been noticing while writing these blog posts is that Burbank, for being a small suburban town, is packed to the gills with great places to eat. It's a shame that more people do not have reasons to drive up to Burbank on the regular, as there are so many culinary gems in this town, it's hard to count them all.

Another shop that @818NewGuy visited was Tony's Market, but this wasn't a pre-planned trip.

A few of the shops that we had tried to visit on this day were closed, and instead of giving up and going home, I did a random search through Yelp and this place popped up.

Good thing I did, because compared to the other shops we visited, this was out of the way, and a place we wouldn't have come across casually.

Dom Manente was behind the counter when we arrived and was very talkative not only to us, but all of his regulars who came through the door on our visit. It's always great to have a rapport with the people at your favorite shop, and Dom was just further proof of that.

He took the time to suggest some sandwiches, gave a little history on the shop and just talked about our journey with us. In the end though, we ended up ordering the pastrami compared to the many other sandwiches that he offered up as top choices.

Heading to a local park, we sat down and sampled this sandwich from Tony's Market. Hands down, this is one of the best pastrami sandwiches out there. Biting into it, the only way to describe the meat in this packed sandwich is buttery.

The meat had been cooked and marinated for so long that the fat had mostly melted away, lending its buttery flavor to the rest of the meat, and did not leave it even remotely dry.

Tender and lending its usual marinated spice flavor to the rest of the sandwich, it is hard to remember even tasting anything else. Sure there was mustard, sure there were pickles, and absolutely there was a roll that stayed together until the end, but my mind was solely concentrating on the delicious pastrami.

It is worth the trip to North Burbank for this sandwich alone. If you're a fan of the cured meat, then I highly suggest you take a little drive to this part of the valley just to meet Dom and try one of his best sandwiches.

And so ends another week of touring Burbank's sandwich offerings. One more to go in this series, but if you're in the area, don't just limit yourself to these shops I've mentioned. Always explore on your own as well.

In other non-sandwich related news, I will be skydiving tomorrow for my 30th birthday. If it were at all possible, I'd jump with a sandwich for the blog's new logo. Sadly i think any bread would be annihilated by falling at 120 mph.

Until next week, Readers...

Pastrami Sandwich
**** Stars
Tony's Market
2813 N. Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91504

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 3

 Welcome back, Dear Readers, for our third week of trekking through the city of Burbank, CA.

For this stop, Bryan (@818newguy) and I headed over to Moore's Delicatessen in downtown Burbank. This deli is a hot spot during lunch hour for people who work at Cartoon Network, which is just around the corner.

If you get to stop in here one time, definitely make sure you take a peek at the back dining room, as cartoonists from CN mark up the wall with sketches from the shows that they work on.

Talking to Ollie at the counter of Moore's we inquired about what their best sandwich was. It didn't take her long to suggest the City Hall, a customer favorite.

The City Hall is essentially a Reuben, although in this case, you have your option on which meat you would like to include. Your choices range from the typical corned beef to pastrami, turkey, ham, or roast beef. For this time around we went with straight up pastrami.

It had been a little while since my last pastrami sandwich, and I have to admit that I was itching to get some.

Generously added to the sandwich with cole slaw, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and grilled rye bread (make sure you ask for it to be grilled), the City Hall is a real winner in Burbank.

This pastrami had some excellent flavor. All of the usual spices were in play, but without being overpowering. Pastrami really does have a fine line between perfect and sadly over/under flavored.

The other positive about the meat was its tenderness. Even some of the best pastrami tends to have a problem when its cools down (if you've cooked it) in that the fat re-congeals or becomes tough, making the meat somewhat inedible. This was not a problem here. If anything, the meat may have been a little dry, but overall was very well prepared for this sandwich.

The Swiss cheese and Russian dressing blended together in a creamy melange of smooth, smoky flavor which matched the pastrami well. The cole slaw added a sweet crispy crunch to the sandwich that contrasted well with its savory interiors.

And the grilled rye? Well that held together until the end with excellent rye flavor, brought out by the light toasting.

Let's face it, I have a true bias when it comes to pastrami, and in that sense I tend to judge those types of sandwiches on a tougher scale. Despite that, I have to highly recommend this sandwich. While the pastrami could be a little less dry, overall it is a can't miss sandwich in downtown Burbank.

I have to say that before this sandwich journey with Bryan even began, I knew of some great sandwich shops in Burbank, but I have to admit that I never thought there would be so many! So far, we've either hit all of the best places in town, or every sandwich shop should be on par with a five star restaurant.

It seems like the city of Burbank does not disappoint.

Until next week, dear Readers!

City Hall Sandwich
**** Stars
Moore's Delicatessen
271 East Orange Grove Ave.
Burbank, CA

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 2

Greetings, Readers!

Have you been anxiously awaiting another entry in the adventure through Burbank?

For our next stop, my sandwiching partner Bryan Mahoney and I were a bit confused.

We knew we wanted to hit Tony's Deli in Burbank, problem is that there are five of them.

Five. All with different owners. All within a few miles of each other. All with different options.

I could do a 5 week entry on these delis alone, but I won't.

The first Tony's we stopped by is the one located on Olive Ave near Buena Vista, very close to WB and NBC.  On two of our previous outings we arrived only to find that it was closed for the day. For those of you interested in visiting Tony's, make sure you swing by before 5pm during the week, and closed Sundays. It's very easy to visit though if you work at WB or NBC and can get there for the lunch time rush.

One of my favorite things to do while sandwiching is talking up the people who work at the places I visit.  The guys working at Tony's were very open to talking about the history of their shop (and the others that have been owned by owner). It's always great to also hear their recommendations about what the most popular sandwich is, or which one is their favorite too. It puts a human face on the places we eat, and is just one of the reasons to keep returning.

While the pastrami was touted as one of their best sandwiches, we decided to go a different route. Looking at a sign over the deli counter proclaiming their new invention of Jerk Turkey and Colby Jack Cheese, we knew we had found the sandwich we were looking for.

Jerk marinated turkey, colby jack cheese, lettuce and onions on top of a sesame seed roll, this was a sandwich with quite a different style from others I had tasted.

The sandwich has quite a kick to it if you're not used to spicy things, unlike myself, but it won't exactly melt your face off. While the colby jack cheese has pepper flakes in it, it's the turkey that brings a bit of the heat with jerk seasoning. The smoked turkey flavor pairs excellently with the flavor of the jerk spices.

The sesame roll was lightly crisped and easily held together until the end. Not a ton of flavor from the roll, but it did very well in its performance.

Overall, I have to say that this is one of my new favorite sandwiches in Los Angeles. On one hand, it's a simple turkey sandwich with cheese, but it's the extras in style and flavoring that put this classic over the edge into greatness.

While it may be hard for most people to make the stop because of the early hours during the week, I must emphasize my stamp of approval for this particular Tony's (more to come in the next few weeks btw). An excellent take on an old classic should be right up any sandwich enthusiast's alley.

Until next week, Dear Readers...

But for the time being, check out Bryan Mahoney's second entry for The Burbank Leader about our epic trek through Burbank here.

Jerk Turkey Sandwich
**** 1/2 Stars
Tony's Deli
2609 W. Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91505

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 1

Greetings Readers!

I am very excited to start this week's blog because it is part one in a series of entires that will focus on sandwiches in the town of Burbank, CA.

For those of you who don't live in the area, Burbank is home to studios like NBC and Warner Bros. as well as many other production companies. Despite being a hub of the industry in the Valley, it is also a quiet suburban town with a tight-knit community.

I've visited a few places in Burbank for this blog in the past, but this trip was going to be different. It began when I was contacted by Bryan Mahoney (@818newguy on Twitter) who writes the column Burb's Eye View for the Burbank Leader. We decided that we join forces and take on various delis and their sandwiches in Burbank, giving us insight not only into what sandwiches are popular there, but also giving us a chance to meet some of the colorful characters that make up this great part of Los Angeles.

For our first stop, we visited a well known mom-and-pop deli called Otto's Hungarian Import Store and Deli tucked away on a quiet street corner.

Besides a wide variety of meats, cheeses, import beers and other deli offerings, Otto's also stocks a number of European sweets that tempted me during our visit. Most notable Kinder Happy Hippos. It was hard not to buy a box of them, but then that would ruin the first leg of our trip.

On suggestion from the owner, we ordered the Otto's Special. This sandwich is a true meat lovers sandwich. Ham, bologna, forest ham and three different types of salami all packed in a long Italian roll with Swiss cheese and Hungarian peppers.


All of the meat was very fresh and bursting with flavor. Despite all of the competing flavors though, you could easily tell each of the meats apart from the other, and without the combination becoming overpowering. It was amazing, as I had half expected it to just be a singular combined flavor. Even with all of the filling, the roll stayed intact until the end, never once yielding to the massive amount of meat inside.

It was great.

While the sandwich was delicious, the owner added to the enjoyment of this stop. He talked to us about the history of Otto's, suggested numerous options for our sandwich, and even presented us with slices of Hungarian sausage to sample and a lotto ticket for each.

Otto's is known in the neighborhood as Otto's Lotto because of the large number of people who have won after buying their tickets from them. I was not so lucky with my ticket.

So, if you love Hungarian food, or are just looking for a superb deli in the Burbank area, you would be best served to head to Otto's whenever you can (they're closed on Sundays though). The delicious sandwiches, fresh deli meats, world beers and European sweets will appeal to everyone with good taste.

That's all for this week, dearest Readers. Join me again next week as Bryan and I take on another local deli in Burbank!

(For Bryan's article on our Burbank sandwiching, click here.)

Otto's Special
**** Stars
Otto's Hungarian Import Store and Deli (closed on Sundays)
2320 West Clark Avenue
Burbank, CA 91506