Hot Dawg – We found it!
Canter’s was voted #l for Pastrami by the L.A. Times, so when my friend said he wanted a big thick pastrami sandwich with lots of pickles, that’s where we went. For those readers that can remember as far back as when Canters was on Brooklyn Ave in Boyle Heights, (1931) you will probably choke‑up with nostalgia thinking about the two hot dogs for a nickel; one in a bun and the other in your hand. Mile‑high corned beef, pastrami, tongue, and meats were l0¢ loaded with favorite embellishments all stuffed between two pieces of thick rye bread. Salami sandwiches were three inches tall costing a nickel. They are still a one family business and will be celebrating their legendary 60-years on Fairfax Ave as they do every year on October 14, (starting at Noon Corned beef sandwiches are 60-cents again). Don’t miss this event!
They’ve fed the “like’s” of legendary Eddie Canter, Danny Thomas, and Billy Gray of “Band Box” fame, (goes back to world war II). Actor Nicholas Cage met Patricia Arquette there, and other notables who made Canter’s their home away from home have included Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, Cary Grant, and John F. Kennedy. But the thing that keeps diners coming back will always be the Old‑World Jewish dishes. However, over the years, they’ve added items for the cappuccino crowd; pastas, chopped liver, chicken and Cobb salads, plus Pitas and “submarines.” Dinners are priced from $11.95-$17.95, served with an appetizer or soup with a choice of vegetable, plus potato, bread and butter, and dessert of jello, sherbet or ice cream, with coffee or tea. Choices include a half roasted, BBQ, boiled or broiled chicken, roast brisket of beef, and a whole slew of items like hot corned beef and cabbage, liver and onions, stuffed kishka, Broiled Salmon, also turkey with stuffing; and so-on.
When writing about a “Deli” I don’t refer to my particular choices because anyone going to a Jewish Deli knows what they serve. Favorite ones become dynasties, sort of engraved in the brain of each generation claiming theirs as the best. And families get used to the cooking of their own treasured hangouts where one might get foods stemming from their fondest memories; like Mom making her crispy “knishes,” (a potato, vegetable or meat stuffed pastry) or Mom concocting her soft doughy ones. And that’s the way you want it.
Many Deli‑eaters love the “hub” of the familiar sounds and aromas. And in many cases one can depend on less than desirable service that’s either too fast, slow or indifferent; all for the joy of divine scents coming from herring, corned beef, salami, pastrami, fantastic pickles and fish platters with enough food on the plate to feed four.
Breakfast is served every day around the clock, with a special deal costing $6.50-$14.95, from 6:00am to 11:00am. It includes regular or egg-white omelette with mushrooms, or Polish sausage & eggs; with other combinations of turkey sausage, bacon, ham, salami or steak & eggs. They’re served with potatoes, toast, roll or bagel, plus coffee or tea. However you can still get “Matzo Brey,” lox with eggs and onions, Benedict or Florentine, Belgian waffles, and all the familiar breakfast items priced under $10. Pancakes are about $5.
I love looking at the bagels, breads, cheese cakes, turnovers, French pastries, coffee cakes, Napoleons and éclairs in the display cases upon entering. My favorite is their mondel‑bread, the Jewish answer to Italy’s Biscotti. And at Canter’s the “old‑fashioned” soda fountain menu has me salivating over banana splits, root‑beer floats, malts, shakes and sodas.
It’s interesting to note that over the years, Canter’s sold over three‑million pounds of lox; 6-million pounds of Pastrami; 10-million pounds of of corned beef; 12-million Matzo Balls; 21-million Bagels; 4‑million pounds of potato salad; 10‑million pounds of corned beef, l2‑million matzo balls, 21‑million bagels, 25‑million bowls of chicken soup, (Jewish penicillin) and world famous pickles? Don’t ask!
They do an excellent job on party planning and have a special catering department. You can call for prices. They’re open 24‑hours, offering a restaurant, delicatessen, bakery, and cocktail lounge with entertainment in the Kibitz room, (a kibitzer is a wisecracker, tease, etc). So take a “dedicated fresser” (rhymes with dresser, a Yiddish word meaning someone that loves to eat a lot) to lunch or dinner for a feast. 419 N. Fairfax Ave., LA; (323) 651-2030; major credit cards accepted, delivery, validated & street parking. You “gotta” feel affection for this place. Canter’s Deli is a legend and the menu is “stupendous!”
PS. Don’t miss the Bean-Barley soup; also Bar service