Zaidy’s vs Fromins: Pastrami Rumble Part 2

So the continuation of the battle takes place at a place called Fromin’s Deli in Santa Monica, CA. We were out there for a wedding in Santa Barbara, and then went down to visit some cousins. We decided to go head out and grab some grub, so I was following their lead. We all piled into the car and went down the street to one of my cousins’ favorite places. No wait, good food, and pretty quick service they said.

We get there, and sure enough there was no wait. The place was busy, but it was mostly busy with large tables. When I say large tables, I mean 15-20 per table. There was a lot of hustle and bustle going on with the waiters and waitresses, which is a good sign to me.

So we sit down and we start talking…. and the waiter comes over to ask for our order, and we haven’t even looked at the menu. Even though we were all starving, it took 3 reminders from the waiter or waitress for us to actually look at the menu. I was trying to decide between breakfast foods and a sandwich when the Latke Sandwich caught my attention. It was located under the Sky High Sandwiches section, and this is the description:

Corned Beef & Potato Pancake Sandwich Served with Applesauce 12.95

Idea time: Latke Sandwich Competition.

So I order it, and the waitress looks at me and says “I wouldn’t order that. It is really small.”
“well, then why is it in the sky high sandwich section” I ask? “How big are the latkes?”
“they don’t make a very big sandwich. You are better off getting the latke on the side”
Emily had ordered the latkes for breakfast, and was a little nervous. “is this big enough for a meal? the plate of latkes?”
“oh yes, those are enough for a meal, but they make for a small sandwich”
“oh” i say “well then I will have a pastrami sandwich and a side of latke”

I was a little disappointed in the fact that I was turned away from the sandwich that I had such high hopes for. My last latke sandwich was pretty good, and I was hoping that it would be a close battle. I guess it takes two to rumble. I was really looking forward to doing a side by side break down and really get into it… I was even more disappointed when the sandwich showed up and the latke was just as big as the rye bread. It easily could have made a decent sized sandwich. I mean, the waitress was right, it was smaller, but I still would have liked to try. I almost thing that this one could have beaten Zaidy’s, at least in a couple of categories. The latkes at Zaidy’s were a little soft and lacked structure, but the ones at Fromin’s were solid. Nice and crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. The pastrami was piled high, and was well seasoned. Anyway, here is a picture of the sandwich that I got. Definitely not a competition to Zaidy’s.


Since Zaidy’s won the battle due to the lack of competition, I feel like I should break down this sandwich anyway. it was still pretty good, but the sauerkraut was not as good as it could have been. The bread was untoasted, which is normally fine for a rye, but this one seemed a little weak. I felt like it wasn’t quite strong enough to hold the sandwich together, and it didn’t seem to want to hold in the kraut. The mustard was nothing to write home about. I felt like pulling out the toothpick to slather mustard was like playing a game of Jenga. The meat was good, and once I got the whole sandwich put back together with the mustard and sauerkraut, it was pretty tasty. The latke on the side was sort of a thorn in my side, constantly reminding me of how good a latke sandwich could have been.

Fromin’s Deli
Overall sandwich rating: B
Presentation: B (the sandwich looked good, but the sides were each in their own little prep bowl, which slid around the plate)
Structure: B- (the bread was not strong enough, and it didn’t want to hold the sauerkraut and mustard)
Flavors: B (nothing special about the mustard, and the bread was meh. meat was good)

Non – sandwich related:
Atmosphere: A- (this place is a traditional Jewish Deli, but a little dated. Lots of big groups)
Service: A- (they were honest, but they caused me to not get a latke sandwch…)
Price: B+ (I am not used to LA prices, but it seemed pretty good.)

Verdict: Zaidy’s Wins. No competition.


Zeidis vs Fromins: Pastrami Rumble Part 1

Since I have been on a ruben/pastrami kick, I figured I would do a comparison between a couple of sandwiches that I had a couple of days apart. Two Jewish Delis, both which give you pickles at your table. Both with black and white cookies behind the front counter. Both you need to pay at the counter. One is in Denver, and one is in Santa Monica, but both are pretty darn authentic (i mean, no katz’s deli, but you get what i am talking about) and know their ways around some traditional Jewish food.

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Blue Cow Cafe makes a Ruben without the MOO

My aunt came to town, and we decided to go on a little adventure to check out the wedding venue and take a little tour of the surrounding towns. We swung through Evergreen, and around that time we started to get hungry, so we went off towards Morrison. It was during the Wide Spread Panic show, so we had to avoid a bunch of smelly hippies, but we ended up getting a table at the Blue Cow Cafe. It is a quaint little place with a mixture of inside, outside and patio tables. They have one of those screen windows you can order ice cream from, and a pretty good menu.

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mmm mmm PVFD

I wanted a quick sandwich, and I was short on cash, but I didn’t want a sandwich that let people know that. I also wanted something that I knew I could order, not have to wait in line, and then be back at work in 20 minutes.

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Tommy knockers: didn’t quite get this one knocked out

So after a good day of skiing, my brother and I decided to go grab some food. We stopped at tommy knockers which has some awesome sandwiches, including the Ulitmate Grilled Cheese.

This time I went with the hot pastrami with onions and jalapeno horse radish dressing.  Initial thoughts… Sandwich looks good. Bread toasted well. Meat cut thinly but not that much of it.

First reaction; good texture. A little thin and not very much jalapeno flavor.

Added fries to it; much thicker and felt stronger. Still needed some more spice. Meat was good.

Overall: B/B-


Mothers and Sandwiches, part deux (Eggplant Parm & other sandwiches)

How do you figure out where a good place to get a sandwich is? Do you google it? Do you look for places that have lots of cars in the parking lots? do you look for places that are familiar to you from another location (aka chains)? Do you look for places that have pictures of sandwiches on the windows, the signs, or in their names? Do you ask your mother?

I prefer a little bit of everything. As i was back home for the holiday I was looking at the little town of Clinton, CT through a new set of eyes…. wide open sandwich hunting eyes. When i thought about sandwiches in the town I spent every summer in, my mind immediately jumped to a place called saldamarco’s. Saldamarco’s has been in Clinton for as long as i can remember. I always used to ride my bike by it on the way to the marina, and then hope it would still be open on my way back from cleaning the boat. They used to have very strange hours, and it seemed like they were never open when I wanted a sandwich. it would seem like they would close at 4 or 6. But the sandwiches were so good that even when you weren’t hungry and you saw that they were open, you would stop and get one for later.

Well, now the hours are a little bit different, they rearranged the counter, but the shop is still basically the same. It looks a little run-down, and the interesting italian sodas are still in the fridge. They still offer the same types of chips, and the smells are still intoxicating when you walk in there. Here is a picture of the outside:

They do not have a huge selection of fresh veggies, but they do have a pretty good selection of good meats. They make their own roast beef and some other meats, and they have stuff that every good italian deli should have. They have pastrami, salami, ham, turkey, eggplant, chicken parm, fresh mozzarella, Capicola, and so much more. They use really good sub rolls that have just enough substance but aren’t too crunchy. They get a little soggy if you go with something with the tomato based sauce and it sits there too long, but the sandwiches smell so good that you never really want to leave them that long.

I walked in and was thinking about getting the eggplant parm, but it was so hot out that day, that I wanted something cold. That and my mom was getting the eggplant parm. My stepfather got the Sinatra, which is one of their “specialties”. my mom got the eggplant parm, and i got a roast beef and pastrami with lettuce, tomato, peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, spicy mustard and vinegar.

I was pretty happy with my sandwich. The quality meats and bread made for good hearty flavorful bites, even though the pastrami was a little on the tough side. There was a healthy slathering of mustard, and the red pepper flakes were sort of like the fireworks from the night before, popping and bursting occasionally among the bites of pastrami, roast beef, and lettuce. The soft bread soaked up just the right amount of olive oil and mustard, and compressed enough with a squeeze so you could get it in your mouth.

Here was my sandwich, before I ate it….

Now on to my mom’s sandwich. Hers was about 3 good sized pieces of breaded eggplant, with provolone and shredded mozzeralla. It was nice and warm, so the cheese got all melty. It was finally starting to cool off as we were sitting by the pool. The sauce was starting to seep into the bread just a little bit. My mom was glad I decided to go on a mission to go get Saldamarco’s Sandwiches, because she really does like sandwiches as well… She also really likes making funny faces while eating sandwiches.

All in all, my mom and I both give a total of 4 thumbs and 2 smiles for the saldamarco’s sandwiches.

Can Jewish Deli’s be Reformed?

Not only do I find this headline slightly amusing in the sense that they are not only talking about Jewish Deli’s, but it is kind of a fun play on words relating to sects of Judiasm and the “Reformation” that has occurred. It is quite thought provoking. However, this article really is not at all about the secular state of sects of Judiasm, it is about sandwiches. And delis. And everyone knows that Jewish Delis have the best sandwiches… especially if you are talking about Pastrami on Rye… piled high…. with mustard. and more pastrami… and probably some more mustard.

It is an interesting read that one of my roommates sent to me, and it talks a lot about the importance of ingredients, and making sure that not only are you using good ingredients, but making sure that they are good for the environment as well. There are a lot of trends leading towards organics, but then again there are a lot of chain restaurants that tend to lean towards the genetically modified varieties of foods as well. I mean, if Quiznos and Jimmy Johns can barely mention a sandwich in their ads, and KFC can try and promote something as horrific as the Double Down as a SANDWICH!!!!! then i think the overall trend is to not focus on what is good for people….

New York Times agrees with me and says that good sandwiches have good ingredients. yep. I guess i am right 🙂
Can Jewish Deli’s be reformed?