Wherever there is a city, there is a food scene, and wherever there is a food scene there are people to vigorously defend various dishes as being the crème de la crème, the top of the eatable heap, the best bites in the world.
And few noshables stoke the kind of local fervor that pastrami does, at least around Los Angeles. We know we have the best stuff around, and to quibble with a meat maven in the Southern California area is to enter in a passionate back-and-forth.
The only back-and-forth-ing that should be going on, at least come Thursday, Jan. 14, is where to get a hot pastrami.
It's National Hot Pastrami Day, in fact, an ideal time to show any recent arrival who remains dubious that LA does this dish best what we have to offer.
There are the staples, of course, to start with, those tried-and-toothsome diners and kitchens who've made thousands of piled-high pastrami sandwiches over multiple decades. Langer's Delicatessen, which is well into its seventh decade, and Canter's Deli on Fairfax Avenue, both have their fierce backers. Backers, of course, that very typically love both places, and the history represented by each.
And is there any quibbling over what to get a Langer's? The #19, of course. (Canter's, your must-gets are plentiful, but we have to go matzo ball soup.)
Brent's Deli, of Northridge and Westlake Village, goes straight-up, super-savory hot pastrami, but there are some beyond-worthy additions on the menu, like hot pastrami and corned beef as well as hot pastrami, fresh roasted turkey, and Swiss.
Pastrami has a way of playing well with a host of other flavors.
There's also the celebrated pastrami dip served up by The Hat, for those eaters who crave a fistful of lightly spiced sustenance and au jus. ("Au jus on everything" is surely some people's mottos for 2016, or should be.)
As for the newer hot pastramis on the block? They're around, at places like Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, which offers pastrami gravy fries, which can automatically be entered into whatever "ultimate comfort food" contest might come along, no interview or application required. (Yep, it comes with chopped pickles, if you were curious.)
The weather's right come mid-January for hot pastrami love, but you can always show that disbelieving newcomer why LA does pastrami best, regardless of the date. If that date is Jan. 14, a holiday for hot pastrami, well, then, so much the better, for you and the new arrival who is about to fall in love with a lifelong favorite.