I don't know what I used to eat when I was sick before I knew about Jewish food. Now, thanks to J, it's my go-to at the first sign of a sore throat or the sniffles. The food is so warm, hearty and carb-a-licious that, even if I still feel like crap when I'm done with my meal, at least I'm a little happier. And so, today, it was Langer's to the rescue!
Langer's, located in Westlake, is famed for its menu's #19--the pastrami sandwich that many claim is the best pastrami sandwich in the US. I, however, have only braved the crowded, busy streets of Alvarado in the fog of a headcold or amidst a flu-induced coughing fit (which, given the pretty shady area, is maybe not the best idea but c'est la vie) and have never actually tried this famed sandwich. The fact that they close at 4 PM every day also has something to do with this...
In the 1920s, Westlake had a primarily Jewish population and was the LA equivalent of New York's Upper East Side. Upon stepping into Langer's, you certainly get a blast from the Westlake past and completely forget that you're in the middle of a busy, urban area.
The interior definitely has the diner/deli kitsch factor going with its counters, quilted booths and more shades of brown and orange than you knew existed.
I ordered my standard "I'm sick and in need of comfort meal": Matzoh ball soup, potato knishes and kasha varnishkes. For you goys out there like me, knishes are a snack food made of dough wrapped around a filling (in my case, potato) and kasha varnishkes is bowtie pasta cooked with buckwheat and onions.
I don't know what to say about kasha varnishkes other than that it's delicious and absolutely perfect when you're sick (or any time, really). Some places serve it with gravy, but I really like getting the flavor of the onions and buckwheat in every bite and being able to feel the difference in texture between the buckwheat and the pasta.
I hate 99.9% of soups. I just don't understand it. It's not filling, but it's not light, and I get bored of eating it. I do, however, love matzoh ball soup, and Langer's is delicious. The matzoh ball is soft but not so soft that it falls apart when you dig in with your spoon. The broth was also flavorful and was really soothing on my throat.
I've eaten more than a few knishes in my days, but I've never seen ones like this! They were practically the size of baseballs! These were really yummy, but the outer layer of dough was a little thicker than I'd have liked and, after a while, I scooped out the potato from the middle and ate that with ketchup.
This huge amount of food all came out to about $17--not too shabby--and I still have leftovers. In fact, I'm going to go eat some kasha varnishke right now.
704 S. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA, 90057