Saturday, March 24, 2018


What you have below are two half half-sandwiches served at Langer’s Deli, 704, South Alvarado Street, in Los Angeles.

On the left hand side of the plate is half a “#3 – CORNED BEEF, SWISS CHEESE and SAUERKRAUT sandwich” and on the right side is half a “#19 PASTRAMI and SWISS CHEESE Russian Style Dressing,” though without the dressing. 

Russian dressing is one of those American internationalist inventions like the English muffin, the French Dip – and I suppose French fries – which are not nearly as international as they sound.  Russian dressing was apparently invented by one James E. Colburn of Nashua, New Hampshire.  Today's versions contain mayo, ketchup and pickle relish and often other stuff too, and they're kind of revolting (IMHO) – though I know other views are possible.  What it had to do with Russia isn't at all clear.  Some sources say the original version contained caviar, which strikes me as unlikely, but the affairs of Nashua, New Hampshire are not an open book to me. The Langer dressing was only “Russian-style” – but I didn’t want to take the risk.

Langer’s is situated just a latke’s throw from MacArthur (formerly Westlake) Park, and it’s been pretty well established, i.e. Jimmy Webb has said, that he wrote the song of that title, in 1967 or so, because MacArthur Park was where he used to meet his girlfriend for lunch.  The relationship was doomed, the girlfriend’s name was Susie Harton, and she worked in an office nearby.  This is how she looks today:

And this is Jimmy back then having a special moment with Richard Harris:

History doesn’t tell us how often Jimmy and Sally met for lunch, or what they ate,  (I guess they didn't eat the cake that had been left out in the rain) but I’d like to think they had a sandwich from Langer’s at least once or twice.  Call me an old romantic.
Oh, and romanticism aside, this is my 666th posting on Psychogourmet - bestial, eh?

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