Canter’s Deli – Cross-Cultural Holiday Confusion

canter's deli, los angeles, ca - bloody mary
You know where Jewish people go out to eat on Christmas Day?


You know where Japanese people go out to eat on Thanksgiving Day?


By progressive forward deduction, it is absolutely logical that on the Fourth of July, American people would go out to eat at…

…a Jewish deli!

While every other red-, white-, and blue-blooded American was sunning and funning at some star and stripes BBQ on the Fourth of July, complete with sparklers and a suspiciously patriotic potato salad that no one dares to touch, I went to the most natural place for a laptop-toting food blogger to go: Canter’s Deli. I know. What kind of food blogger am I?!?! I should have been Ina Garten-ing my own all-American poolside BBQ on my rooftop decked out in gingham-checked apron over my Daisy Dukes and cherry red halter top. At the very least I could have slapped together some saucy burgers and hauled them over to someone else’s potlucky BBQ, but I just didn’t have it in me. Let’s just say that I had my own fireworks display a little early and was still suffering the afterburn 12 hours later.

After multiple failed attempts to find some sort of hydrating relief around the city — something, anything — I was a little shocked to discover that Canter’s was one of very few places that was actually open on the Fourth. I was a little more than shocked to discover that we weren’t the only ones in search of an alternative to safely overcooked rubber chicken disguised as delicious under a thick coat of someone’s special sauce. The place wasn’t exactly packed, but it was definitely more crowded than I have ever seen it at 2 AM on a Saturday night. Of course, the composition of the clientele was very different. I am estimating the median age of a Canter’s customer on the Fourth of July as opposed to any weekend night was about 40 years higher.

We slid into one of the booths and proceeded to look over the menu of Biblical proportions. As is always the case when faced with too many options, everything and nothing sounded good to me. Bowl of medicinal matzoh ball soup? Sarah’s signature sandwich at a deli, pastrami Reuben? Hangover helping hamburger? The only thing I knew for sure was that I needed about a three gallons of Diet Coke for the caffeine and the refreshment. The Bloody Mary wasn’t bad either, but only after customizing it with additional Tabasco sauce and black pepper.

After unnecessarily long cogitation, I ended up with a spinach and mushroom omelet made with egg whites only and even went so grossly far as to order a side of cottage cheese. I have no idea what possessed me to order so health-consciously, but I suspect I felt obligated to balance out the French fries and Monte Cristo that were also coming to the table.

canter's deli, los angeles, ca - spinach and mushroom omelet
omelet by green giant
canter's deli, los angeles, ca - french fries
either, ore ida

The omelet was laughably horrible. More like a frittata than an omelet, it looked like the Green Giant had spewed his frozen spinach into a bucket of egg whites and threw in yesterday’s wrinkled mushrooms for fiber. I had to kill every rubbery bite with a lethal dose of Tabasco to get it down, but really, I wasn’t complaining. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of the third of the omelet I ate.

Though I prefer thin, soggy fries of the McClowny variety, the French fries weren’t bad, for when are French fries, really, ever bad? They were a little hard on the outside, and the inside had that dry, mealy texture that reminds me of frozen Ore Ida cooked in a toaster oven, but it was nothing that a solid sweep through mustard couldn’t fix. I don’t do ketchup.

canter's deli, los angeles, ca - monte cristo
meaty french toast, imho

I only had a tiny bite of the Monte Cristo sandwich, just to say that I tried it. Sandwiches, other than a luxurious pastrami Reuben, are not quite my thing, and even then, I pull the whole thing apart and eat the pastrami, sauerkraut and bread separately, dipped in Russian dressing. Furthermore, I have recently developed a psychological allergy to “sweet” breakfasts, and the idea of sandwich bread dipped in egg reminded me too much of French toast. The Monte Cristo was, like the French fries, dry.

Canter’s wasn’t the worst way to spend the Fourth of July, and in fact, even with the charmingly horrible food, it was quite good.

At least I wasn’t working on the Fourth, like our server, who was, not oddly enough, Korean.

Canter’s Deli
419 N. Fairfax Ave @Oakwood
Los Angeles, CA 90036

** a year ago today, firecrackers make too much noise so i did five RiFWoLs for the fourth **
** two years ago today, we didn’t sniff the condiments, went here and there and everywhere, and ended up with chicken soup for our hungover souls **

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  • Tee

    I only visit Canter’s for one reason: Rugelach. The yummy Jewish cookies are not only better here but cheaper. Being a young, black woman I’m not expert but they’re as good as the ones I got back home in NYC.

  • foodette

    That sandwich is oozing Judaism – soooo good!

  • Hillary

    I just want to make sure people are aware that though this deli serves Jewish food, it isn’t considered kosher if they offer cottage cheese alongside a reuben sandwich. Sounds good though! And I’m glad people like the rugalach

  • Cleo

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