Jeff Mauro Can't Get Enough Of The Pastrami Sandwich At Langer's In Los Angeles - Exclusive

Do you have a favorite sandwich? The one you automatically go to as soon as you walk up to the deli counter or make sure is always part of that picnic lunch? For some, it's an Italian sub; for others, it's a corned beef sandwich. But for celebrity chef, Jeff Mauro, it's pastrami. He's such a fan, in fact, that he told Tasting Table in an interview that pastrami on rye with mustard would be his "death meal."

We weren't surprised to hear that a sandwich would be part of the Sandwich King's final meal. When it comes to classic deli sandwiches, pastrami is right at the top of the list. Even though the pastrami sandwich originated in New York City Jewish delis, today it can be found at sandwich shops across the country, and Mauro has probably tried them all. But since he was visiting Los Angeles for the first Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival, we were curious about where he goes to get a pastrami sandwich when he visits Southern California. "I already had it, yesterday," he answers enthusiastically. "Langer's." 

Founded in June of 1947 by Al and Jean Langer, this delicatessen, which originally only had 12 seats inside, has survived the 1992 LA Riots, at least 10 recessions, has won two James Beard awards, and is considered an L.A. institution. But those noteworthy feats aren't what keep patrons coming back day after day. It's the pastrami sandwich.

Langer's most popular sandwich also happens to be Mauro's favorite

Mauro may enjoy pastrami on rye with mustard at other delis, but when he eats at Langer's, the award-winning chef tells us without hesitation that he opts for the number 19, Langer's most popular sandwich. Created by Al Langer in the 50s, the number 19 is hot pastrami, cole slaw, and a melted slice of Swiss cheese, on two slices of twice-baked rye that are coated with Russian dressing. Touted by numerous celebrities, including Nora Ephron, who called it "the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world" in The New Yorker, we even included it in our list of the Top 15 Iconic Pastrami Sandwiches Across the U.S.

With 10 different pastrami sandwiches on the menu, it's no surprise that Langer's has served over eight million pounds of the deli meat since opening its doors. So, what is it that makes Langer's pastrami so special? Al's son and current owner, Norm Langer, told the L.A. Times that the pastrami they use is his father's recipe, the same recipe the deli has been using for over 40 years. The meat comes from RC Provisions in Burbank where they brine it for at least three days and then smoke, pepper, and steam it until it's soft and tender. Only then is the meat sliced and piled high on crispy rye. With a recipe that tried and true, we're sure Mauro will be visiting Langer's and enjoying its #19 for many years to come.