Saturday, September 29, 2007
The San Fernando Valley rivals the Westside and the Fairfax District in the deli department. In Northridge alone, there are three competing delis: Brent's, Abe's and Weiler's. Each one has its own fans.
Brents 19565 Parthenia St. Northridge (818) 886-5679
For a long time I was strictly into Brents, a local institution since 1967. They are definitely considered the frontrunner by most people. My friend insists their matzoh balls are the best, and that they are "the size of my head." Their pastrami and corned beef sandwich, pictured above, has to be eaten with a fork before it can be made small enough to fit it in your mouth. They open at 6am, and serve most menu items early. They are famous for their catering, and have just opened a location in Westlake.
Abe's 19626 Nordhoff St Northridge 91324 (818) 701-5563
Abe's is open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights, which is convenient. They used to be a Solley's, until Solley's twin brother Abe took over. Which makes this delivery truck an obvious prop. Their cream puffs are freakishly large, the deli guys are friendly, and their pastrami is spectacular. And who can resist free pickles while you wait? But even the people I met there said they chose Abe's because it was easy to get into on a Sunday morning.
Weiler's 9046 Balboa Boulevard Northridge 91325
Lately Weiler's on the corner of Nordoff and Balboa has started to win me over. They opened in 1962, although they have changed locations. In spite of their un-deli-ish "country charm" decor, they do have some excellent pastrami and a definite neighborhood vibe. Servers greet customers by name and hardly anybody needs a menu. Plus they have these scary cookies that remind me of an unforgettable episode of Gumby:
Really, I am just into the sign. But admit it, you love mojo potatoes. 10340 Reseda Blvd, Northridge (818) 360-2151
A&W Seafood 9306 Reseda Blvd. Northridge 91324
A&W Seafood is known for its Hong Kong-style dim sum lunches. It may not be Monterey Park, but it's pretty darn good. The hostess alternates between being kind of angry and sugary-sweet, which I find a scary combination. Otherwise, the service is friendly, and the ambiance is refreshingly cool and elegant on a hot day.
Colleges always attract good, cheap eats and CSUN is no exception
Cupids 9039 Lindley Av, Northridge
Cupid's hot dogs can be a little bland, so I recommend you go heavy on the toppings. But the snap of the skin and the fat content are in perfect balance. The bun is soft and fresh, and the price can't be beat.
My Hero 9514 Reseda Blvd # 15 Northridge (818) 349-4255
I once walked into a classroom on the first day of class at CSUN and the instructor had written on the board:
How to survive CSUN:
1. Attend class
3. My Hero
Their subs are first-rate, but the secret is the tomato salad. Even when I was vegan, I would just get a tomato salad sandwich. The Italian-style dressing is not overpoweringly vinegary, and the the crunch of the celery is just right.
Falafel Palace 9255 Reseda Blvd. Northridge (818) 993-0734
This is the place for vegans. They even have vegan baklava. But carnivores can feast on shwarma with all the trimmings, and it wouldn't kill you to have a falafel once in awhile. In fact, this is the place where even the most avowed meat-lover should have a falafel.
Mongolian King 9545 Reseda Blvd # 20 Northridge 91324 (818) 886-9711
Before every mall in the world had a Mongolian BBQ, I used to love the novelty of this place. Now I go there because the sauce is a million times better than the sauce at the place in the mall. They also have big, bread puffs that will burn the bejeesus out of your hands, so be careful.
Las Hadas 9048 Balboa Blvd Northridge 91325 (818) 892-7271
I always thought Las Hadas just looked like an an Acapulco's kind of office-lunch place until Frank Black told me it was his favorite Mexican place in Northridge. It turned out they have fantastic enchiladas and huge, dangerous margaritas that make the girls from the office tell you all of their secrets.
Delicious Bakery 9147 Reseda Blvd. Northridge (818) 349-5700
Delicious Bakery, hidden in the corner of the Vons parking lot is a secret, so don't tell anyone. This is where all of the delis get their baked goods. Go straight to the source and get your black-and-white cookies fresh out of the oven. Just look at the size of that hamantashen!
Weinie Bakery 9250 Reseda Blvd. (818) 886-7331
Hidden in the corner of a strip mall, the Weinie Bakery is the place for all things bao. They offer all types of Chinese buns and baked goods. Buns come will fillings like barbecued chicken, vegetarian tofu, and yes, they even have a roll with sliced hot dogs baked into it.
24-hour Party People
El Indio 17019 Roscoe Northridge (818) 765-9259
El Indio On Roscoe just west of Balboa, is a late-night mecca for cops and cars full of drunk partiers. Good tacos make for strange bedfellows. After the bars close down, the place fills with drunk guys nursing sour grapes about how the chicks who wouldn't go home with them "weren't that hot anyways." 24-hours a day, El Indio has killer carnitas tacos and the best chile relleno burritos I've ever had.
Yummy Donuts 7555 Balboa Blvd Northridge (818) 780-2204
Yummy Donuts has acceptable donuts, but the pan quesedilla is killer. So are the little twisty cream puffs. Plus they have sandwiches and ice cream. Where else can you get an ice cream cone at 4am?