A place called All About the Bread can win or lose its credibility with just a handful of critical Los Angelenos. Fortunately, this mid-city deli is still going strong nearly three years after its opening. Walking into AATB, you land your eyes on a large, wooden communal table in a cool, black and white interior. Just behind it stands the deli counter, and behind that, the menu. The menu lists your standard deli cuts and sandwiches, but the real star is indeed the bread.
Take the Hot Pastrami ($6.50 for a regular, $8.50 for a large). The freshly baked baguette achieves that elusive balance between crunch and softness: crunchy on the outside to give a satisfying bite, but soft enough on the inside to soak up the spicy, tangy melange of mustard, pickles, and pepperoncini. The pastrami is thinly sliced, and there's enough of it to keep the spice from overwhelming your taste buds. Order a large if you have the appetite, but expect to make it halfway before realizing you need to lean back and take a breather.
The Hot Pastrami is a perfect reminder that a sandwich doesn't need fancy ingredients or a crazy gimmick to stand out. A cold drink is the only accompaniment you need. Though by no means dainty, the Hot Pastrami is portable enough to hold in your hands while window-shopping on Melrose. Just watch those shirt sleeves—that mustard drips.
All About the Bread
About the author: Sarah Woo is a pasture-raised, California girl paired with slow-grilled Santa Maria tri-tip and piquant Korean kimchi. Check out her kitchen adventures at Winner Celebration Party. You can also follow her on Twitter at @wcpartyparty.