06/6/14

Car chaos and great brisket in the Valley

Last weekend started out so well. After weeks of research, we headed out to The Valley to buy a car. Chris had been without a car after an accident a couple months back. So, this was much needed.

We had a car in mind and headed out to Northridge to check it out. It was perfect. We even saw the kid from Modern Family in the Wendy’s across the street.

We bought the car and that was when things started to get crazy. I don’t have my license yet (hang over of many years spent in Europe) and Chris had been renting a car to visit me.  Which left us with two cars to get back to the apartment but only one driver.

The rental car was from Hertz and we had been given the name of an office close to the dealership. We headed off to it with the idea of dropping of the rental and getting a cab back to the new car. When we got there it was closed.  In desperation, we found a safe side street to park the rental and found a friend that could help us move the cars around the next day.

Before we headed out the next morning, Chris called Hertz and was given a price (and charged) for a one way rental. They also gave us the address of where to drop the car. Simple, right?

Yeah,except that when we got to that address it was an empty parking lot with no sign of any buildings at all much less a Hertz office. We called Hertz again and they apologized and gave us another address. Amazingly, when we got to that location, it didn’t exist either. Made slightly more ridiculous by there being two other Hertz’s customers there also looking for the mystery location to drop off their rental car.

Once more we called them and the person on the other end told us that our only option was to take the car to Burbank Airport. Since we had been trying to return this car for three hours, we were happy to have a promising solution.

That was until we got to Hertz at Burbank Airport where they told us we would be charged a much higher rate for returning it to them. That was on top of the amount Chris had already been charged when he called that morning. Made worse by the woman behind the counter – Bonnie – who rolled her eyes at us when we were explaining what we had just been through at the hands of her company. Long story made somewhat shorter, Chris was able to call the next day and get some of that extra refunded but it was all handled so poorly that we won’t be renting from Hertz again any time soon.

There was one bright point to the day. Of course, it was food.  We planned to go  for lunch in Northridge before we started the car gymnastics.  I did my research and decided that we should give Brent’s Deli a try.

I loved that there was an actual deli counter right inside the door.  That gave me hope that Brent’s Deli just might be the right thing.

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The dining room was packed with people but they moved folks in and out quickly.

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We only waited ten minutes to be seated despite there being at least half a dozen parties in front of us.

The menus we were given,once we were seated, were something else. Honestly,I don’t think I have ever seen a menu with a table of contents before.

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From breakfast through to dessert, there were so many items on the Brent’s Deli menu that we had munched through the complimentary plate of pickles before we had decided what to order.

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I kept coming back to the dips section of the menu and finally settled on ordering the brisket dip.  Chris ordered the pastrami and turkey dip with sauteed onions. We split things so we both could try each sandwich.

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The sandwiches were massive. Yet. no sooner had I commented that I would never be able to finish it before my half of the brisket dip vanished down my throat.

The piles of tender thinly-sliced beef brisket were sandwiched between a flaky kaiser roll. The roll was just crusty enough to take a deep dip into the au jus without falling apart.  I especially liked that the au jus wasn’t overly salty. With most other dips, I can only manage a few dunks before the sodium begins to overwhelm. Not the case here.

Just the sight the brisket dip gave me hope that it would be good but what did surprise me was the quality of the coleslaw. It tasted just like the coleslaw my Nana makes. Which,of course,is the best coleslaw on the planet. Not too creamy, not too sweet and – very importantly for me – no raw onions.

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The pastrami part of the pastrami and turkey sandwich wasn’t bad either. The turkey,whilst good, wasn’t really needed on the sandwich. It acted as a barrier to the au jus and as a result the bottom part of the sandwich was moist and the top was dry. I ended up taking out most of the turkey so that I could have more of that moist pastrami goodness.

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As much as the car chaos drove us crazy,at least it lead to the discovery of Brent’s Deli. Now we know where to go for some great deli sandwiches when life brings us to the valley.

Oh and this is the new car in question. Almost as tasty as that brisket.

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