Ask any authentic Irishman and and he’ll tell you corned beef and cabbage was not a common meal in Ireland; it was actually bacon. So how did corned beef and cabbage become such a staple of the holiday? Allegedly, New York taverns offered the dish as a “free lunch” to Irish construction workers during the early 1900s as a ploy to keep them drinking. Well, it worked and corned beef and cabbage quickly became known as an “Irish” meal. Who cares if technically it isn’t Irish? It’s pretty darn tasty. And if you’re looking for some on St. Patrick’s Day it won’t be hard to find, but here are some places that do it best.
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
It may not be an Irish establishment, but this Los Angeles landmark has sold 9 million pounds of corned beef since it opened in 1931, so you better believe it’s good stuff. Open 24/7 and served many delicious ways, Canter’s Deli will provide you with a major corned beef and cabbage dinner whenever you’re in the mood, St. Paddy’s Day or not.
4017 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230
Hours: Sun to Thurs—10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., Fri to Sat—10 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.
Sitting on the outskirts of LA, Johnnie’s Pastrami has been around since the 50s, and apparently so have some of their waitresses. Though you won’t find your traditional St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage here, you will find a deliciously respectable “deluxe” sandwich plate alternative. So drop some coins in the original table top jukebox and enjoy.
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704 S Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Hours: Mon to Sat—8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun—Closed
Featured on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” series, Langer’s Deli is home to the word’s best pastrami, and the CB&C is nothing to shake a shilelagh at. Served with cabbage, in a sandwich with slaw, in a combo, or hot on a plate all by itself, the corned beef at Langer’s is a must. If you’d prefer to celebrate at home, the restaurant offers curb service if you call ahead.
Altadena Ale House
2329 Fair Oaks Ave.
Altadena, CA 91001
Hours: Mon to Fri—5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat to Sun—3 p.m. to 2 a.m., St. Patrick’s Day—Noon to 2 a.m.
With an atmosphere reminiscent of the show “Cheers,” everybody really does know your name at this local restaurant, as the Altadena Ale House is a favorite among the locals. Family owned and run with a laid back environment, you’ll wish you lived closer to this place. While it may not be Irish, it will be doing the Irish proud with hearty and tender corned beef and cabbage plates for $10, which might be the cheapest price in town. There might be something to that New York Irish theory after all.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.