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Jeff's is insane on Friday afternoons, as packed as a Pico bus at rush hour: local yeshiva kids and modestly dressed young women with double-wide strollers, burly men with leather yarmulkes and business dudes whose tallises occasionally peek out from beneath their suits, all eager to get in a hit of tasty chazzerai before Shabbos pushes the weekend over to prayer, contemplation and bubbie's 10-ton kugel. (Jeff's closes tight at 2 p.m. on Fridays and doesn't reopen until Sunday at 11 a.m.) Rohatiner is one of the few deli guys in Los Angeles who makes his corned beef, salami and pastrami from scratch, and it is possible to get any number of ordinarily trayf foodstuffs - tacos, hot wings, chili fries, fajita wraps - reinvented as kosher eats. A burger with chili, mayo and smoky pastrami fried crisp as bacon? Yours, maybe with a schmear of habanero sauce for an extra two bits. The snappy kielbasa, the veal bratwurst, the Italian sausage are all made in-house. But Jeff's may be all about the hot dogs, thick ones and thin ones and spicy ones spiked with jalapeño chiles, tucked into crisp-edged buns and served by what seems like the thousands. Jeff's hot dogs are endless summer on a bun.
During a stroll along Pico near Robertson on a typical Saturday, the usually lively street seems strangely deserted. There are families visiting each other's homes or walking to and from shul, but aside from a handful of Thai and Chinese... More »
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