In 2018, it’s hard to imagine a time before food mashups. From phorritos to cronut burgers (and cronuts, for that matter), modern man loves taking one food concept and ramming it crash-dummy style into another to create something new and bizarre. Even though many of these don’t live past their initial Instagram debuts into longstanding fandom, the few and far between that actually work are a thing of confusing beauty. Case in point: the bafflingly excellent Pastrami Crunch Wrap Supreme.
Found at LA’s modern Jewish restaurant Freedman’s, the Pastrami Crunch Wrap Supreme is exactly as the name suggests. A riff on the Taco Bell drunk food classic, this mashup keeps it simple, replacing the ground beef with top-quality smoked pastrami before loading shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and hot nacho cheese on a crispy tostada, then folding it up into a hand-held disc with a griddled tortilla. The first bite makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it the last time you found yourself with a fridge full of little more than tortillas, nacho cheese, and pastrami at 2 AM.
“When we looked at the new-school deli revolution in America, we were realizing that people were changing the aesthetic but they weren’t changing the food,” founder Jonah Freedman told MUNCHIES. “It was all white minimalist subways tiles and the food was the same. We thought, “Where can we update; where can we take an ingredient we don’t necessarily find interesting anymore and make it interesting again?”
Gaining a modest cult following due to its limited availability—It’s only as part of Freedman’s sporadic buzzy late nights, featuring creative cocktails, turn-tables, and famed L.A. DJs, all announced at the last minute via Instagram—the Pastrami Crunch Wrap is quickly becoming the drunk food of L.A. dreams.
Freedman clarifies: “To us, there's something about Taco Bell that is so L.A. They’re funny; they’re gimmicky; everything is essentially the exact same thing presented in a different form. But [crunchwraps] are great—they’re crunchy and soft and delicious.”
The only thing missing? A Jewish take on fire sauce. “We need that,” Freedman says.