June gloom aside, barbecue season is upon us, so we went on a quest for best house-made sausages for summer grilling. Herewith our favorites, in relative order of favorite-ness:
Schreiner’s Fine Sausages, 3417 Ocean View Blvd., Montrose, 818.244.4735, schreinersfinesausages.com. Hoo-boy, you haven’t lived until you’ve delved into the bounty behind the glass cases at Schreiner’s, where women in silly Bavarian get-ups measure out links, bulk sausage, smoked and cured meats (including Black Forest-style ham) and fresh butcher meats. Our favorites from the fresh case are the pale, fat weisswurst (mildly seasoned veal sausages), which get fatter and split open when grilled; the absolutely delicious fresh bratwurst; and the dark, smoky Hungarian sausage, which is cooked and cured and needs only a warm-up on the grill. From the freezer case, try the excellent chicken brats. Extras include fresh coleslaw and Swiss chocolates — so all your basic food-group needs can be met!
Roma Italian Deli, 918 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.797.7748. Owner Rosario has an opinion on everything, and in his opinion, his is the greatest Italian sausage for miles around, and we are not about to argue with him. Roma makes the usual sweet and spicy varieties, and both are perfectly seasoned and cook up juicy on the grill at a lower heat (they can dry out if overcooked).
Mario’s Italian Deli & Market, 740 E. Broadway, Glendale, 818.242.4114, mariosdeli.com. Thanks to our pal Jennie Cook for turning us on to this great Italian market, where crowds pack in at lunchtime to order the generous and fresh sub sandwiches. Mario’s makes their own Italian sausages (sweet and hot), and they’re both good and inexpensive. They also make an excellent and bargain-priced fresh marinara sauce, sold in pint or quart size; the pesto isn’t quite as impressive.
Wurstkuche, 800 E. 3rd St., Downtown L.A., 213.687.4444, wurstkuchrestaurant.com. This is really a sausage restaurant and beer hall, not a shop, but they’ll happily sell you any of their many varieties, from the classic (brats, kielbasa) to the adventurous (sausages made with rattlesnake or alligator) to the vegetarian (not very good). They’re expensive as hell compared to buying from a butcher, but the selection can’t be beat, and it’s fun for downtown workers to check out before heading home to the SG Valley.