Slap Yo’ Mamma!

I’ve always had a secret ambition to be a food columnist. Not only because I cherish the vision of breaking bread in fabulous and posh places, then brandishing my witty pen to slash out stylish and knowledgeable critiques…but also because I’m kinda fond of the idea of getting paid to eat.
But, since that line of work has not yet come my way, I’ll just have to content myself with sharing my brilliant insight on the culinary jewels of our small metropolis (that I unwittingly stumble across) here…New York Times’ food column can eat its heart out!
On Tuesday, partly to console her on her first day back at work and partly to rub it in that I didn’t have to work, I took my Lil’ Sis to the Momma Goldberg’s Deli that has just opened up in town. (And by “took” I mean that I suggested it, she agreed, and we both paid for our own meal…that’s how it works in our family.) We had both heard good reports of the deli in other locations, and had been wanting to try it out.
I don’t have a sophisticated palate (“You used truffle oil instead of fresh truffles??!!! Scandalous!!”), but I am a very particular eater (“Only home-grown, very fresh, very ripe tomatoes on my biscuits and gravy please!”), and when it comes to sandwiches, I am extremely picky! It’s to the point that my mother refuses to make them for me. (When I was 10, I told her I wanted mayonnaise on both the top and bottom bread, then ham, then cheese, then mustard on the top bread, close the sandwich so that the mustard touches the cheese, open it up, then add lettuce – only the dark leaves – then tomato. She told me I could make my own sandwich.) So, suffice it to say, I had very high expectations for this deli.
Now, down to business:
Lil’ Sis ordered the signature sandwich Momma’s Love: “Roast Beef, Ham, Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast with Muenster Cheese served on a Seeded Hoagie Bun” I’m not a huge fan of sandwiches with multiple meats…they seem so indecisive, but she seemed to like it. And I’m not one to insult another’s taste in sandwiches.
I wanted to try out their Reuben, but I’ve learned from experience not to eat corned beef in public, so I went with my second option, the Bull Rider: “Roast Beef and Smoked Cheddar Cheese with Lettuce, Tomato and Barbecue Sauce served in Pita Bread.” I must be honest. I only read the first two ingredients off the menu board. Partly because I got to “smoked cheddar cheese” and decided that was for me, and partly because the chick at the register was impatiently waiting for my order. (I hate feeling pressured to order quickly. Strike One.)
Then came the awkward parts…
Since we were dining in, Lil’ Sis found us a table, we got our drinks, and took a seat. However, I quickly realized that many people in this fine dining establishment were getting their meals to-go. Which meant they were going to remain standing. Around the room. Watching people eat. Watching me eat. …while they waited for their orders. I began to feel nervous.
Unfortunately, because I hadn’t read the entire description of my sandwich, I wasn’t aware that it came with barbecue sauce and had asked for mayo to be added. The very polite young man making my sandwich called me up to the counter and asked if I realized I was mixing my condiments. I very sweetly asked if I could have mayo instead of barbecue sauce. He very politely complied. (Point One for the polite young man.) I refrained from instructing him how to put together my sandwich… I was a little afraid he would tell me to come around the counter and do it myself.
Lil’ Sis and I commenced to eat. People stood around and watched. I became even more nervous and resisted the impulse to offer a piece of bread to the couple standing uncomfortably near our table.
We had both ordered the half cup of potato soup to go with our half sandwich. How shall I describe the potato soup?? It was very reminiscent of the liquid plastic taste of that sausage gravy that comes in a package for poor souls whose Mammas never taught them to make their own. Yeah. It was pretty nasty. (Strike Two for the plastic soup.)
However. My favorite part of the entire restaurant was the cups. You heard me. The plastic cups. I loved them. Lil’ Sis thought I was crazy, but I went on and on about those cups. You’d have to see them to understand. They’re thick plastic, not the flimsy, slip-out-of-your-hand-when-they-get-wet kind, but the thick, you-can-get-a-grip-on-this kind. And they’re dishwasher safe (top rack only). I took mine home. (Point Two for really cool cups.)
So there you have it. The scales ended fairly balanced, and we have yet to see which way they might tip. I still want to try the Reuben, but I think from now on, it will most definitely be to-go… with a drink.


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