This is a sandwich special. Since I posted a picture of our local deli’s sandwich board featuring the AC Milan hero, discreet requests have been arriving for details of other speciality sandwiches. All my friends know that I am what is called in Italian ‘una buona forchetta ” i.e. I love my food. They also know that I form very loyal relationships with people or businesses who provide me with good service – another Italian concept summed up in the handy linguistic tail ‘ di fiducia ‘. So it was inevitable that the Appletree deli , where I had my first bagel and coffee after arriving in New York, should become my ‘deli di fiducia’ – my first port of call when I need culinary comfort.
It is run by a team of workers of various nationalities, and manages to be all things to all people, twenty four hours a day. As you enter you can make a left to the small supermarket and squeeze your way down the narrow aisles until you find what you are looking for. I spent a long time peering at products and converting prices when I first got here. If you make a right, you get to the deli proper, an Aladdin’s cave for the hungry.
The deli is divided into Healthy, in the refrigerated display on the right (bean salads, quinoa, sushi, tabbouleh and seaweed chips) , and Unhealthy, on the left (breakast bagels, burgers, chicken parmegian and something mysterious called chipotle). After a long day I sometimes seek succour in this section, where I ponder over the giant Italian meatballs or, when self discipline is rock bottom, the Texas burgers. If you choose the ‘deluxe’ option they come with a side of coleslaw, shredded iceberg, large pickle and sweet potato chips. This is all prepared and cooked on the spot and so feels superior to a McDonalds. The tiny gleam in the eye of the assistant tells me he has picked up my hungry gene, and I fancy he gives me an extra dollop of coleslaw.
What are truly spectacular though, are the sandwiches. They have testosterone-charged names like Bronx Bomber (grilled sirloin steak, crispy bacon, grilled onions, red peppers, brown gravy and melted cheddar cheese), The Hardway (beef pastrami, roast beef, corned beef , cheddar) or The Cuban ( roast pork, grilled ham, grilled prosciutto, melted Swiss cheese). Even I tremble at these challenges and so far have limited my experiments to The Godmother (Turkey slices, swiss cheese drizzled with honey mustard) : it was enough for two meals. I am working my way up to a Ruebens (corned beef, melted cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing) and will be sure to schedule a two hour walk afterwards.
It’s been a good week work-wise. I have found a great study buddy to do the midterm project with, my second short assignment was better, and my Round Table presentation went well. I might be starting to see some very modest fruits of my labour. The other encouraging news is that I bought a weighing scales and found that i have lost a few pounds. I can only assume it must be the walking, and the fact that wine is beyond my wage packet.