Camden Delight

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I ducked into the Camden Deli while visiting the beautiful seaside town of Camden, Maine. I was starving, so I got myself a little treat to begin with: a lemon cupcake with raspberry filling (above). It made a delicious appetizer, and was really cute as well. For my entree, I ordered sandwich #37: the Lazy Jack (below). This vegetarian sandwich is served on the bread of your choice, and comes with Monterey jack cheese, fresh avocado, black olives, tomatoes, and mixed greens. All of the ingredients were fresh, and the sandwich was very tasty.

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Of course, once I finished my entree, the friend I was with opted for some Maine blueberry pie (below). I helped her out by having a couple of bites, and I have to say that it was a very yummy pie. The blueberries were especially flavorful, and the pie itself was quite good.

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While I don’t eat meat, my Maine-blueberry-pie-eating friend (who is also a native Mainer) opted for the Lobster Roll. I thought that, since I was in Maine, I should probably mention the Lobster Roll at some point. I’ve included a photo of her Lobster Roll (below), which she told me was not bad, but was also nothing special. It certainly looked pretty, though!

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Finally, I have to point out the very best feature of the deli: the view! I’ve included a photo from the second floor patio, because it’s pretty much everything a visitor could wish for from a restaurant in Maine. Overlooking a quiet waterfall that feeds directly into the harbor, it was a lovely way to spend an hour as we enjoyed our sandwiches and sweets in the sunshine.

Camden Deli on Urbanspoon

Chicago Dining

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The Chicago Diner is awesome! I have to begin this post by apologizing for the quality of this photograph: the lighting in the restaurant was very red, and this picture doesn’t do the food justice. (In an attempt to rectify this, I’ve pasted a photo of the same dish from the Chicago Diner’s Facebook page below.) The Chicago Diner is an entirely vegetarian (and very, very vegan-friendly) restaurant in Chicago’s Lake View district. I ordered the Radical Reuben at the encouragement of my friend, who introduced me to this wonderful establishment, and I was not disappointed. It was delicious. If I could, I would return to Chicago and eat the same sandwich all over again! If you’re ever in Chicago, whether you’re a vegetarian or not, you should definitely stop by the Chicago Diner for a memorable dining experience. This restaurant is one of my all-time favorites.

 

Chicago Diner on Urbanspoon

Golden Nugget

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So technically, Nugget is a grocery store in Davis, California, not a deli. That doesn’t stop it from being my absolute favorite deli of all time. I’m not kidding. I love Nugget. I make a point of stopping in whenever I’m even remotely near Davis (or Sacramento, Woodland, Vacaville, etc. where they have other locations). This particular location — the Covell Road location in Davis — is my personal favorite. Their ingredients are just so good — super fresh, top quality, and they have a huge variety of toppings. They also toast the sandwich for you if you want, and that makes the whole thing all warm and delicious. I sat outside in the sunshine to eat this sandwich, and it was a wonderful lull in my travels. If you’ve never been to Nugget, you absolutely must go in — for groceries (esp. artesian cheeses and chocolates), for beverages, and definitely for a sandwich. I’d move back to Davis for this store alone!

Nugget Market on Urbanspoon

Gus Rocks!

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I stopped by Gus’s Grocery in San Luis Obispo, California, on my way up to San Francisco a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed my experience there. Gus’s is a casual little place where you fill out a checklist to place your sandwich order, and you can either take your sandwich to go or eat it outside in the sunshine on their simple patio. It didn’t seem like anything special, but their ingredients were fresh and they had a good amount of variety — two of the most important things in a deli, in my opinion. I had no problem ordering a vegetarian sandwich; some delis will charge you meat-sandwich prices even when you don’t get the meat, which can be really annoying when a sandwich is running you close to $10, but Gus’s not only didn’t charge me meat-sandwich prices but they also didn’t charge me for the avocado. I love it when places count the avocado as the meat instead of charging you meat prices and adding a fee for the avocado on top of that. So yeah, I loved Gus’s. The atmosphere was super low-key, and the staff was friendly and funny. Their service was really quick, too — we had 4 people in our party, and we all got our food really quickly. It’s not fancy, but it sure is delicious!

Gus's Grocery on Urbanspoon

Commonwealth

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There’s a new sandwich shop in town in Columbus, Ohio — a little place called The Commonwealth Sandwich Bar in Columbus, Ohio. It is, quite likely, the tiniest food joint I’ve ever been to, aside from a food cart. There are three tables in Commonwealth, and they’re usually full. However, it’s a nice shop. The service is friendly, and the menu is creative. I had a sandwich called the Haute-Hippie — one of two vegetarian options on the menu — and it didn’t disappoint. The flavors were incredible, and it wasn’t greasy or overly rich. It was definitely worth the visit.

Commonwealth Sandwich Bar on Urbanspoon

PB and what?

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The Heirloom Café is the new eatery downstairs in the Wexner Center art museum at Ohio State University. It replaces Taste of Belgium (which still has a location in the historic North Market), which replaced Cam’s on Campus, and it promises to stick around for a while with its original menu and reasonable prices. This sandwich, odd as it sounds, is a peanut butter & honey & banana sandwich served up nice and warm with a free side (I chose the fruit). It was light but filling, and delicious without being artery-clogging. Having glanced over their hot beverage menu, I can tell you now that I’ll be back at the Heirloom in the winter to sample their inventive and numerous hot drink options. Perhaps I’ll post again soon….

Heirloom on Urbanspoon

best sandwich EVER!

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The Brown Bag Deli is probably my favorite find in all of Columbus! This great little sandwich joint has redeemed an otherwise lackluster and disappointing deli scene in this city. They have tons of options for toppings, a wide variety of interesting breads (pictured here: cheese roll), and a host of side dishes and desserts available in their front case. I can sum it up in one simple word: TASTY!

Brown Bag Deli on Urbanspoon

pear surprise

Photo by Anne Jansen

The specials at Bodega are always creative, and this is my absolute favorite so far. I love croissant sandwiches, but this one takes the cake: it’s a croissant sandwich stuffed with warm cooked pears, melty gorgonzola cheese, and carmelized onions. It was one of the most delicious sandwich experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re ever lucky enough to catch this special at Bodega, order it immediately! But even if it’s not on the menu when you stop in, give their specials a good once-over to make sure you don’t miss out on any limited-time dishes.
Bodega on Urbanspoon

diana’s travelling sweet show

Photo by Anne Jansen

Diana’s Sweet Shoppe is a beautiful old restaurant that Gibson Guitars has actually had dismantled and brought from its original home in Michigan to its new location in the heart of downtown Nashville. Their specialty is sweets, as exemplified by the unbelievably large cup (bowl?) of hot chocolate pictured above. Made from melted Hershey’s bars, this was a wonderful cup of hot cocoa. Of course, they also serve food.

Photo by Anne Jansen

While the soup was a bit on the thick-and-salty side, the grilled cheese with tomato was delicious and heated to perfection. The bread was nice and crispy, and the cheese was wonderfully melty. I think the best thing about Diana’s was the atmosphere — it’s a beautiful place to enjoy a meal away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway’s crowds and honky tonks.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Diana's Sweet Shoppe on Urbanspoon

whole goodness

photo by Anne Jansen

Lucky for me (and not-so-lucky for my wallet), I live but a 3-minute walk from Whole World Natural Restaurant and Bakery in Clintonville. This amazing little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, boasting a modest 10 tables and booths for its customers, is an entirely vegetarian establishment with a strong local following. The Avocado Croissant (pictured above) is one of my all-time favorites, although I have never eaten a bad meal at Whole World…and I’ve eaten a whole lotta meals there. In addition to scrumptious lunches and dinners (and a Sunday brunch I have yet to experience), the counter houses a wide variety of desserts — about half of which are vegan. Which reminds me, only 5 or 6 of Whole World’s menu items do not come with a vegan option…which means all the rest do! It’s a fantastic little place, and one I will continue frequenting for as long as I live in Columbus. This is made easier by Whole World’s very affordable prices. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or non-veg, you should definitely give Whole World a go!

an old classic

photo by Anne Jansen

I found myself back at Tasi recently when I decided to meet up with a couple of girlfriends for some lunch. We wanted something light but satisfying, and that’s something Tasi always delivers. I went with their grilled cheese this time, and it was a good choice. The sandwich consists of aged cheddar and fresh tomato on a sourdough panini…and it was deeeee-licious. It came with a generous helping of Tasi’s house-made potato chips, which were also light and satisfying. The Magic 8 Ball would say “It is decidedly so” that I will return to Tasi for more culinary adventures!

iris’s tea delights

photo by Anne Jansen

This afternoon, I saw my friend Iris who kindly invited me to her home for a visit and made these delicious tea sandwiches. The ones right in the front of the picture are avocado and mushroom on wheat bread; the ones further back are cucumber slices on sourdough baguette with a cream cheese spread. And even further back is a tempting array of dessert cookies. The tea sandwiches were exquisite, and the simplicity : yumminess ratio was off the charts. Next time you have afternoon tea, give these tiny treats a try!

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