Local deli offers delicious meal at reasonable price

Student writer Anna Brown enjoyed a Monte Cristo sandwich at Poplar South Deli and Cafe.

by Student Writer Anna Brown

It was 5:15 p.m. on a fair afternoon. I had just gotten out of class, and my stomach was unsatisfied with the meager offerings I threw its way. Hungry and ready for a solid meal, I headed to Poplar South Deli and Café.

Upon entering the door I was greeted at the counter by a sweet lady. I placed my order from the menu on the counter and decided on the Monte Cristo sandwich with fresh homemade French fries. The drinks were set up like a “self-serve” bar. I poured myself a big glass of unsweetened tea and was shown to my table.

There were not very many places to sit in the dining room, maybe only five or six small tables.

The restaurant held the same atmosphere as one of the many old “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants from my hometown of Tuscumbia.

I knew an amazing meal awaited.

While I sat anticipating the taste of my food, the owner brought me a sample of the restaurant’s in-house made sourdough bread. The bread had a nice tangy, yeasty smell. It was soft, yet chewy and had a pleasant sour taste at the end of each bite. I’m certain that I could have eaten the entire loaf by myself.

The steaming hot basket of food arrived at my table within five-10 minutes of being seated.

My beautiful Monte Cristo sandwich was served in a basket lined with black and white checkered parchment paper. It was dusted with white powdered sugar. Beside the sandwich sat a mound of greasy, homemade French fries and a small cup of strawberry habanero dipping sauce.

I was a little unsure of a sugar-covered sandwich dipped in strawberry habanero sauce, but the first bite washed away doubt. My tongue was bombarded by an avalanche of sweet, cheesy, meaty, chewy, spicy goodness. The meats and cheeses were perfectly warmed and melted. The bread was lightly browned on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside. The powered sugar added a perfect sweet note to follow to heat of the strawberry habanero sauce. I confess I did get powdered sugar all over my nose, but the mess was totally worth the taste.

The French fries had a pleasant oiliness that was not at all offensive. Generally, I am not a fan of greasy fries, but those were the exception. They were so crispy they were crunchy — almost like a potato chip, but better. The fries were also dusted with a spicy seasoning salt.

I cleaned my entire plate. Poplar South also makes homemade sweets. I took home two of the cream cheese pumpkin muffins to eat for a late night study snack.

Around 8 p.m., I enjoyed my muffins with a cup of coffee. The inside of the muffin was moist and flavorful. The nutmeg and cinnamon spices made the pumpkin stand out. The cream cheese center was not sweet at all, though I expected a super sweet filling like one would find in a muffin from a coffee shop. I personally enjoyed the not-so-sweet filling because it balanced out the intense flavors of the spices and pumpkin in the muffin.

Overall, my meal cost $13.37. That paid for my sandwich, fries, drink and two pumpkin cream cheese muffins. It was on the more expensive end of a deli sandwich meal and worth the price.