No Such Thing as a Free Lunch – New York Deli

As if being late by at least two hours, taking extended lunch breaks, and heading out early to “uh, take care of some personal matters” during my week of stalking LA’s farmers markets wasn’t enough to raise some eyebrows in the corner offices, I had lunch catered in for the administrative and IT staff.

They should fire me for…being thoughtful?

A few weeks ago, I absentmindedly tossed a business card into one of those boxes that says “Drop your business card and win a free ____!” Fill in the blank with whatever the place sells. Eye exam. Massage. iPod. Come on, I’m in marketing, so I know exactly what those things are really for. Collect business cards, create mailing list. But I have a whole box of business cards that are fated to become dividers in my recipe box, so I thought *eh* why not? I was in a food court, so it was for lunch.

And I won! I never win anything, and to win something related to food – it made me do a little happy *clapclap*. Joe called me and said he and his partner would bring lunch for me and 9 of my closest friends. Since I am socially inept and don’t have any friends, we set up a time for them to bring it to my office. Our executives and mangers get all kinds of perks, so I thought it would be nice to do something for the administrative staff for once.

picnic-style potato salad

12:25 pm. Joe and his partner show up, lightly starched and perfectly pressed in their pin striped suits, bearing a tray of deli sandwiches and all the trimmings. My goodness, they were some extremely well-dressed caterers.

No, they are financial advisors, and I had won a lunch and a little sales spiel on the six steps of proper financial planning, and could we set up a meeting with each of you at our offices? *ugh* I can’t believe I had to subject the staff to this. And I can’t believe…

cole slaw – a little overly sweet

Word had gotten around our California casual office (today I’m in yoga pants, flip flops, and tube top) that there were “suits” in the office, and that there was a big summit meeting with a catered lunch that not everyone was invited to. CFO stopped by the Game Room (one of the conference rooms that’s set up like a living room and has an xbox and all sorts of games) and asked what was going on. It’s just a free lunch, help youself! She suspiciously declined and left. One of the Directors popped his head in, and he did help himself; there was plenty. I got back to my desk, and there was an email from HR. I looked at my watch. Suits showed up at 12:25 and the office was buzzing in exactly 41 minutes.

So I got into a bit of trouble. I’ll have to deal with that later.

peter piper should have picked a peck of cherry peppers

But lunch was good :) Not great, but good enough. New York Deli is in the Century City Mall in the space that used to be Stage Deli. They’re in a location that allows them to have a small counter in the food court, as well as their own regular restaurant style seating away from the chaos. I had gone there once when it was the Stage Deli – the chicken soup was very comforting (but soon after, I discovered Al Gelato, so didn’t go back). Now it’s New York Deli, who provided us with extremely fat tuna fish, pastrami, corned beef, roast beef, and turkey sandwiches. I had corned beef, which wasn’t extraordinary except that the slices of beef were piled so high that I had to take half of it out. The meat was bit dry, but they had provided little tubs of mayo (I passed), grainy mustard, and Thousand Island dressing. A pastrami with the Thousand Island would have been great, but I can’t eat that without at least three slices of Swiss cheese and good pile of sauerkraut. Pastrami Reuben is one of my all-time favorites. I slathered mustard all over the corned beef.

As fatty as pastrami and corned beef are, no one touched the tuna fish, because of the mayo. But they certainly had no problem with the potato salad or the coleslaw. LOL! New York Deli’s potato salad is picnic-style, sweet from the pickle relish and suspiciously bright yellow from what would seem to be a heavy hand with mustard, though it had very little mustard flavor at all. Likely, is was egg yolks, though it also didn’t have that powdery egg yolk texture. Cole slaw was a little too sweet for my taste, even with the horrible sweet tooth that I have. I stuck with the pickled accessories: pickle spears, peppers, green tomatoes, and olives.

New York Deli isn’t so great that it deserves a special trip to Century City, but if I’m already at the mall, it’s one of the better options for eats – especially with their wide, flat french fries. But they definitely won’t be catering in the office again!

New York Deli
Century City Mall Food Court
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard (@Avenue of the Stars)
Los Angeles, CA 90067

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous May 21, 2005 at 5:28 am

Eating a really big juicy pastrami sandwich in a tubetop reminds me of the time I ate a smoked fish platter topped off with a corned beef sandwich — in the buff. I wish I’d goten an email from HR! The cops dragged me out of Art’s and cuffed me right there on Ventura.

Hee hee.


2 Anonymous May 24, 2005 at 10:21 pm

Excuse me, SoCalorie. You can’t just give us a teaser like that and leave us, um, hanging…DETAILS!


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