Sam's PLACE (portrait)This is going to be a (hopefully) recurring article in which I eat things, and rant, rave, or rip my hair out over them. It’s going to be fun and fairly painless. Here’s a little bit about me, so that you, dear hungry readers, will have a sense of what to expect. I am, as far as you know, a stomach attached to a mouth that is integrated with a human body. I’ve also worked in kitchens for longer than I care to mention, and have often been asked if I need some time alone with whatever I’m eating. (The answer: Yes. And back off.)

For my first “mission,” I whisked some friends away from their classes, hopped on a bus, and skipped down Hunter Street to visit what is one of my favourite eateries in the area.

Sam’s Place, “The Best Dan Deli in Town,” was almost empty when we walked in. They normally have a crazy lunch rush, which means slow, fairly curt service, and that I get the chance to gawk at people with real jobs wearing suits. Not today. Since it was that awkward time between lunch and dinner, the food came out within ten minutes. Normally, I’d go for the California club, which has got turkey or seitan, bell peppers, avocado, ol’ chedda and mayo. This time I decided to expand my horizons and got the “Mike Taylor,” which normally would feature Peterborough smoked meat, caramelized onions, brie cheese, peppers, and Dijon.

I can tell you that it honestly doesn’t take away from anything if you replace the meat with seitan. The sweet onions, creamy brie, and mustardy-type-bite are a really solid mix of flavours, and the sandwich has a good heft to it. I brought a carnivore friend of mine along for the ride, so that I could get a read on the local, in-house prepared, smoked, cured and totally awesome meatier fare. Though my friend would have liked to see an increase in the bacon-to-turkey ratio, it was still a well-constructed tower of bread, meat, and cheese. The other person I tricked into getting lunch tried the vegan sandwich on gluten-free bread. They’re pretty good about dietary concerns there, and it was made clear that if you have a serious allergy to gluten, it probably isn’t safe for you to be around so much amazing, savoury, perfectly toasted marble rye.

This is a great local business that stands out along the Hunter strip for having a wide variety of menu items and vegetarian/vegan options. The prices are student-friendly, and their combos are definitely worth it. My sandwich, salad and coffee came to around 12 dollars before tip. Get a sandwich to go. Bring it to class. Be that guy.