Food columnist and journalism freshman Kristine Xu experienced High Street Deli for the first time this past week. “The warm and tender pastrami melted the Swiss cheese further, creating a cheesy texture that paired well with the crispy bread,” she said.
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Kristine Xu is a journalism freshman and Mustang News food columnist.
Along with the typical post-Valentine’s Day ritual of buying cheap chocolate, the highlight of my weekend was experiencing the glory of cheap and delicious sandwiches at High Street Deli for the first time.
Since the late 1920’s, High Street Deli has provided a friendly dining atmosphere dedicated to making fresh sandwiches. Originally for railroad workers, the restaurant has stood the test of time while still maintaining its vintage charm. With fresh-baked bread from a local bakery and high-quality meat from Boar’s Head, High Street Deli puts detail into every aspect of its sandwiches.
I arrived at the deli around 4:45 p.m. to a mass of people gathered outside, with even more inside. I grabbed a slip of paper, picked my sandwich and threw it back into the basket with the rest of the completed forms. Other than the “chalkboard specials” High Street Deli offers, there are endless lists of ingredients to sculpt a completely personalized sandwich suited for even the pickiest of palates.
I instinctively chose the hot pastrami sandwich, making a note to come back for a more intricate creation later. While waiting for my name to be called, I perused through the many refrigerators for the perfect drink to accompany my meal, eventually plucking a bottle of Boston iced tea from one of them. I found a spot near the deli case and waited for my food for the next half hour, while the rest of the room slowly trickled out.
The best part about the meal was the special High Street Deli offers from 4:20 to 5:30. After 4:20, every sandwich on the board is priced at $4.20. For a college student, that bargain is too good to pass up.
The interior of the restaurant is covered in vintage signs and relics from more than eight decades of service, such as a mounted deer head near the door of the restaurant. Everything that could have character, does have it — even the music playlist was an interesting blend of reggae and ska. Behind the counter, the walls are littered with picture frames of the numerous county awards High Street Deli has procured over the years.
Finally, the cashier called my name and handed me a package wrapped in brown paper with my order taped to the top of it. After paying for my meal, I pulled up a red metal stool and sat at a makeshift table constructed of a slice of wood fixed to the top of a barrel. Unwrapping the sandwich, I picked out the two large toothpicks holding the sandwich together and took a hefty bite.
Photo by Kristine Xu
The “New York Style” hot pastrami sandwich was constructed with just the right proportion of ingredients. Sliced in half, it featured thin slices of pastrami, thick slices of melted Swiss cheese, peperoncinis, lettuce, pickles, red onions and tomatoes on large slices of freshly toasted sourdough.
Every bite had a little bit of each ingredient, which made for a very satisfying sandwich. The warm and tender pastrami melted the Swiss cheese further, creating a cheesy texture that paired well with the crispy bread.
The one thing I did not like about the experience was the long wait. I spent approximately half an hour waiting for my food, which was made bearable by friends and the anticipation of an excellent sandwich. Though High Street Deli is not located on the main street of downtown like other popular restaurants, it’s still worth a visit.