Dumped by Jason’s Deli, but Not Ready to Move on

One job ago, I learned from my coworkers about Jason’s Deli. I fell in love with the sandwiches, the speed of their to-go service, and the old school kitschiness of the dine-in use of number placards on your table to signal where your meal should be dropped off. (Having a little ice cream self-serve area wasn’t something I complained about, either.) I even suggested, when my family went for a trip to Atlanta a few years back, that we should stop at a Jason’s Deli there for meals one night. And we did. And everyone loved it.

What kept me coming back to Jason’s Deli? Their food. I loved that they catered to everyone with their offerings–including a decent menu of healthy, low-calorie items along with heavier fare. One of my favorite things to order was their Mediterranean Wrap.

To introduce you to this delightful sandwich (and to take myself down memory lane), it consists of an “organic wheat wrap with roasted turkey breast, roasted red pepper hummus, cucumbers, red onions, kalamata olives, roma tomatoes, organic field greens.” Lots of flavor and crunch for an impressive 350 calories.

But then, to quote an old Buju Banton/Beres Hammond song, “just like magic, you were gone.” Jason’s Deli shuttered its doors here a few years ago. (Apparently this is just Pennsylvania and about 19 other states. According to the location map on their Web site, it looks like many of you in the continental US can go to their restaurant anytime you please. Dear Jason’s Deli, please let me apologize on behalf of Pennsylvania if it’s something we said.)

We broke up via phone–one day, I suggested that my job order from there when we had a big deadline to meet, and after someone tried dialing in our order, they gave me the bad news, that Jason and his pantry of meats, breads, vegetables and condiments had rambled on. (My second choice may have been Baja Fresh, another excellent fast food restaurant with healthy options that also closed shop and set sail from my corner of suburban Pennsylvania.)

What’s a jilted lover to do? My choice, recently, was to try to recreate the magic myself. I didn’t have low-calorie sandwich wraps on hand, so my sandwich is an open-face pita.

MedTurkeySand

This is what I made with what I had around me. Call it “Culinary MacGyver for the Soul.”

Ingredients

  • 1 pita (whole wheat or regular)
  • 2 T of your favorite hummus (mine is traditional flavr, but I’m a fan of roasted garlic, too)
  • 2 oz deli turkey
  • 4 kalamata olives (mine are pitted by , cut in half by me)
  • Lettuce of your choice (mine is spring mix)
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Sprouts

Spread the hummus on the pita. Top the hummus with the turkey, then your lettuce and sprouts. Finally, add your tomatoes and olives.

If you’re brave, you can try to fold this in half and eat it like a typical pita sandwich. Or, cut it into quarters for an open-face sandwich.

Cooking music: David Gilmour, by David Gilmour. Before Pink Floyd’s own nasty split, back in 1978 David Gilmour tried his hand at being a solo artist. I stumbled upon this album recently and have enjoyed its smoothed-out moments of rock and blues, as well as the clear sonic imprint of the Floyd on it.

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Guilt-Free Eating

I started getting more diligent about logging my eating again via Weight Watchers, to work through a “fun holiday season,” with events with friends and family, a work function, and just general lack of inertia that comes with one’s bed (or comforter-draped couch) becoming too comfortable when it’s cold outside. I find myself doing a precarious tap dance of trying to be more accepting of myself and wanting to do better for myself, at the same time.

It’s been an interesting go-round so far. Apparently some Points values have changed on the plan. Other than surprises here and there, though, it’s been like getting back onto a bicycle, so long as I’m willing to have total honesty about myself and my eating.

Part of my blind spot has been just that–not having the courage (or respect, depending on how you look at it) to face the music on choices that I know are less than healthy. I want to just keep walking past the meal tracker like that snack, heavy dinner, or dessert never happened. But, the scale never lies. And neither do our pants!

So I’ve forced myself to log things that I haven’t before. This weekend, it was a sandwich made of chicken liver pate.

image

I first had this delicacy at at Bistro San Tropez, a French restaurant that my husband and I visited during Philadelphia Restaurant week a number of years ago. The pate, the crusty bread, the cornichons (aka baby pickles) and the mustard… Delicious!

Sometime after that, I set out to make it myself, and I found it surprisingly cheap to make, and not too difficult, either. (Here’s the recipe I use.) But the catch: it requires nearly two sticks of butter. So I stopped making it when I embarked on my weight loss journey.

I thought about making it this year, thinking it would make a great addition to a Valentine’s feast for a couple of parents without a babysitter. I ended up not making it for the holiday, but I did make out soon after.

And it tasted just add good as I remembered! The silky, melt-in your mouth feel, the meaty taste… it was nice to eat it again.

And then it was done, and I was left with the task of coming clean to Weight Watchers about having eaten it. That part I didn’t like so much. But I did it, and I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t quite add bad nutritionally as I had feared. And I kept everything else light, eating it on a medium-sized spinach wrap with lettuce and some fruit. I had faced a fear about eating and survived… and had a delicious meal. How’s that for guilt-free eating?