Saturday, April 5, 2014

Creative Mornings, Deli Afternoons

I took a Friday off to accompany Keith to Jeff City, where his organization was having a meeting that day and where we would be eventually meeting up with the family. I had some errands to run, but in time settled into the local Barnes and Noble to write for a bit. I'll admit this isn't something I typically have time for, nor did I really feel comfortable doing as I worked for this company for some time. I've always struggled with relaxing in environments I'm used to working in as I find myself frustratingly hyperaware of my surroundings (I do this in hotels and restaurants as well) and essentially want to either leap up and help the overwhelmed employees or assist in diffusing a customer issue. Gratefully, neither scenario was present and I savored being able to absorb and soak in the bookstore environment  that I always treasured as a customer once again. Sleep has not been an ally with so much going on lately, so I ordered up a nonfat hazelnut latte with an extra shot of espresso to slice through the mental cobwebs. I sunk into a corner cafe table, sipping the warming coffee on this blustery cold day, and typed away on my laptop for a couple of hours. The folk music overhead made for a comforting background and before long, I found myself in a rare serene and peaceful state.

I returned to the breezy chill to meet Keith's Mom for lunch at Old Brick House Deli. This is a real New York-style deli, mind you, in a nearly 100-year-old brick former homestead.  Owned and operated by the Burkemper family since 2000, there was something admirably notable to me as soon as I walked in.  I first came here nearly 10 years ago, and what struck me then remains true to this day: these good folks definitely know their customer service.  The gentleman working the counter (who, judging by a photo nearby, might be the owner) always made sure to ask if each person walking in if they were a new customer.  Two of them were, and he expertly guided them through their menu offerings of salads and sandwiches. They proudly serve products from Boar's Heads Meats, Burgers Smokehouse and G&W Bavarian-Style Sausage Company.  I went with the recommended Reuben with a side of their house salad.  The salad was a mix of greens, tomato, red onion, Provel and Provolone cheese and a tasty homemade creamy Italian dressing.  The Reuben was righteously good with thinly-sliced corned beef with melted swiss, sauerkraut and tangy Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye.  It was an excellent deli experience and I do love me some family-owned delis.  And killer Reubens, which this most assuredly was.

  A morning for writing and lunch at a real deli.  That's a fine day for me.


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