Thursday, March 19, 2015

Yet Another Reason I Need to Visit New Orleans

I miss Schlotzky's. I ate there once as a high schooler before their Springfield, Missouri location went out of business. Later, I often got similar sandwiches from the (now also defunct, I think) Mighty Melt/Melters, which was started by former employees of that Schlotzky's location.

When we moved to Gainesville, I was overjoyed to find a Schlotzky's in town -- just far enough away that I only went past it every month or so, because I had to eat there whenever I did. Then that location went out, supposedly with plans to relocate (some kind of lease issue with the location).

I sent a note to Schlotzky's yesterday, pleading for them to get a move-on with that there re-opening. Their (very friendly) reply: The franchisee has decided not to re-open. Huge bummer. Now the nearest Schlotzky's is 150 miles away in pretty much the only Florida town I'm not particularly interested in visiting (it's infested with politicians).

So, research time:

  1. Per Wikipedia, the original Schlotzky's sammich was based on the traditional New Orleans muffuletta.
  2. Could I get a muffuletta in Gainesville?
  3. Yes, I could!
  4. So I did.

A collage of Central Grocery's Muffaletta in N...
A collage of Central Grocery's Muffaletta in New Orleans, Louisiana. Contributed by Jason Perlow of (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turns out that McAlister's Deli serves a "New Orleans Muffuletta -- Gambino's authentic muffuletta bread with olive oil, Black Forest ham, salami, Gambino's olive salad and provolone." And McAlister's just happens to be right on the way home from work for Tamara, so she stopped in to pick one up.

In for a penny, in for a pound -- I ordered a whole $12 muffuletta, advertised to feed up to four people. The way I saw it, either I could make several meals out of it or the other people in the house could have it for dinner as well. As it happens, Liam wasn't interested and Tamara only wanted a bite out of curiosity (she's gone "close to vegetarian" lately). So it was pretty much half for me and half for Daniel. And it made a bigger than necessary or advisable meal for both of us.

Tamara thought it was interesting, but didn't care for the olive salad on it.

Daniel thought it was great, but didn't care for the olive salad on it.

I thought it was pretty damn good, olive salad and all. As good as a Schlotzky's Original? I'm not sure. But pretty damn good.

But it was not really a muffuletta. A real muffuletta has mortadella sausage and mozzarella cheese in addition to the ingredients on the McAlister's sammich. And I want a real muffuletta. Which means I need to get to New Orleans and visit Central Grocery, where the muffuletta was invented.

A trip to the Big Easy just moved up another notch on my to-do list.

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