Ham me some lunch
I think even if ham were my favorite food, the sight of pig paraphernalia in a ham-oriented restaurant would not induce hunger but rather notions of gluttony. Avocado is ranked high on the list of foods I love and try to eat every day, but I think if I walked into a restaurant and saw avocado-themed teapots, coffee mugs, quilts, dolls, cookie jars and flower pots that I might not be in such an avocado mood.
The walls of Honey Mountain Hams Deli & Catering in Smithridge Plaza are decorated with such kitschy, pig-themed items. I must admit that decorating with what’s on the menu, though not entirely appetizing to me, is not without a cute and silly charm; not to mention I’m impressed anyone could amass such an eclectic assortment of porky possessions.
Although ham items are all over the walls and menu, I decided to order a chicken salad sandwich ($4.95) on rye bread and Mom’s favorite turkey sandwich ($4.95) on Dutch crunch, which I incidentally shared with my own mom (priceless).
We waited almost 15 minutes for our sandwiches, which was awhile, considering there were only a couple other people in the restaurant, and they already had their food.
We started by sitting at a table in the small outdoor patio area. It had four tables with umbrellas, surrounded by a very Nevadan assortment of desert plants in a raised flowerbed. Facing the parking lot, it made for great people-watching of all the folks coming in and out of the post office and Trader Joe’s. We would’ve stayed outside if it were warmer.
Shortly after moving back indoors, we got our food. Both sandwiches tasted like the type of sandwich my grandma might once have made me. The meats were fresh, the ingredients were basic, and the tastes were hearty and wholesome. The chicken salad contained lots of onions, eggs, mayonnaise and pepper; the rye bread was a nice complement. The turkey on Mom’s turkey sandwich was not your typical, thin, deli-sliced turkey. It was thick and plump, like Thanksgiving leftovers, which meant that the cranberry sauce and cream cheese were perfect accompaniments.
When I went back to the counter to order a chai, which was listed on the to-go menu, the gregarious woman seemed confused, as though I was the first person ever to order one. She showed me the tea bags she did have—they were all organic Davidson’s teas—and I selected one called “Vanilla Essence” ($1). As she walked back to the front counter with my hot water in her right hand and cream in her left, the woman stopped and coughed directly over my coffee. She was behind the raised counter, so I didn’t see the cough land squarely on my teacup—although I don’t know where else it would have landed. I’m not easily disturbed by germs (that and I’m often too timid to stand up for myself), so I drank my tea without complaint. It was one of the more nicely flavored restaurant teas I’ve had in a while.
I don’t usually think of delis as providing comfort foods, but Honey Mountain Hams sells sandwiches and soups (homemade varieties of broccoli-cheese and pasta fagioli, $1.75 per cup and $2.50 per bowl) that are unfussy and soothing. They’ll even serve you hot drinks just the way Grandma used to, with a smile and a little “egh egh” to top it off.