• August 21st, 2008quarrygirlhy-mart deli, LA restaurants

    when i feel like wasting time at work, i often like to scan laist.com. it’s a great site that keeps me abreast of all the vital happenings in my city—pertinent information, like how the dodgers are doing, when/where sobriety check points are scheduled, and which indie bands i’ve never heard of are playing near me. sometimes i get really lucky, though, and they review restaurants with vegan options that drive me out of my mind. this was the case with their review of hy-mart deli. when i read it, i knew i HAD to go. i went with the highest of hopes, and even then, hy-mart still managed to exceed my expectations.

    mediterranean madness!

    mediterranean madness!

    the modest sandwich shop is small inside, with only 4 tables, a fridge full of beer & soft drinks, and an ordering counter. i went with my husband who decided to grab a seat and while i picked out two wraps for us to share. this is when i made a huge mistake.

    i placed my order making sure to ask for no tzatziki, yogurt, or dairy of any kind…but in my lameness, i picked out one sandwich that was called “gyro gone wild”. it looked great—full of avocado, hummus, cucumbers and other treats…little did i know it would would also be full of MEAT. imagine my horror when i realized back at my table i was holding a wrap full of flesh. the worst thing is, my husband had already started eating it! ugh, what have i done? i called out before he could take another bite and told him to check his meal for animal bits, and sure enough, they were in there. he assured me it must be a mistake, and asked me what i had ordered. when i told him it was a gyro, he shot me an annoyed glance that made me know i’d fucked up. “but meat wasn’t listed as an ingredient!” i exclaimed, defending myself. “no shit, a gyro IS meat,” he explained, “it’s like ordering a hot dog…they aren’t going to list ‘meat’ again as an ingredient.” ugh.

    i reluctantly brought the sandwich up to the counter and explained my stupidity to the friendly owner who’d made my sandwich and rung me up in the first place. i told him i was happy to buy another sandwich, a vegetarian one, as this was my mistake. but he wouldn’t have it, and insisted on making me a replacement. he omitted all dairy sauces and even threw in extra hummus in their place. he was so nice and cool about the whole situation, i couldn’t believe it. i was impressed.

    i was even MORE impressed though, when i bit into what turned out to be the best falafel sandwich i’ve ever eaten in the valley, and the valley is full of falafel. it was called mediterranean madness and boy, was it mad! it wasn’t really a sandwich, but more like a huge burrito wrapped in lavash, filled to the brim with goodness. the version i got was stuffed with falafel, hummus, grapeleaves, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, tabooleh, lettuce, avocado and hot sauce. god, was it sooooOOOOoooOOOOo good! and the thing was freaking huge! i don’t think i’ve ever had so many foods i love all together in one wrap. the second sandwich (the one that replaced the meaty gyro) was filled with similar ingredients. i don’t remember the exact name, but it was scrumptious!

    while we were chowing down our amazing lunch, the owner came by and tried to give me a dollar. there was a price difference, he explained, between the sandwich i returned and the new one. i couldn’t believe it! how could i take a dollar when it was my mistake all along, and he’d basically given me a FREE sandwich…what a sweet gesture. of course, we insisted he keep it.

    as i rode away, completely replete and full of falafel, i thought about what i’d learned. 1.) gyro is another word for dead animal, and 2.) i CANNOT WAIT to return to the hy-mart deli to eat another perfect sandwich and to support such kind & friendly ownership.

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