Any search for value in Cardiff is bound to end up at some stage at The New York Deli in High Street Arcade.
It seems to have been a Cardiff lunchtime staple for years (since 1990 anyway- I just checked, so long enough to have been around since my world was young and green and everything seemed possible.
The menu, pared down to its core elements, concentrates on sandwiches in their various forms, salads and hot food, all with the distinctive US-style slant you’d expect and many of them bearing American names- the Philadelphia Hoagie, the Alamo, the Brooklyn Club, and so on.
With a budget of £5, and asking the advice of our server, I ended up with ‘The Richie Parks Special’. A white ‘hoagie’ came slathered with French mustard (a personal favourite), crammed with hot salt beef sliced waffer-thin, some fresh-tasting pickled gherkins all blanketed in melting Swiss cheese. This version is the most expensive and used all the allowed budget, which meant missing out on a root beer; the same filling in a bagel comes in at £4, with a sandwich costing an extra 20p. (These small margins matter, on this quest).
Now, I don’t know who Richie Parks is***, or what he has done to deserve being celebrated or commemorated in this sandwich. From its appearance I’m guessing he saved kittens from trees, children from burning orphanages, or bested the fearsome Hydra. Some act of bravery, some feat of dauntless derring-do, no doubt: any man who inspires such a behemoth is a man worthy of all admiration. Because put bluntly, this specimen tested the recent EU directive E52972, sub.C348* with regard to food labelling: only after burrowing away in it for a couple of minutes, lessening its prodigious mass, could it even begin to function as a ‘sandwich’ of any description. You’d have to have a mouth (even) bigger than mine, to tackle this without putting in some prep work.
You wouldn’t want to risk eating this thing on Blackpool seafront: there’s a very real danger this could choke a donkey.
A less meaty-bready option was a two-pronged attack on the salad options: half of the oregano pasta and half of the Mexican beetroot, with as much extra salad leaves, coleslaw etc as you fancy, comes in at £4.10. The beetroot was slightly sweeter than you often find it, the pickles beautifully crunchy and the pasta very well cooked and dressed.
Eating on their outside bench, watching the world go by, with a sandwich this size and packed with this much flavour and content? There are worse ways to spend a short while- and a fiver. This was one of the most expensive items available, so this has to go down as an excellent contender on our Quest. Highly recommended.
(Thanks for @petit_morsel for the recommendation!)
***EDIT: Richie Parks is the superman who was the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s 7 continents. If that wasn’t enough, he was also the first man to stand on all 3 poles within 7 months and the fastest Brit to ski solo to the South Pole. Remarkable. Thank you to @Gaddboy and others who helped educate me.
New York Deli
19 High St Arcade
029 2038 8388
*please don’t waste time Googling this.
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This blog is a very simple thing.
I won’t try to sell you any hand lotion, exercise programmes, coffee syrups or Patagonian nose flutes. You won’t find tips on dating, ‘wellness’ or yoga mats.
I write because I love it (and food, as indicated by my increasing girth). Greed happens to be my Deadly Sin of choice, but at least it is never shy of providing me with subject matter.
A simple thing, then: all you get is me wittering on semi-coherently about places I’ve eaten at; hence a ‘restaurant blog’ rather than a ‘food blog’, although there are a few recipes scattered throughout.
From mezze to Michelin ‘fine dining’ and all points in between.