Sometimes you just don't feel like cooking. Dressing up to go out for dinner doesn't sound good either. Here's an interesting option. Bring home a pre-made Persian Armenian feast from Old Fashion Deli & Market. Entrees, appetizers, salads and rice are lined up and ready for purchase in small and large containers. Throw in some fresh bread, maybe a ripe melon from the colorful produce section, a bottle of something refreshing from the beverage area and you've got dinner.
I first noticed this cute market while sitting on the sidelines of a game at Glorietta Park across the street. The sign read "fresh sandwiches" and I was hungry. I was surprised at the size and heft of these 10-inch torpedoes. A good quarter- to third-pound of fresh turkey was rolled up inside the French roll with shredded lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and unusually good pickle slices. At $4.99, it's far better than Subway and twice as filling.
We came back for the more exotic choices. The chicken potato egg-salad sandwich (also known as olovie, $4.99) is amazing. Imagine a dill-flecked potato salad with chopped egg and chunks of chicken in it. Deadly to the waistline but delicious to eat. The white-meat chicken schnitzel hot sub ($5.99) features a thick and juicy breaded breast cutlet surrounded by red pepper sauce and the regular fixings.
We also tried the Italian combo sub, which is everything an Italian sub should be — lots of flavorful ham, salami, mortadella and provolone — but somehow it was missing the zing of a real Italian deli sub. I wanted to try the sandwich made with koo-koo, a vegetarian herbs & greens omelet, but they were out that day. A couple of times they were out of what I requested (e.g. the fesenjan koresht) but this is a mom-and-pop operation, and they can only do what they can do.
Getting back to the prepared foods, the khoreshts or stews, are wonderfully unique ($4.99 for a small tub). Ghayme khoresht is a pretty red concoction of tomatoes, yellow lentils, lamb and dried lime. The tangy flavor of dried lime is also used in the ghorme-sabzi, a bright green stew of kidney beans and lamb in a sauce made from cilantro, leeks, fenugreek and some of those greens you see at ethnic markets that you don't know how to use. Their lubia is similar to American baked beans but not smoky. A fellow shopper advised me to serve them heated and topped with canned shoestring potatoes and lemon (well, dried lemon actually, but they were out). It was a hit.
They have freshly made tabule, hummus, kabobs and dolma, both the grape leaf and cabbage kind. The dolma has a little higher grape leaf-to-filling ratio than I'm used to and the filling could be seasoned more, but you get many (25) for the $10 price tag. Finally, the item they tell me most people come there for is the kashk-e badamjan. This only comes in 2-pound containers ($12), so save it for a crowd. From what I could tell (I had a hard time finding a native English speaker), this complex stew contains ground walnuts, fried eggplant, mint, garlic, truckloads of onions, and turmeric all complemented by the strong, salty taste of kashk cheese, a fermented byproduct of cheese-making.
Parking is easy, checkout a little trickier. In any case, it's a fun place to visit. So if you're sick of the kitchen but want something homemade and perhaps unfamiliar, ask the smiling people at Old Fashion Deli & Market for advice. There might be a language barrier but they'll do their best to help you.
Where: 2830 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale
More info: (818) 241-5424