Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making time for lunch: Jason's Deli

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but years ago, before the reality of adulthood smacked me in the face, I had this idea in my head that once I grew up and got a job, I would become someone who lunched.  Maybe it was watching one too many episodes of Sex and the City that fostered this illusion.  But I was somehow convinced that I would be able to have multi-hour lunches in nice restaurants with friends in the middle of the week.  Then I graduated from college, and reality caught me in a choke hold.  Not only did I not have a "real" job (I moved back home for 2 months after graduation and worked in the same job I'd had during my college summers until I moved back to SC), I was faced with paying bills.  Once I moved back to SC, I was basically living off of my graduation money (thanks family!) for 2 months until I found a job.  Not the lavish one that was going to allow me to grab a table at the semi-swanky place where they serve luncheon instead of lunch, but rather one in the same field as my summer job had been.  I made next to nothing and was fully introduced to the world of the hour-long lunch.  Not only did I not have the funds for the nice lunches, but I also lacked the time.  That one hour time frame was strictly enforced.

And so, my dreams of fully becoming a Miranda (and let's be honest, except for our career choices, I really am Miranda Hobbes) were dead in the water.  Now, 7 years later, I make a little more money and can actually afford a nice lunch every now and then.  But I'm still a slave to the one hour time limit.  I don't know how many of you have ever tried to go out to lunch in downtown Columbia during the week, but if you have, you know that you either need at least 90 minutes or go super early or super late.  It's not because the service is slow, but because of the sheer volume of people.  Plus, you have to drive everywhere, and if you're like me, you manage to hit every single red light between work and your destination.  So 60 minutes to get to your car (if, like me, you can't park directly outside your office), drive to the restaurant, compete with 700 other people for a table, wait for your food to be prepared, eat, drive back, and walk back.  It can be done, but it's tough.  Which is why when I find myself lucky enough to have an afternoon off, I make sure I go out for lunch.

And that is exactly what I did when I found myself with the afternoon off on a beautiful Friday in June.  I got off work at 1 and had a few errands to run before I went home.  I also had some stuff to do at home, so I figured that I'd grab lunch to go and eat at the house.  I wrapped up my errands around town and decided to stop in at Jason's Deli.  Jason's is a great little chain of sandwich shops, primarily in the southeast, but with a few other scattered locations.  The one in Columbia opened about a year ago, and I've been there a couple times since.  Everything I've ever had at Jason's Deli has been great.  I have a friend who swears by the Muffalettas.  I like to try something new whenever I go, so on this particular occasion I opted for the Zucchini Grillini, a newish item on the menu.  It was a hot day in late June, so I figured something a little lighter would be a good choice.  And it was.

Oh hey, Instagram...
This awesome sandwich had a TON of grilled veggies: Zucchini, spinach, red onions, tomatoes, and kalamata olives, plus roasted red pepper hummus and muenster cheese.  Utterly amazing.  I devoured this thing, which may have been because it was around 2:30 before I got to eat it, or because it was so good.  The sandwich comes with a choice of chips, fruit, or steamed veggies.  I went with the chips.  I didn't end up finishing them because this sandwich was so filling.  Don't be fooled by how little it is more than enough food.  The next time I go in, I may have to break my "try something new" rule in favor of reliving this wonderful food moment.

So.  Not only does Jason's Deli have an awesome assortment of sandwiches, they also have a ginormous salad bar, a gluten free menu, and a vegetarian menu.  Definitely something for everyone.  And don't forget to grab some free soft serve on your way out.  Really?  How do you say no to that?

Final Rating

You can find Jason's Deli on Facebook, Twitter, or the web.

Jason's Deli #163 on Urbanspoon

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