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Food & Drink

Best Budget Bites: $9 Shish Taouk Sandwich from Ed’s Deli

Middle Eastern delights from a suburban bodega-like setting.

Jay Boller|

Notice the mounds of snow still surrounding the writer’s vehicle on this, the 6th of April.

The cost of things these days? Far too expensive! Inflation, supply chain, giddy price gouging from proprietors large and small—the boring factors are too numerous to count. To protect our readers, Racket recently launched the Best Budget Bites series, where we’ll showcase a toothsome, wallet-friendly food item that’ll actually fill you up. Have a nomination? Hit us up: tips@racketmn.com.

What: Garlic chicken shish taouk sandwich
Where: Ed's Deli, 2424 Larpenteur Ave. W., Lauderdale
Cost: $9
Availability: Year-round

A homesick Racket reader from New York City wrote us recently with a hot tip: Apparently there's a kickass Middle Eastern deli inside a Super USA convenience store. As you cross over Hwy. 280 into Lauderdale, it's easy to miss Ed's Deli. Look for the giant chicken wrap sign hovering, blimp-like, above the propane tanks:

When inside, you'd again be forgiven for still missing Ed's. There's no seating, no separate counter. After scanning the chalkboard menu that hangs near the cash register, you place your order with the friendly cashier. (He'll gossip about new pop flavors with fellow customers as you wait.) A middle-aged man—we're guessing Ed—dutifully preps each order fresh on the grill while you admire the cooler case stocked with homemade hummus, deviled eggs, and meat pies.

You'll be struck by the heft of the to-go bag that Ed hands over the plastic barrier. Inside, the garlic chicken shish taouk sandwich waits, ready to explode from its tight foil wrapping. This thing is big—we're talkin' foot-long territory. And it's damn good, too. Tumbling out from the warm blanket of pita you'll find: mini boulders of expertly spiced grilled chicken (kebab-style, nothing sliced off a twirling meat-pillar here), snappy/briny pickle spears, shredded romaine, jalapeños, and deliciously pungent garlic sauce. Oh yes, and French fries, which can descend into soggy detritus when shoehorned into other foodstuffs, but Ed's held their crispness admirably.

Dedicated Best Budget Bites readers might be murmuring: Does a $9 dish really fit the criteria of this series? To them I say: We installed a workaround by never defining the criteria, suckers! Yes, this tasty sandwich is the most expensive item we've featured, though we promise you'll be stuffed when you get to the end, where the garlic sauce pools in wonderful abundance. To lob a slight critique, the starting end of the sandwich hits a bit dry, a situation I remedied by dunking it into the creamy, lemony house hummus.

We're already big fans of Ed's. The barebones menu shouldn't take long to chomp through, with just two other beef sandwiches (sujuk or shawarma), plus a variety of tempting pizzas that riff on similar ingredients. Start with the chicken one, though. Ed bills it as his "favorite" for a reason.

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