I did something I haven’t done in a long time recently. Or maybe I should say I didn’t do something. During my most recent trip to New Orleans, I didn’t get a muffuletta. I lived, and I most certainly didn’t go hungry. (I’ll tell you about a couple of outstanding meals soon.)
But I did sort of miss it. So when I saw that Dancing Pigs Deli’s menu highlighted its muffuletta, or muffaletta, as they prefer to spell it, as one “that would make a Cajun envious,” I figured I could right the wrong of three weeks ago in NOLA.
No, I don’t think any Cajuns will be turning green over this version. (And by the way, the sandwich is an invention of Italian immigrants to the area, but let’s not quibble about that.)
Seen from above, the muff looked right. It was made on what appeared to be the correct style of bread: large and round, DP’s choosing a sesame-dotted variety.
But seen from the side, it was not. For some reason the sandwich was pressed, as though it were some sort of Italian, Louisianan, and, OK if you insist, Cajun version of a Cuban. The flattening had two detrimental effects. It smooshed the salami, pepperoni, ham and other accouterments to that they looked to be measly proportions. And the ironing may have contributed to the overall dryness of the sandwich. The flavor profiles were there, especially from the appropriate green olive relish smeared within. But I still feel as though I missed my annual muffuletta.
On the other hand, the cup of chili that I ordered was outstanding. According to the menu and a banner out front, “Chili Daddy lives here,” though I’m pretty sure that is meant figuratively. CD had previously lived in its own space on Michigan Street, where we recently visited Kimchi’s Korean Grill. I never made it to Chili Dad’s when it was there and from what I had heard from others I had missed something.
They were right. The chili I sampled, a Texas red, was outstanding. Full of meat and beans (don’t tell the Texans) and lots of forward heat and spicing. It had some melted cheese on top and a dollop of sour cream applied at my request. It was a tad too solid — I believe I could have turned the cup over and created a sort of chili timbale — but that was the only downside.
No, I’m wrong. The tiny cup came with a price tag of $4.99, an astounding cost for a soupçon of soup. But my, that was damn good chili.
I can’t say that I felt entirely welcomed when I entered the small but tidy shop. Only one other person was waiting for an order to go, so maybe I had ruined the staff’s chance at having some peace and quiet. I figured I’d get my food to go as well and leave them alone.
Dancing Pigs Deli is at 6807 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday. The phone number is 407-270-5976.