Ali Baba's Deli

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Ali Baba ext

I'm pretty sure the first puppet show I ever saw, and most likely the first theatrical production of any type, was "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," performed by a professional traveling troupe that had set up in the gymnasium of Garfield Elementary School in Moline, Ill. I was probably 8 or 9. I think we were told it was the Bil Baird Marionettes, but I doubt that was true.

I don't remember much about it except the Open Sesame line and the horribly gruesome deaths of the thieves who had boiling oil poured over them as they hid in large pottery jars. I still have nightmares. And I'm fairly certain that some of the other grisly plot lines were omitted, such as Ali's brother being quartered and the chunks left outside the thieves' den as a warning. And Ali Baba still gets top billing even though it was the slave girl Morgiana who saved the day; it was she who poured the boiling oil into the jars. (Hey, Disney: next animated princess alert!)

None of this has anything to do with Ali Baba's Deli, but you try coming up with an opening for a review after you've written more than four thousand of them.

Located on Sun Vista Way just off Goldenrod Road about midway between Pershing Avenue and Hoffner Avenue, Ali Baba's is a rather modest storefront. Since the sign in the front window touted gyros as a specialty, that's what I ordered when the woman behind the counter politely asked what I would like.

Ali Baba gyro

I ordered mine as a wrap, expecting it to be served in a pita or at least a lavash. So I was rather surprised to find the meat, lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce inside a large tortilla. So, basically what I had was a Middle Eastern burrito.

The sandwich was assembled in the back kitchen area -- the spit designed to hold the processed gyro meat in the front was empty and untwirling.

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Still, the meat was nicely seasoned. My only real regret was that I didn't ask for extra tzatziki for my takeout order. (You can eat there, but there are precious few seats.)

For the record, I found nothing on the menu with sesame seeds And no one tried to pour boiling oil on me, so there's that.

Ali Baba's Deli is at 7624 Sun Vista Way, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 321-732-3003.

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