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Latin Deli Hits Three Essential Targets: Good, Fast and Cheap (photos)

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This afternoon, as I was lounging in my hammock, sipping freshly squeezed lemonade and reading the paper, I pondered the meaning of life. Under a delicate, cloudy sky that looked like a soft, sleepy blanket of solid grey wool, I wondered, "What if we're the stars?"

Except nobody has time for that shit. We're busy as hell, running from work to workouts and from business meetings to PTA meetings. We want to know what's good, and we want to pick it up and get on with it.

Which reminds me of this jargony business concept that features three attributes: good, fast and cheap. (I swear I have a point; stay with me.) The story goes that you can only choose two. But these days, we want it all. And yesterday I stumbled upon a way to get most of the way to all-of-the-above, inside the humbly appointed Latin Deli at the corner of Northwest Highway and Abrams in East Dallas.

Latin Deli is owned by Fernando and Lydia Barerra, who along with their cook Oscar, came to open their own spot after working at several La Duni restaurants for the past decade. The menu is small, with about a half dozen sandwiches (all around $7), baked goods and a solid coffee/espresso menu, plus recently added brunch items like sweet and savory crepes and chilaquiles verdes. Oh, and a bunch of refreshing-looking Mexican sodas.

Cheap? Check.

On this visit, I ordered two sandwiches and a cafe con leche to go. If one were to want to dine in, there are a few barstools along the sides of the smallish space. Because they weren't very busy (perhaps the cold front was keeping folks at home), Fernando and I talked while he made my coffee and Oscar cooked my lomo saltado filling on the flat top. He told me that before going off on their own, he and his wife talked to their bosses at La Duni, who'd given them their blessing on the new project. That story, combined with the freshly baked treats like sweet corn muffins and latin biscotti, gave me a solid case of the Warm Fuzzies.

The cafe con leche likely helped, of course. And the sandwiches were good, too; the type of food you can feel good about taking away. So the real takeaway is that Latin Deli's food is delightfully un-standard, with hearty ingredients imported from countries like Mexico or Peru, and prepared right in front of you.

Good? Check.

In the end, I was out of there -- even as chatty as I was -- in about 15 minutes. Done and done.

Fast? Check.

Latin Deli is located at 5844 Abrams Road, on the southeast corner of Abrams and Northwest Highway.

Coming up: more food porny photos from Latin Deli.

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