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|August 14-20, 2008
• The tools for the task
A look at the importance of the right culinary ware
by Cathy Thomas
• Wine movie strays from real ‘judgment of Paris’ tale
by Bill Daley
Here comes the sun
The Sun Deli shines psychadelic
by Clay Fong
While not many feature films have been shot at restaurants in Boulder and surrounding environs, there’s still a few local places that effectively evoke the ethos of a particular film or director’s oeuvre. Take Boulder’s Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor, tucked away in the Whittier Square condo complex, which my colleagues affectionately refer to as the “hippie deli.” The feel here is reminiscent of Kevin Smith’s Gen X classic, Clerks. There’s also a bit of a counter-culture Richard Linklater vibe here as well.
The ambience includes brightly psychedelic design touches as lava lamps and anthropomorphic paintings of disturbing toothy mushrooms. Solitary diners can enjoy their pizza, salad or sandwich while leafing through books on rock history from a small library. Behind the counter, the staff aren’t like the snarky, customer-insulting characters played by Smith fave Jason Mewes. Instead, every one of them is unfailingly easygoing and friendly.
Flat-screen TVs at every booth lend an unexpected touch of high-tech, although you’re much more likely to see jam band videos onscreen than those of a throbbing Eurotechno act. During a recent visit with my colleagues Laurie-Jo and Katie, I wasn’t surprised to see the Deli was playing vintage footage of the Grateful Dead. I was taken aback, however, when youthful Katie asked me, “Who’s Jerry Garcia?”
I felt very old. I realized I own sweatshirts as old as Katie.
Despite my feelings of obsolescence, we proceeded to check out the Deli’s featured pizza and sandwiches. It’s also worth noting that the Sun dishes up several entrée salads, including my favorite, the $6.99 Antipasto. An Italian-American restaurant staple, it’s essentially a pizza over lettuce, loaded with salami, pepperoni, provolone and mozzarella. The abundance of cheese and cured meats negates any health benefits associated with a salad, but it’s darn tasty.
Katie, subsisting on an intern’s wages (i.e. nothing), ordered up a $2.50 slice of cheese pizza topped with chunks of red and green bell pepper for a 50 cent upcharge. The Sun Deli gets crust right, as this foundation is thin and slightly crisp with a hint of yeasty flavor. Evoking Goldilocks, Katie gave a thumbs-up to the quantity of cheese on top. “It’s not too much,” she said. “It’s not too little. It’s just right.”
To help take my mind off my mortality, I savored a $6.99 hot cheese steak sandwich. The deli offers up several variations on this theme, including a basic version with American cheese and one seasoned with A1 sauce. All are generously portioned and filled with thin slices of flavorful beef. My sandwich got its name from a liberal dousing of Frank’s Hot Sauce, which some might find a bit too tangy for their taste, and a covering layer of smooth provolone. Devotees of this Philly specialty will have little to quibble with here and certainly won’t leave hungry after ordering one of these subs.
Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor presents a cheerfully inviting environment that, more than anything else, brings to mind the laidback attitude of ’90s slacker films. Add above-average pizza, sandwiches and meal-worthy salads to the mix, and you’ve got a comfortably low-key venue to wile away a lunch hour. One final note: the Deli’s “hippie brownies” are wonderfully moist and chocolatey, but the “hippie” appellation might be a bit misleading, if you get my drift.
Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor
2299 Pearl St.,
Clay’s obscurity corner
Clay’s brush with fame
I once had a semi-encounter with Jason Mewes, best known for his portrayal of “Jay” in Kevin Smith’s films. A few years back, I wound up as contestant on the Independent Film Channel’s Ultimate Film Fanatic game show, and the panel of celebrity judges consisted of Traci Lords, the John Waters muse (yes, I know she was famous for something else, too); Richard Roundtree, the original John Shaft (they say he’s a bad m...); and Jason Mewes. Roundtree and Mewes avoided eye contact with us, but Lords was quite gracious, and took time to informally chat with the winning contestants.
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