Deli Love: Papa Mo's in the Heights

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Look. I'm not one to brag. But I have to say...

I'm amazing at packing my lunch.

I know. I KNOW.

People often grumble about how they're spending too much money, or they're gaining too much weight, because they go out to eat every day for lunch.

If I'm spending too much money it's because I got lost in the candle section at Bath & Body Works or, oh, ALL OF Spec's. And If I'm gaining too much weight it's because I'm just sitting on my bum eating All The Food. But lunch? I've got you in a headlock Lunch, and I'm giving you a big old noogie!

Noogie? Hey Kim, 1988 called...

However, I do allow myself one lunch a week out. I think this is fair no? To me it is.

And although I do deserve a gold star for my lunch-packing prowess, the other day I took one look at my chicken and kale salad I had packed, felt instantly empty inside (as chicken and kale salads are known to make you feel), and decided I wanted a big, fat Reuben instead.

How the mighty have fallen!

So I made my way over to Papa Mo's Deli in the heights, a deli whose website proudly declares their awesomeness in preparing a Reuben. Sold.

But before I go into that, let me be clear about something. When I said "I made my way over to Papa Mo's" what I meant to say was, "What should have been a quick 10 minute trip ended up being a 45 minute trip because I hate my phone (that's so not true) and I HATE Google Maps (that's very true) and my mother would have washed my mouth out with soap if she heard the things that were flying out of my mouth on my way to Papa Mo's."

As a direct result of this charade, I later downloaded a free MapQuest (Hey Kim, 2003 Called... Man I'm just all over the decades today...) navigation app that has a Fake Siri that talks to you, which has consequently been the best decision of my life this week thus far.

But back to the deli.

Wait, one more thing. Is it really OCTOBER already? My gourd, time flies!

So the deli.

Located in sort of an unassuming residential spot, near a laundromat, Papa Mo's looked to be everything I would hope to find in a Houston deli that satisfies my New York deli craving.

And by golly, it was!

I ordered my Reuben on wheat with a side of potato salad. And just. Lawdy.

Truly a thing of beauty.
Served by Papa Mo himself (!!!!!), the Reuben was popping with flavor. The corned beef was PHENOMENAL. And Russian dressing was oozing every which way out of the sandwich. It had the perfect ratio of bread-to-meat-to-cheese-to-sauerkraut-to-dressing, and I was a happy little leprechaun. My only gripe is a gripe that I have with all of my Reubens in that the bottom layer of bread was soggy. But I actually think this falls on me because I order wheat bread, which is not as stiff as rye. And I promise you the ordering of wheat bread is not some sad attempt at being healthy (duh, POTATO SALAD), I'm just not rye bread's number one fan (Sorry Rye. It's not you, it's m- No, it's definitely you).

And full disclosure: I'm a total potato salad snob. This is because my mother makes THE best potato salad on God's green earth, no lie. It's literally the Filet Mignon of  potato salads. If you do not know my mother, you should get to know her immediately so you can invite her to your next party, and when she politely asks, "Would you like me to bring anything," you can casually say, "Oh, that's not necessary, but if you insist, maybe, I don't know...potato salad?" Then you can taste the beauty of it all. It was a blessing and a curse growing up with this. A blessing because I have been able to indulge in this piece of heaven my whole life. A curse because no other potato salad will ever measure up. I usually eat other potato salads with such hope and determination, only to end up feeling empty inside (Chicken and Kale Salad, meet Not Mom's Potato Salad. You two have more in common than you'd think).

But I have to say, this potato salad was pretty baller. Not my mom's (none ever could be), but pretty gosh darned good. Not too mayonnaise-y, but not too dry, with hard boiled eggs, red onions, and celery. REALLY good.

For NYC transplants looking to fill their deli-void, Papa Mo's promises to deliver. For non-transplants who are just looking for an authentic NYC deli experience, Papa Mo's will give you exactly that.

Just don't use Google maps to get you there. You *may* end up going the wrong way on a one-way street and end up in the parking lot of an industrial steel yard, much to the confusion of the onlooking workers.


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