Sabatino’s Sausage Deli & Market, Lake Forest

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Although I am a sandwich enthusiast, I sometimes find myself a bit strapped when it comes to finding places I want to eat at. Don’t get me wrong, most of the places that I frequent are always good, but I sometimes get bored with the idea of going to them. That’s when I turned to the internetIMG_2112 & try to find myself something to try. It’s not always sandwiches that I look for, sometimes I’ll type in a word (like “Sausage”) and a location nearby and see what I could find. One must always be wary of what they input into search engines, the internet is an amazing resource but it also does not read context well. Heed my warning friends, make sure you are concise with your searches (lest you end up in one of the seedier parts of the internet).

I got inspired by the fromagier (fancy cheese dude) at my work, who is currently trying his hand at sausage making. As a result, i tried to find places nearby that also made their own sausage. That’s what led me to this small and cozy spot in Lake Forest called  Sabatino’s Sausage Deli & Market. The first thing that struck me about this place was how cozy it was, there were family pictures all over the place, along with tacky wooden furniture and mismatched chairs. It felt old, like a great uncle’s (or aunt’s) house where you know his efforts are more involved with other things other than his interior design sense.  The young man & woman working the counter were very pleasant especially after they noticed me drooling over the deli counter.

IMG_2110they had an Italian Deli’s all star lineup on display. Between beautiful displays of stuffed cannelloni and other Italian delights I spied their house made sausage. There weren’t many sandwiches on the menu, so it was easy to choose the sausage sandwich, a simple combination of cooked peppers & onions mixed with sausage inside of some warm french bread (FRENCH BREAD!? MERDA!). I found it weird that they didn’t put a sauce on it, but there are a couple of different preparations on the menu. I realized that the sausage didn’t really need a sauce, as it was intense on it’s own. Pepper was the prominent flavor that I got out of it, until I was surprised by the melted cheese in the sausage. It was simple, but intense & I really enjoyed it, so much so that I bought 2 pounds of it and brought it to work. Chef Mario, if you are reading this, the sauces you made for it was a perfect match for it’s intense black pepper flavors. IMG_2105Looking at the old place mats on the table & the black and white pictures on the wall I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t in Lake Forest. There is a certain charm to these small family businesses that you don’t always get in South Orange County (things tend to be quite sterile in nature here). I was enjoying the atmosphere thoroughly, then I noticed something on the wall that I was sitting against: an IMG_2111undone mural of a city. That in & of itself is not really noteworthy, until i noticed just above my head there was a small painting of a man with no legs.
I’m not going to lie, I stared at that dude for a long time confused. I don’t know if that sausage put me in an odd state of mind, but I’m pretty sure an old guy at another table thought I might’ve been on drugs. I was puzzled, and somewhat disturbed by this, why is this guys smiling at me? how come he’s floating in the middle of an empty city?  how did I not notice all this melted cheese dripping on my sweater? it was a very existential moment for me. By the time I started heading for the car the sun had gone down, the eyes of this floating apparition had me fixated. I went back in to grab napkins, I noticed a picture of a family member on a table, it was the man painted on the wall! and the photo was cut off before you could see his feet, whoever painted this mural used this photo as a reference, THAT’s why he doesn’t have any feet. I felt like a jackass with too much time on his hands.

– Vy

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