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Thanksgiving Guilty Pleasure: Cranberry Turkey Panini at Murphy's Deli

Also makes a nifty Thanksgiving dinner if you're alone and poor.
Also makes a nifty Thanksgiving dinner if you're alone and poor.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

There is a Murphy's Deli two blocks away from my office, but I only visit it a few times a year. Why? Because if I gave in to my daily temptations, I'd be eating a cranberry turkey panini there 365 days in a row.

As it stands, I only allow myself this luxury around Thanksgiving (and, okay, maybe once or twice during the late spring/early summer doldrums to remind myself of why autumn is awesome and that cold weather will once again return to Houston...maybe). But it's oh-so-perfect for this time of year, with its thick slices of turkey and sugary cranberry sauce in between two hot, grilled slices of bread slathered with...cream cheese.

Wait, what?

You temptress, you.
You temptress, you.
Photo by Marlon E.

Yes, cream cheese. Which is why I limit my normal intake of the cranberry turkey panini, because that cream cheese is so generously slathered on the sandwich that you could probably top two bagels with it.

Listen: I am not complaining. Because that tart-and-tangy cream cheese plays perfectly off the sweetly tart cranberry sauce underneath and adds a much-needed creaminess to the sandwich that something like mayonnaise would simply mar.

And because every sandwich needs a little crunch, fresh leaves of baby spinach are layered in there, too (you can also pretend it makes the sandwich healthy, but you're eating, like, two cups of cream cheese so why lie to yourself?).

In fact, the sheer amount of happiness brought on by this guilty pleasure is equaled by only one other item at Murphy's Deli: the deviled eggs, piled high with mustard, paprika and relish. I always grab at least two, along with a crunchy pickle spear in place of chips. Because if I'm going to plow through two deviled eggs and a panini at lunch, I've at least got to cut the starch out somewhere. Right? Right.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure these days?



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