Fast Times: Murphy's Deli California Panini

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

When I stopped into Murphy's Deli and ordered the California Panini, the woman taking my order looked incredulous. "There's no meat on that, you know! It's only vegetables!" she said to me with a scrunched-up face. I assured her I was aware of the contents, and that I would take my chances. I was hoping that a veggie sandwich on thin panini bread would hit the spot ... and if a veggie sandwich on thin panini bread was what I had received, it just might have.

Instead of a grilled flatbread, this sandwich comes on a squared-off version of a sub roll, and close inspection did not reveal any grill marks--odd, since it took about seven minutes to receive the sandwich after ordering. The bread wasn't crusty, nor was it totally soft like a sub; the outside was aspiring to crusty, and the inside was a soft, but unremarkable white bread.

You know what else? There aren't that many veggies on the sandwich. Considering that the bread is substantial, I could have gone for twice the amount, but instead there was a sprinkle of alfalfa sprout, a smattering of tomato, and a thin layer of spinach and roasted red peppers. Considering they double up on cheese--American and provolone--and add pesto sauce and guacamole, this ends up feeling like a sandwich in reverse. It's too bad, because if you stuffed this bread with a lot more veggies and thoroughly toasted it, it could be a really nice alternative to the usual quick burger.

The one thing the sandwich had more than enough of was onion. I'm not shy about raw onion, but without anything but a few veggies and some bread to temper the sharp flavor, it was way too much. I pulled off most of the onion, and the flavor left behind was more than enough for me. On my way out the door I got a peek at Murphy's Deli salad bar, which had lots of bins full of fresh, colorful veggies, as well as a tempting little pasta salad. The panini is a no-go, but I may have to return and give the salad bar a shot.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.