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The Melon Seed Deli

Fresh, healthy options for the holiday season

Sliders that satisfy. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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ANNOUNCER: The Melon Seed Deli in the Oakland neighborhood of Tacoma anchors an area more well known as the area one drives through to get to Home Depot or Target. But this week, Jackie and Dutch make a stop at the deli/frozen yogurt shop.

DUTCH: Following a Thanksgiving where I obviously ate too much, I was looking forward to the fresh, healthy options available here. I didn't quite go the full salad route, but even the sliders are built on the healthy side. Each selection comes with two sliders, and you are welcome to mix and match, which I did. My first slider was the Turkey & Bacon Chutney with turkey, bacon, provolone cheese, lettuce, thinly sliced red onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The sandwich is then topped with parmesan cheese and a mango chutney that adds a sweet and creamy flavor. My second choice was all about the bacon, which topped the same French roll style bread with melted cheese, fresh greens, cucumbers, and of course, lots of bacon.

JACKIE: I admire how practical you are sometimes, Dutch. I went full fat kid with the Hot Stripper. Get your mind outta the gutter -- the Hot Stripper meets my caloric needs for the day. At the very least, maybe even two. Thinly sliced strips of hot link sausage is sautéed with onions and sweet peppers then smothered with cheddar cheese, chili, slaw, diced tomatoes and sour cream. The garlic buttered French rolls lay a firm but tasty foundation. The fixin's were evenly distributed through each bite, though this could easily be a fork-and-knife sammie. One was sufficient to satiate my hunger and the other made perfectly good leftovers. If you're a light eater, opt for the one-slider option. They are generous portions.

DUTCH: When given the option of sides, I grabbed a cup of chili. Though not spicy, it was incredibly hearty with beef, beans, onions, plenty of cheese, and sour cream surrounded by a basket of tortilla chips. This in itself could have been a solid lunch for under $7. I found myself digging in with the chips as an edible utensil, and then using the spoon to clean up every last bite. On these cold winter days, nothing hits the spot like a hearty bowl of soup.

JACKIE: My lunch date opted for the Spiked Tuna, which was equally loaded with the goods. Seasoned Tuna is topped with diced cucumber, jalapeño, red onion, hard boiled egg, tomato and spicy slaw. A drizzle of Sriracha delivers the flavor matrimony to flavortown. We doubled up on the napkins, neither option could be enjoyed in a lady-like fashion.

DUTCH: I didn't have the appetite to try a dish of fro yo, but I'm certain I'll be back with the kids for that trip. And I will be back because the value of the Melon Seed to the community is obvious when you visit. In addition to the friendly staff -- and I mean neighborly friendly -- they know the regulars by name here and openly welcome them and engage in conversation. A new school menu, with an old school community outlook.

JACKIE: The staff is exceptionally friendly and offers up detailed descriptions and suggestions. They've clearly built up a set of regulars with their community outlook. Pro tip: bring the kids. The kids meals boast plenty of options and include a mini fro yo sundae!

THE MELON SEED DELI, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, 3807 Center St., Tacoma, 253.279.0029, 

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