So there I was, all set to review a play and leave the house early enough to eat at one of my fave places in the universe, when fate at its cruelest decided to pay a visit. The Olive Tree Marketplace deli—purveyor of all things blessed by God and the central feature of Ocean Beach's friendliest grocery store—was closed! I muttered a very naughty word and somehow loped out of the building, a broken, embittered, disillusioned shell of a man whose sole dying wish—one last shot at the deli's signature sammie—would disappear like the nearby Pacific Ocean vapor, reconstituted in the scrapheap of some other solar system I do not care to know or understand.
I needn't have gotten so upset. First of all, The Olive Tree is not a naughty-word-muttering kind of store. It's as upscale as you please, with the freshest fare and a cool beer-wine club to boot. And in a setting like that, why should the deli be any different? The O.B. Special sandwich is a symphony of sights and tastes, laden with turkey, bacon and Swiss cheese on your choice of bread, for only $6.69 to boot. And mind you, this isn't any ol' deli junk, slapped together with equal parts spit, hope and gum. All the 5,000 sandwiches, salads and breakfast items are made with Boar's Head meats and cheese and strictly local produce. Speaking of Boar's Head: Meat lovers need to try the Manhattan entry, with hot pastrami that'll make your eyes roll back in your head. Vegetarians will respond to the Euro Veggie in precisely the same manner.
Truth be told, I arrived at the deli after closing time that night. In order to avert the same singular misfortune, you need to place your order between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days, either by walking into 4805 Narragansett Ave. or phoning 619-224-0443. Either way, you'll eat extremely well and keep those pesky Pacific vapors at the beach, where they belong.