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A homey restaurant with something called lush for dessert

On a little side street in

Sequim is a quaint old church.

In 1896, St. Luke's Episcopal Church was relocated from Dungeness and found a new home on North Sequim Avenue.

A century later, the St. Luke's congregation had outgrown the small church and moved into its current location on North Fifth Avenue, leaving the historical building available. Jack and Helga McGhee stepped forward to move it to its present location on South Second Avenue and set about remodeling and finding a tenant.

For one little church, it's traveled more than I have!

The original Jean's Deli opened its doors in Carlsborg back in 1985.

By 1996, the little restaurant was beginning to bust at the seams and, thanks to the McGhees, when Jean's Deli moved into the church, it had a steeple to beckon the hungry.

Three and a-half years ago, the deli's namesake retired and passed the torch to a retired U.S. armed services couple.

And they still are serving their country and community by serving up tasty lunches and breakfasts.

The whole family loves to cook.

Looking for affordable meals? That's their philosophy now and that will continue when their son joins the staff mid-summer next year. Selected Junior Armed Forces Chef of the Year, the award-winning chef studied in South Korea, so look forward to dinners with an Asian fusion bent.

On the day my hubby and I caught lunch, we started with bowls of their homemade soups. Greg had the broccoli almond and I had chicken noodle. The broccoli soup had a cream base and the addition of bits of almond made for an unusual but delicious offering. The chicken soup had wide pasta noodles and nice big chunks of carrot.

Greg dug into a grilled panini sandwich and a small salad with bleu cheese dressing. The special panini bread was oozing with mozzarella cheese, drizzled with sun-dried tomato and garlic pesto sauce, and filled with roma tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.

After my soup, I ordered their chef salad, which was just my size: It took up a rather large plate. I passed on the usual ham and had them double up on the turkey. The greens were fresh, as were the tomatoes, cucumber and red onions. I cheated by having the cheddar cheese but passed on sprouts and croutons. I had them bring their homemade thousand island dressing on the side. For this salad lover, I was a very happy camper. For just $6.99, it was a lot of food for the money.

Under the salad banner they also serve Asian chicken salad with roasted chicken, Asian noodles, mandarin oranges, red onion and red seedless grapes with toasted sesame dressing. In addition to the small dinner salad, they offer another large salad; basically the chef salad without the meat and cheese. They make their own potato salad, which is fresh and cool and peppered with dill. In addition to the tasty homemade thousand island dressing, they have created an original, dilly onion. Other dressings include ranch, Italian, raspberry vinaigrette and honey mustard.

You can build your own sandwich or wrap with a number of meats (turkey, roast beef, ham, corned beef or Canadian bacon), and cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, hot pepper, provolone, or cream cheese). Any sandwich or wrap comes with your choice of lettuce, tomato, red onions, alfalfa sprouts, mayo or mustard - and probably anything not listed, if you ask.

To hold your sandwich you can choose whole wheat, rye, sourdough, all-American white bread, or a bagel. Wrap choices are white, sun dried tomato, whole wheat or spinach. And just recently, they added wheat-free bread for those with allergy concerns.

Specialty sandwiches include BLT, Canadian Wonder (Canadian bacon heated with Swiss cheese and avocado), Gobble Gobble (with cream cheese and cranberry), Oliver Twist (chopped olives, cream cheese, and cucumbers), Reuben (with hot sauerkraut and thousand island dressing and comes with their homemade potato salad), Roast Beef Melt (with cheddar cheese on a honey bun), Ham & Swiss Melt (also on that homemade honey bun), a Veggie, and a Gyro (Gyro meat, feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce on warm pita bread).

There's a daily sandwich special - one half sandwich and a cup of soup for $7.95.

They serve breakfasts too. Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. I've only been there for lunch so far because I keep forgetting this is a choice. If their breakfasts are on par with their lunches - and I can only assume they are - you'll leave the table satisfied.

There are omelets, waffles, French toast, eggs Benedict, hot oatmeal and a Deli Breakfast Sandwich with cheese and sausage, Canadian bacon or regular bacon. Side orders include English muffins, ham and hash browns.

Also on the breakfast menu are fresh baked pastries including cinnamon rolls. The flavors of their muffins and scones change daily.

There's a Kids Menu too. There's a cheese quesadilla, a grilled cheese sandwich and a child's plate of meat, cheese, fruit and crackers. And you can't boast of a Kid's Menu without every kid's favorite: PB & J.

In addition to the usual suspects when it comes to beverages, they serve espresso, latte, cappuccino, mocha, lemonade, Italian soda, fruit juices, hot chocolate, and raspberry and chai tea.

And now a word about ... desserts. Wow.

All sweet choices are homemade.

They serve bread pudding warmed and topped with cream, pies, chocolate cake, carrot cake, giant cookies and muffins.

But what put me over the edge is a dessert I've never seen anywhere else before.

I've mooned over these things in the dessert case, but until this particular day I had the resolve not to go "there." But hey, I'm doing my job and so I am duty bound to taste one so I can report my experience to you.

They come in two flavors, Lemon Lush and Chocolate Lush. And if lush is short for luscious, they've hit the nail on the head.

I had the Lemon Lush; a layer of velvety whipped cream and a thick but light layer of lemon filling on what tasted like a crust of pecan shortbread. In between the crust and the filling is a layer of cream cheese. Ask me if I'd like a slice of cream cheese pie and I'll tell you I can pass. When my hubby asked if he could have a bite, I acquiesced. But secretly I was thinking, "Why didn't he just order one for himself and leave me to my sucrose fix!"

The atmosphere is bright and clean and friendly with mostly tables. But there is a large booth at the back of the front room. The decor is homey and the walls are hung with examples of the owner's keen eye for nature photography. The kitchen is absolutely spotless, as were the large bathrooms.

There's also a cozy "back room" where patrons can be seated and where groups can book meetings. On one occasion, it was filled to the brim with those ladies in red hats. They were having a grand time.



Jean's Deli

M-F 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Saturday 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

(no breakfast)

Reservations; to go

683-6727



Price rating:

$ very inexpensive

$$ expensive

$$$ pricey

$$$$ expensive

Jean's Deli: $



Shelley Taylor and her husband relocated to the peninsula from California and are active in property tax reform issues. By her own admission, Taylor likes to eat.



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