Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover: Lunching at Buddha Belly Deli (Marysville, British Columbia)

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover: Lunching at Buddha Belly Deli (Marysville, British Columbia)

You think you’re going to get Indian, but think again. Looks can be so utterly deceiving.

If you’ve ever been in rural Canada – regardless of whether it’s the Rockies, the Plains, Maritimes or Tundra – you’re sure to have gotten the feeling that “I’m not really in the metropolis anymore, Toto.” The highest building on the skyline might be the church steeple or the six floor office block, while the “main drag” is the place you’ll find the most frequented restaurants in town. Some places are so small that if you blink as you’re passing through you’re bound to miss them.

Such is small town life.

I’m, admittedly, a bit skeptical of getting something delicious to eat in these kind of places. Having spent some of my formative years in a small town I’m quite aware of how tricky it can be to eat out if you have allergies, or if you simply want something unique/different/special to eat. Early on, I easily embraced the idea of making my own food, not because I was intolerant per se (I only learned about my allergies about six years ago), but just to get something that isn’t smothered in grease, lard or other substances you’re not able to identify with the naked eye.

Marysville's 'main drag'.

Marysville’s ‘main drag’.

Well imagine my delight at stumbling upon a fantastic little deli on a jaunt through small (small) town Marysville, British Columbia. A place that’s literally so small you’d miss it if you blinked. My aunt and I decided to explore the main strip, and while there wasn’t much on offer – and we weren’t entirely sure what we were getting into – we popped into a place with a jolly Buddha laughing away on the sign post. It looked like the best option available and where perhaps we could at least get a fresh salad if all else failed.

I’ll tell you right now: we got that fresh salad and so much more.

This salad (and the organic balsamic) was Heavenly. Yes, with a capital 'H'.

This salad (and the organic balsamic) was Heavenly. Yes, that’s with a capital ‘H’.

Buddha Belly Deli was modestly busy with clientele. There were older ladies lunching, and younger couples with their kids. There were also some fashionably attired pensioners faffing away their afternoon in the corner of the patio, sipping on wine and chasing up their meal with a slice of homemade carrot cake. We figured if it was good enough for them, it would be good enough for us.

Buddha Belly Deli

We perused the menu for some time attempting to make the link between the name of the deli: Buddha Belly to the items listed such as clam chowder soup, oysters from Prince Edward Island (served with hot sauce), Philly cheese steak with salad, and other bistro fare. Instead of getting my intolerant pants all up in a bunch because there wasn’t anything Indian on the menu, I instead asked the very receptive server if I could get the Philly cheese steak without the cheese and the bun, and have it accompanied with a green salad on the side. My aunt went with crab cakes and a green salad with vinaigrette as well.

Presentation: check. Portion size: perfect. Taste: oh, so good.

Presentation: check. Portion size: perfect. Taste: oh, so good.

As we waited for our lunch to come out, we watched the ladies who lunch dive into generous portions of carrot and cheesecake and twitter with delight following every forkful. It was at that point that I started to think our lunch might be better than anticipated and this was reinforced when the cook came out and explained how they use as many local and organic ingredients as possible in the deli and the way in which he would prepare the steak to avoid any allergens. He also raved about a balsamic vinegar he’d bring out that I could drizzle on my salad along with some olive oil.

Hands up for small town, five-star service.

I could smell my steak before I saw it, and when our plates were placed in front of us I was (disclaimer) quite surprised at how mouthwatering and fresh everything looked. The meat was beautifully cooked: perfectly medium rare with a hint of sweetness thanks to the caramelised onion and red peppers on top. The salad was as simple as they come, but it was fresh, it had artichokes (this Intolerant adores those savvy green hearts) and the balsamic the chef brought out was indeed fantastic. It was rich, syrupy and packed with flavour.

How good does that look? Yet again, another rhetorical question.

How good does that look? Yet again, another rhetorical question.

When the server came to take away our plates we gushed about lunch: the lightness of crab cakes, the flavour of the steak and how much we enjoyed our salads. We then washed down our experience with tea and proceeded to hit the road for another afternoon in the Rocky Mountains. Our bellies full with food that, may not have be Indian in nature, but had been anointed with a whole lot of Buddha love.

As momma Buddha said: don’t judge a book by its cover.

Because looks can be so wonderfully deceiving.

Buddha Belly Deli

Buddha Belly Deli
459 304th St
Marysville, British Columbia, Canada
(7 kilometers South of Kimberley, B.C.)