When I was growing up, my mother and I had our hair cut by a man named Allen, who, I think it’s fair to say, was insane. Every six weeks I listened to him talk too fast about aliens and government spies, trying as hard as I could to will his scissors away from my head, but to no avail. And so I, the shiest girl in the class, wore way-too-radical bobs, with tails and asymmetrical lines, through a lot of my delicate years because this man thought he should take it upon himself to see that I was a non-conformist and my mother thought that that was a funny project. Sometimes being a child sucked.
There was one good part about that inescapable Willow Glen appointment, though: When it was over we got to get lunch next door at La Villa Delicatessen. This is a classic Italian deli, the kind that’s half a place you can sit and eat lunch in and half a specialty grocery store. I would get lasagna, the absolute favorite food of my childhood, and delight in the drastic shift in my circumstances.
Now when I go, I go for an overstuffed sub on a fresh sourdough roll and realize that, in some ways, it’s kind of an unremarkable place, because it’s just like all the others that are like it. But there aren’t so many delis like this anymore and it’s good to know where to find the ones that are left. Plus, it’s on a pretty, tree-lined street full of fun shops and there’s sidewalk seating. I’ll never not go there, and maybe you’d like to go there someday too.