April 16, 2009|By ROB KASPER

Howard Gourmet Deli

701 N. Howard St., 410-523-0005. Hours: 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

It is against regulations to eat while traveling on the light rail, but you can sniff the aromas of your carryout food as you ride.

That is what I did recently after visiting Howard Gourmet Deli. This deli is tucked among the antique shops on North Howard Street, across the street from Maryland General Hospital and a few paces away from the Centre Street light rail stop. It opened seven months ago.

My older son and I were headed to an afternoon Orioles game when we stopped at the deli to pick up lunch. This place is more deli than gourmet, with a menu heavy on sandwiches and wraps. Scanning through the intriguing names - Sweet Talker, Happy Chicken - I picked a Koo Koo sandwich, $4.99. This was your basic grilled turkey breast, lettuce, tomato and provolone on a Kaiser roll. What set it apart was the honey mustard; it added just the right amount of flair to the mix. The sandwich got its name, I was told later by staff, "out of the blue."

I also ordered the Greek salad, $4.99, as a side dish. Loaded with chunks of feta cheese and olives resting on a sea of romaine lettuce, this salad was large enough to be a stand-alone lunch.

My son ordered a hot roast beef platter, $5.99. We inhaled its perfume as we hopped on the light rail and road to the ballpark. It tasted as good as it smelled and came with a customary Baltimore side dish, french fries and gravy.

The two for $1 chocolate-chip cookies, baked on the premises, provided sweet comfort when, late in game, we sat in the bleachers and watched the home team lose. Lunch from Howard Gourmet Deli was one of the day's high points.

best bite

Koo Koo turkey sandwich, $4.99

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