Julie Stalmer 8:30 a.m., March 23
Yellow Deli Has a Baby Brother!
Zaccay Amats Amok couldn’t be happier.
He’s 39, has his seventh child coming along, and he works in the Yellow Deli’s newest creation in Valley Center (at 32011 Lilac Road, Valley Center, 760-742-2064) .
Image from yellowdeli.com
Interior of the new sandwich and get-together house on the Twelve tribes' Valley Center farm
It’s a little hobbit house slap dab in the middle of nowhere that serves teas and sandwiches and other goodies to passing travelers, next to a produce stand they run to sell the fruits of their nearby farm.
A painting of Morning Star Ranch where the new eatery has been created
These are members of the Twelve Tribes, a group which came out of the Jesus movement of the seventies. People say they’re an end-timey-type group, but they looked a happy bunch, the two times I’ve been to their main house-eatery in Vista.
“I’m so thankful to be here,” Zaccay says. “I just arrived from the mid-west in time for this house's opening last spring. I mean, we’re way out here, but it’s incredible who comes to kick back and have a little something to eat.”
Two most popular eats are the “Deli Rose sandwich, which they stuff with roast beef, corned beef, hot pepper jack and provolone cheese, plus onions, tomato and their own, pretty spicy ketchup.
Or the “Morning Star Ranch” (the name of their farm), which comes with turkey, pepper jack, provolone, avocado, onion, sprouts ranch dressing and – the best thing, in my book – the thick wads of whole wheat bread they bake themselves.
They cost $7.75, with chips and pickle.
This started six years ago, when their Yellow Deli in Vista (315 East Broadway, Vista Village, 760-631-1888) had proved way-popular as a restaurant-music center and all-night hangout for Vistans and Oceansiders.
Sentiments of tolerance are painted all over the Mother Ship - the Yellow Deli in Vista
They decided they’d make a little satellite out on the farm itself, where people could come and munch some of their, like, oh man, homemade steamed fruit sourdough bread and those other yummy foods they bake.
So in 2006, they got to work to bring the 1930s Sears-Roebuck catalog house that was half-collapsing near their Valley Center farm back to life.
Last Spring, they opened it up, a hand-made, transformed space where you can take a load off your weary feet and listen to the music of a babbling brook and the moos of cows in the field outside.
I mean, yes, they are a religious group, trying to live as simply and purely as they can. Maybe trying to influence you by example. But do they grab you while you’re munching on one of their sandwiches and try and ram their views down your throat?
Not the times I’ve been in their Vista house. You just get hints through their names. Like, “Zaccay Amats Amok” means “deeply determined to be pure,” he says.
Or, if you ask questions, like I wanted to know who designed these spaces, Zaccay says “We got the same architect Noah had.”
Who comes? Zaccay says they get lots of farm hands, and a surprising number of tourists, specially now that Lavender Fields, the nearby lavender farm is in full bloom.
But don’t come between sundown Friday and midday Sunday. They’re strict followers of the order to do nothing on the Sabbath. Both places are shut down. Because, Zaccay says, Saturday is the real Sabbath, the original holy day.
But the rest of the week, the rest of us now have two strangely beautiful places to eat, talk, take a load off.
Inside the original house: woodsy, carved, quirky, just like the new-old house in Valley Center
After we've downed one of their awesome sandwiches, of course.