If you're already planning your Mardi Gras party (hey ya'll, it's less than a month away!) consider heading to Swarthmore for a tasty cornerstone for your buffet. The Countryside Market & Deli, a general store-turned-

sandwich emporium, makes the closest thing I've tasted this side of the French Quarter to a muffuletta - a Nola-style Italian sandwich topped with olive salad.

Owner John Carrafa was so inspired by the hot muffulettas at Napoleon House in New Orleans that he made a replica the signature sandwich of his deli. He had to settle for a rustic ciabatta roll instead of the traditionally flat, round, seeded loaf. But everything else, from the Italian meats to the piquant olive salad made by his wife, Theresa, evokes the Crescent City. It's also so enormous (a "half" comes on a 6-by-7-inch roll!), a full-size Countryside just might be big enough to feed the whole "krewe."

The Countryside sandwich, $6.99 for a half, $11.99 for a whole, at the Countryside Market & Deli, 514 Yale Ave., Swarthmore, 610-604-4799

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- Craig LaBan