Simone Appetit: What in the world is a … Dirka Dirka?

Simone Grandmain

Customers have come in to Full Belly Deli from Reno, Sacramento and all over the Truckee-Tahoe area to score a Dirka Dirka. The sandwich is named after Dirk, a local real estate agent who requested one daily.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain |

Ever notice how some restaurants have menu items with names that are catchy, but leave you with some question marks regarding exactly what you’re ordering?

I am not talking just ethnic restaurants, where this occurrence is a given. (Saag Paneer anyone?) Recently even McDonald’s had me stumped with the addition of “Fish Balls” to its line-up.

It has become so endemic I have decided this column will address the issue on a semi-regular basis in an effort to educate our readers’ and my own palette. I would also like to point out Paula Deen never did this type of investigative food reporting. Do you hear me Food Network? When are the ousted Paula Deen’s people going to contact me? Have they not seen my column picture with the big spoon cleverly hiding my double chin? But I digress.

Our first “What in the World” tribute features Full Belly Deli’s “Dirka Dirka.” My initial thought regarding the Dirka Dirka was that it sounded a little bit like “Sherpa Sherpa” and, really, a couple Sherpa people would have come in handy to carry this mega-sandwich to my car. It’s a beauty and a beast which is not easy to consume in one sitting. Well, I could, but I would have to buy a bigger camouflaging spoon.

The Dirka Dirka is packed with corned beef, pastrami, pickles, yellow mustard, Swiss cheese, jalapeno coleslaw on house-made jalapeno cheese bread. It is possible to try and duplicate the Dirka Dirka in your own kitchen, using some chipolte mayonnaise to make up for the missing jalapeno coleslaw recipe, but it will fall flat without the Full Belly Deli bread.

I recommend letting the professionals handle your Dirka Dirka, and those would be Full Belly Deli owners Eric Barton and Tom Marin. Their motto “Our sandwiches give you twenty perfect bites” (so much better than my suggested “Eat ‘till you sleep”) really sums up the reason behind Full Belly’s phenomenal success.

Knowing that man and recipe columnists do not live by sandwiches alone, FBD also serves up great salads with easy-to-comprehend names (basil tuna or chicken) and wraps (I like the Thai chicken). For breakfast I would go with the Green Eggs and Ham (eggs, pesto, black forest ham and Swiss cheese on your choice of bread) or the Biscuits and Gravy Burrito.

Barton and Marin can often be found right behind the counter, preparing their signature creations and, if they are not, chances are these award-winning chefs are busy with their new Season’d Catering Tahoe ( enterprise which falls more into the category of fine dining, no doubt offering twenty perfect bites without the bread.

To experience a Dirka Dirka or any other Full Belly Deli masterpiece up close and personal, stop by 10825 Pioneer Trail Road, Suite 103, Truckee. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or catch them at Truckee Thursday Aug. 22 and 29, when they will barbecue their famous sweet and spicy pork shank known as Pig Pops and Tri-Tip sandwiches. Full Belly Deli phone: 530-550-9516; online:

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news @

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