Category: eating

The limepocalypse is here, but it’s not what you think

You may have heard that there’s a shortage of and increase in the price of limes going on here in the USA where we get most of our limes from Mexico. Haymarket limes, 2 for a buck I can verify that limes at Haymarket, which could be had six or eight for a buck last year, are going for 50 cents each if you can find them at all. You may also have heard or read of this referred to as #limepocalypse or #limeageddon.  For one, the Mother Nature Network reports,

Bad weather and a tree disease in Michoacán, Mexico, have wreaked havoc on the lime supply, further exacerbated by the mind-boggling influence of drug cartels. (Because apparently when making billions of dollars on cocaine isn’t enough, it’s time to begin shaking down lime farmers.) At this point, the Knights Templar Cartel controls the wholesale distribution center where growers sell limes to the global market, making limes an even hotter commodity.
But we digress; back to more important things like margaritas.

Indeed, let’s get back to cocktails before we learn too much about where our fruit comes from and what’s driving the price up. First world problems anybody? Here’s another take on what’s happening in Mexico and how it affects our precious cocktails. So what about limepocalpypse – what is an apocalypse anyway, and just how overblown (or not) is it to link this lime situation to one?

Via good old wikipedia,

An apocalypse (Ancient Greekἀποκάλυψις apocálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω meaning ‘un-covering’), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation, although this sense did not enter English until the 14th century.[1] In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden. In the Book of Revelation (Greek Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου, Apocalypsis Ioannou), the last book of the New Testament, the revelation which John receives is that of the ultimate victory of good over evil and the end of the present age, and that is the primary meaning of the term, one that dates to 1175.[1] Today, it is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general.

Square glass, round limeSo an apocalypse is a revelation, or more recently, any old end-of-the-world scenario. Well, a lime shortage is hardly the end of the world, even for a dedicated gin and tonic drinker, but drug cartels violently hijacking your livelihood is a sure sign of the end of days for a lime farmer. For those of us closer to the poolside tippling end of the lime food chain, perhaps this event will be an actual revelation, in the sense of disclosure, teaching us a bit about where these limes come from and what life is like for those that grow them.

Food for thought to go with your cocktail.

Operational Efficiency at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Two weeks later, I kept my Cheese Weasel Day date with Roxy’s Grilled Cheese truck. You know how I like a simple menu: they offered five sandwiches, two add-ons and a single side.

Menu at Roxy's Grilled Cheese

What I really wanted was a grilled cheese sandwich made with sharp cheddar, ideally with bacon and avocado, most of the Green Muenster but not quite all of it. I just don’t dig the muenster cheese, and owing to the partially pre-assembled nature of Roxy’s sandwiches, some substitutions just can’t be made. I settled on the Rookie Melt, which was served up in just seven minutes.

The Rookie Melt at Roxy's Grilled Cheese

Behold the Rookie Melt. I wonder if I should be offended by the name? It’s cheddar and tomato, griddled up just right. The cheddar could be sharper (but it’s certainly not as dull as muenster) and the tomato runs the risk of sliding out of the sandwich, but no grilled cheese rookie would let that happen.

Burek Börek Byrek Truck Truck Truck

One of the newest trucks on the scene at City Hall Plaza is Mediterranean Home Cooking, what looks like a family operation with no evident social media presence or brick and mortar location. But they do have one of my favorite things, a focused menu:

Menu at Mediterranean Home Cooking

That’s right folks, we’re talking about byrek and that stars with B and ends with K and there’s a great deal of variability about what goes in between and inside. At Sabur in Somerville, it’s burek and it’s hand-stretched, at wikipedia, it’s börek and it’s everywhere from Armenia to Albania and lots of places in between. At Mediterranean Home Cooking, it’s fresh filo dough with olive oil and your choice of meat, spinach and cheese fillings. I had spinach (triangular) and meat.

Spinach and meat byrek at the Mediterranean Home Cooking truck

Both shells were crisp and a little chewy while still flaky but not impossibly messy. I was expecting something more like spanakopita with lots of cheese but there was just a bit of something not as pungent as feta, allowing the spinach to be the star. It was leafy and not overcooked or minced beyond all recognition as sometimes happens in these things. Probably not a whole meal for most, but at $4, no complaints.

Byrek with cheese at the Mediterranean Home Cooking truck

The meat byrek – beef, I’m pretty sure – was the standout. A seemingly more generous portion in general and not at all stingy on the meat but also nicely spiced and generously endowed with melty onions. Gotta love the onions. At just 50 cents more than the spinach, the meat byrek felt like most of a meal. Fries were on the menu with the burger but not listed a la carte, but I’m sure the peckish could make a special order.

Byrek with meat from the Mediterranean Home Cooking truck

It can’t be easy to compete side by side with the more polished Bacon Truck and Green Bean Mobile, but Mediterranean Home Cooking brings the byrek, and that’s something you won’t find in too many other places, and they deliver it simply and with a smile.

Res Ipsa loquitur at Chicken & Rice Guys

The menu board is improved and the prices have gone up, but the Chicken & Rice Guys still deliver exactly what they say and they do it very well.

Menu at Chicken & Rice Guys, Cash Only

Last year I had the chicken and rice, this time I tried the lamb and rice, small size.

Small Lamb and Rice at the Chicken & Rice Guys

I admire the focus and appreciate the results. Plentiful yellow rice, tender meat, three sauces to choose from (BBQ, white, and hot), pita and lettuce. Boom.

Compliments all around

Yesterday the good folks at the Compliments food truck seem to have decided it was their duty to dispense compliments to their patrons. It certainly brightened my day. I got “hey, I really like your sunglasses” (they’re Warby Parkers, and it’s like looking through an Instagram filter all the time!) and the gent behind me was told he was “a beautiful man” even though or perhaps because he ordered the last focaccia.

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I chose the grilled cheese with tomato because it seemed like the right thing to do and because I remembered the tuna melt I got from this truck last season was superb. I was not disappointed. It was a wonderfully toasted sandwich on good bread with good cheese. The tomato was just ok but it didn’t diminish the totality of the sandwich. Tomato is always a tricky element of a grilled cheese sandwich because it can be slippery, causing the sandwich halves to drift like tectonic plates. But I digress.

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At the last minute I also ordered the fried cauliflower, though I’m a bit skeptical of the “too fresh” moniker. I like cauliflower almost any way except overcooked, and I’m now prepared to say that fried with sea salt and some spices is a very good way to have cauliflower. Crispy from the frying but not crunchy from the cauliflower, which was cooked just enough. Highly recommended.

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Compliments to the chef!