Tagged: lunch

Got to go see the Gozi

I got one of those mysterious messages from Lyons Communications (the people that brought you news of the giant Concord cheese wheel) that more or less said, ”you’ve got to see the gozi” will who could resist such a come-on?  I set out last week with Sprout Lender and cookbook entrepreneur J for a preview at Piperi Mediterranean Grill, a lunch spot opening today a stone’s throw from the soon to be closed for two years Government Center station.

So, what’s is a gozi? I’d call it the love child of a crepe and either a pita or a paratha. Also, it’s the wrapper or accompaniment of most of Piperi’s offerings. Piperi describes it thusly:

Gozi is our signature bread, used for all our sandwiches. It’s a modern interpretation of Gözleme, a traditional hand-rolled pastry from Turkey. The baking process creates small circles in the dough resembling eyes—“göz” in Turkish. Gozi is a little thinner and a lot more flavorful (we think) than pita bread.

Piperi presses and grills gozi right before your göz.  Be sure to ask for a hot one. We sampled the chickpea fritter falafel and the chicken mezze plate:

Piperi offers a modular menu with basic wraps, salads and plates with your choice of protein or vegetables and a range of sides and extras.  The falafel was not overstuffed, which I for one think is a benefit, and the gozi serves well to contain it without interfering with the essential falafeltude. The mezze plate  - a lower carb concept – had juicy tender chicken and stand-out sides in a carrot salad and white bean tabouleh.  I predict good things for this place, a welcome addition to the lunchtime landscape.

April (Food) Truck (Wrap) Up

I began April with a simple mission: eat at every food truck at Government Center.   I figured it would take about two and a half weeks, but now, 30 days into April, it appears that I will fall short of the mark, mainly because two of the scheduled trucks never showed up. Here’s a rundown on what I’ve learned and eaten by day of the week at Government Center:

Monday:

Anthony’s Catering:  One of the slowest trucks with the absolute worst sound system, but the food is just too good to pass up if you’ve got the time to wait.  Check out Bill’s favorite, the meatloaf sandwich on a croissant with cheese.

Dining Car: A solid contender with friendly service and good food, but I’m still seeking the sweet spot here.  More research and a full write-up coming soon.

Go Fish: Get the fish n chips or the salmon rollup or the sliders, there are lots of great choices here, and they have an impressive sauce bar.

Tuesday:

M&M Ribs: Showing up is a big part of a food truck business.  M&M did not.

Savory Food Truck: The ur food truck. Good not great Chinese food served fast. Dependable.

The Froyo Truck: A small little truck focused on doing one thing and doing it well.  But I’m still waiting for the waffles.

Wednesday:

Boston Speed Dogs: No shows for April. Very disappointing, but Dining Car has kielbasa and lots of hot dog stands are just a block away.

Chubby Chickpea: Classic falafel and shawarma.

Staff Meal: My pick for best of show.  Two guys, one truck.  Fast service, a regularly changing menu and the best sound system of all the trucks.

Thursday:

Bon Me: A returning fave with a simple menu and a great sandwich.

Paris Creperie: One of the longest waits but arguably worth it.  Also has a nice breakfast menu including l’alternative.

Staff Meal: As if I didn’t love them enough, they come twice a week.  Also, chicken skin!

Friday:

Clover: Possibly the progenitor of the current food truck thing, these folks serve up some great vegetarian options, massive popovers, and, of course, crypto-falafel. Highly recommended.

Grilled Cheese Nation: A little on the thin side but ya gotta have grilled cheese, right?

Lobsta Love: I gave myself a pass on this one cuz I don’t dig on crustacean.  It’s all too zoidbergian for me, but maybe I’ll give it a try in the name of science sometime later.

In general, the trucks each have a sweet spot, a signature dish or sandwich that’s the thing to get.  I say stick to the core competencies and the moral center of the menu board, at least until you get bored or adventurous.

So what’s next?  A little additional research at some of the trucks, maybe a dip in the lobster pound, and I’ll be monitoring the situation for the no-shows to return.  Soon enough the windswept plain of City Hall Plaza will be sun-baked and uninhabitable and I’ll be back to eating out of tupperware in my air-conditioned office. Until then, I suggest you get out at lunch and see the world.

One of the three most important meals of the day

When the weather gets into the 90s I try to stay inside during daylight hours, as much for the shade as the humidity-cutting air conditioning.  So it’s important to have lunch material on hand to avoid having to go out.  What I thought was scraping the bottom of the barrel today turned out to be an excellent combination.

Corn nuts, tomatoes and buckwheat noodles with tofu and vegetables

Toasted corn nuts from Whole Foods.  Salty and crunchy.  How can you go wrong?

Tomatoes from J’s garden.  Cosmetically imperfect but tasty beyond measure or need for any seasoning or accompaniment.

Cold leftover Chinese food.  Truly the breakfast of champions, but somehow this batch of buckwheat noodles with housemade tofu and vegetables from East Asia in Powderhouse Square made it through till noon despite a passing resemblance to Japanese summer breakfast fave Zaru Soba.

Two minor digressions here (this time I’m warning you in advance!)

The tofu from East Asia is amazing.  It’s made of sheets like the stuff we had a Mu Lan a while back, but this tofu has a toothsome texture and the sheets hold together in chunks and hold sauce admirably.  The restaurant looks like nothing special, but service was extra friendly.  Let’s have a closer look at this marvelous tofu.

East Asia's homemade tofu

Lunch is what’s on TV. Well, the Lunch video podcast is what’s on RSS at any rate. Check it out.  They’re lunching all over town, and sponsorships are available.

Lunch factory

Every now and again I get inspired, usually while avoiding some other work, to cook a lot of food.  Sometimes a week’s worth of lunch at a go.  After violating one of the cardinal rules of grocery shopping – don’t go while hungry – I came home and whipped up a week of lunch.  There’s a weird zen to mass production of lunches. Past experience suggests this will last longer than a week because I will forget to bring them to work, forget to eat them, and/or get lunch invitations that I cannot pass up.  So I guess it’s a week of lunches and maybe dinners.  Maybe more.

Bento it’s not, but here’s a week of beet couscous, steamed broccoli and teriyaki salmon.  It seems a little out of balance greens to fish, but maybe I’ll add a supplemental salad.  Even shopping at whole foods, the price isn’t too out of whack with what I’d pay for probably much lower quality prepared lunches. The sockeye salmon alone clocks in at almost $4 for each of the five lunches, but the rest cost very little.  On the other hand, I don’t have to wash up after a purchased lunch.