Tagged: city hall plaza

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.

MMM MMM M&M ribs

I was sorely tempted to return to The Latin Spoon for empanadas on this almost springy Tuesday, but the Quest requires that I visit each truck in turn before repeating. I’d been to M&M Ribs before and enjoyed it, so it was nice to return to a familiar menu.

The menu at M&M Ribs

I seem to remember having pulled pork and collard greens last time, so I chose the beef brisket with a side of BBQ baked beans. I was quickly served up with a smile.

BBQ beef brisket sandwich from M&M Ribs truck

This is a fantastic sandwich. In contrast to the dry rub on offer at Lilian’s Smokin’ Rack, M&M’s BBQ is moist and saucy, exceptionally tender, and served on a bun. The sandwich size is generous but not coma-inducing, though the quantity of beans was a bit excessive, though no less delicious. The sauce is on the sweet side, not spicy, and gives a real sense that summer might some day arrive. At twice the price of a Lilian’s “slider” one might question the relative value for the money, but certainly not the absolute deliciousness.

Waiting in the wind at Boston's crêpe-iest public plaza

Day three of the food truck crawl finally found our first choice truck – Paris crêperie – in attendance.  It was a beautiful bright Spring day in Boston with temperature in the 50s.  The corner of City Hall Plaza devoted to food truckery was cloaked in inky shadow and pierced by unrelenting arctic wind.

Half our number gave up waiting in line.  The crêpemasters opened their window the smallest crack possible to take orders and money then slammed it shut.

By the time we left, there was almost no line to order but a serious crowd clinging to a sliver of sunshine at the edge of the plaza waiting for crêpes.

Those who stuck it out were well rewarded.  My crêpe was ham and brie with generous amounts of both but not overstuffed.  The crêpe itself (the actual pancake) was thin and just a bit crisp, infused with tarragon according to the menu.

A return trip is in order to fully explore the dessert options.

Now let’s talk about the windy city.  Chicago got that name not for meteorological wind but for rhetorical wind.  In terms of actual average wind speed, Chicago is #12 and Boston is #1 among large US metro areas with average blowage of 12.3 MPH to Chicago’s 10.3.  Make of this what you will but it does nothing to excuse the architectural sins of Boston City Hall Plaza, where the wind seems even more punishing than elsewhere in town.  [For more windy maps, check out these beautiful visualizations of national wind patterns]

Linda Tischler says it better than I could in a piece called Boston’s City Hall Plaza, One of Country’s Worst Public Spaces, to Get Green Makeover where she observes, with my emphasis,

The EPA, in a gesture that will forever endear them to Bay Staters, has selected the frigid and loathsome brick-scape around City hall as one of five winners of its new Greening America’s Capitals campaign. The winner of a preliminary screening will work with the agency and the city of Boston in November to try and come up with a plan to soften the barren, 7-acre wasteland that surrounds the terrifying Brutalist monument, Boston City Hall, surely one of the least-loved buildings in America.

I’m not sure when that piece was published but I’m still waiting for some greening to happen at CHP.  For me, the worst thing about the dark and windy plaza is that in summer, it does not become shady and breezy, it becomes sun-baked and devoid of shelter of any kind. Good thing there’s a frozen yogurt truck in rotation.