Tagged: lunch

Lucky locavore lunch on the Greenway

I’d stayed up late making a week’s worth of lunch boxes, each one a work of nutritious bento art, and naturally I left all of them in the fridge at home. How serendipitous, I thought, the Boston Public Market on the Greenway is right next door, I’ll just get lunch there!

As it turns out, a farmers market is not the best place for ready to eat food, but I took it as a challenge and cobbled together the a very local lunch:

Locavore lunch on the Greenway: the components

I gathered smoked salmon pate from Matt’s Amazing Smokehouse, grapefruit soda by Spindrift, from Union Square Donuts, spinach from Foppema’s farm, and a roll from Pain D’Avignon, and thanks to a couple of wooden tasting spoons from Matt’s, I was able to roughly slice the roll and spread the pate on it for a pretty good sandwich. A bench on the greenway served as both seat and table.

The locavore sandwich: salmon pate and spinach

Some farmers markets have more ready to eat food or accompanying food trucks, but with a little effort you can have a nice lunch and have plenty of leftover material for future meals.

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:


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

Davis Square cheese sandwich quest: The Ploughman's Lunch

The cheese sandwich quest continues.  Following up on a tip from Brian, I ordered up the Ploughman’s Lunch at The Burren here in Davis.  It came with excellent chips (fries) but the cheese was less than it might have been.  Apologies for the sub-par cameraphone shot, I was caught out without my Ricoh.

The menu describes it thusly: “Ploughman’s Lunch – $5.95 – open faced sandwich on french bread with choice of swiss or cheddar with  lettuce, tomato & onion, accompanied with branston pickle

I opted for cheddar, which was of decent quality but a little stingy in quantity, just one square slice per half sandwich.  The sandwich wasn’t actually open-faced, but I suppose I could have ditched half the bread.  I’m not sure how authentic this is, but it was an inexpensive and filling sandwich.  A perfect cheese sandwich, perhaps not.  Next stop, Deli-icous?

The three chickens you meet in Tibet

I’m a big fan of lunch.  It’s one of my favorite three meals of the day.  Yesterday I went with tangyslice and our CTO to a new to us place, Martsa on Elm for a Tibetan buffet.  We weren’t sure what to expect but we were happy with what we got.

I’m not sure how authentic or representative the buffet selection was, but it was pretty chicken-heavy.  On the first plate, I sampled the steamed bread, tofu with creamy spinach sauce, lemon curry chicken, and sauteed eggplant and vegetables.

The tofu was like a watery palak or saag paneer, but the lemon curry chicken was citrusy without the syrupy sweetness you sometimes get in chinese style lemon chicken.  It had a nice curry flavor too.  The eggplant was tender and a little smoky flavored.

About the steamed bread: it’s not for everybody.  A bit like the dough in a cha siu bao, it’s, well, doughy.  Not much in the way of flavor and you might feel a bit cheated at an all you can eat buffet if you eat a fist-sized blob of bread.  But I love anything that I can use to mop up sauce.

On the second trip to the buffet, I decided to sample each of the other dishes and picked up chili chicken, mixed vegetables and “chicken n cabbage”  I skipped the lentil soup and rice pudding dessert.

The chili chicken was nicely spicy with some kind of cornstarch coating and a selection of crisp bell peppers and onions.  The vegetables were carrot-heavy and not overdone, always a plus especially on a buffet.  The third chicken, with cabbage, was pretty much as advertised: chicken with cabbage.

I’m not sure how often we’ll return, but Martsa is a welcome addition to the run of Davis square lunch options, giving us a little more variety and diversity.  Vegetarians are well-served but not as well as chicken-lovers.

Kudos also for Martsa’s smart decor and quiet vibe.  Love the lampshades.

A guide to Davis Square chuggers

No, I don’t mean the trouble all those college kids are getting into, I mean Charity Muggers, or “chuggers” as the limeys call them.  I was at lunch with @tangyslice in Davis square today and observed him live-blogging the local charity panhandlers.  Being who I am, I couldn’t help but geolocate Tangy’s observed data.

Perhaps you can use this to plot a nag-free course through the square.  Good luck, and watch where you step.  If you really want to make a difference, perhaps you’ll make a donation to Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, which is the featured charity of Social Media for Social Change.

Sushi and ice cream

Lunch is one of my three favorite meals of the day. Taking a break from the usual grind of burritopalooza or wolf-at-your-desk, I sought out that Davis Square oasis of calm, Snappy Sushi. While some people are off in Japan nom-nomming their way across the island, I still find Snappy to be above average in the lunch sushi game. Turns out they have at least one interesting surprise on the menu, the mamemaki roll. While the $1 a piece nigiri feel a little stingy, this $9 roll had a lot going on: brown rice, tuna, salmon, avocado, cucumber and lettuce, all wrapped in a white soy sheet studded with black and white sesame seeds and drizzled with a nice edamame-yuzu sauce.

The whole effect is very summery, with crunchy cucumber and mushy avocado adding a salad-like vibe to the sweet and melty salmon. The sharp citrusy sauce (I can taste the yuzu, not so sure about the edamame) and bland, slightly chewy soy wrapper really made this roll stand out.

Not quite ready to return to work, I wondered, what next? Ordering another roll was tempting. Picking up another couple of shots of caffeine also seemed sensible. But who needs sensible when you can get ice cream? I made a bee-line for JP Licks. In the interest of keeping it light – and simple – I looked only at the soft-serve frozen yogurt selections. Lo and behold, they had both coffee and oreo flavors in one machine, allowing me to order the rare fro-yo swirl version of one of my favorite ice cream varieties, coffee oreo.

I opted for the kiddie size – smaller than small – which apparently comes in an espresso to go cup (take that, Murky Coffee!) for $3.14. I like that it says “HOT” all along the bottom of the cup. Honestly, it didn’t hold a candle to the ice cream version which has actual chunks of oreo cookie, but it was cool and most definitely hit the spot.

If you’re a big frozen yogurt fan and a bit obsessive, you will get a big kick out of JP Licks’ frozen yogurt schedule, where you can learn which flavors will be on offer at which stores during which weeks, no doubt avoiding much calamitous disappointment.