Remember the golden days of social media, when you could call a tweetup for no good reason at all and the best and brightest would just show up and hang out? Well, they’re back. It’s lunchtime in America and the economy’s turning a corner. People with jobs are willing to take a long lunch on a Spring day to visit food trucks. I think @StevenL57 started it, I coined the hashtag #TruckUp, and @JeffCutler called in the elite twitterati. We met up at Mei Mei Street Kitchen in Copley Square by the BPL.
Thanks to JeffCutler for the pics above. Estimable guests included @wdipilato, @hybernaut, @HenryDuLaurence, @khopper, @marrsipan, @iamreff, @linji, @BostonFoodFan, and probably others I missed. Notable noshows included @tangyslice. Enough celebrity spotting, let’s talk about the host of honor: the Mei Mei Street Kitchen. Run by three siblings, Mei Mei serves “creative Chinese-American cuisine made from locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.” [side note and shameless plug: local and sustainable food is what Sprout Lenders are all about, and they just opened their summer round of loan applications]
Most Truckers ate from the top half of the menu, the scallion pancake sandwich melts. Using a scallion pancake like a tortilla or roti is a serious bit of genius in my book. I had the Porko Rosso at least in part because that’s also (almost) the title of a Miyazaki film. The sandwich is pulled pork, brie from vermont, and cranberry sauce. Sounds pretty local, and it’s also pretty delicious. The pork was savory and super tender, the cranberry sauce sweet but not too much so, the brie held it all togehter. My only nit would be that there was some runoff from the sauce that made the whole thing a little hard to eat by hand. You also get a side of siracha ketchup.
On the side, I got a deep fried braised beef and rice ball, sort of like an arancini. Super crispy on the outside with lots of salt, and almost melting inside. I also heard good things about the double awesome sandwich, the black and blue, and the sichuan spring asparagus. My tab came to a reasonable for a Boston food truck $10 with a bottle of water. The #TruckUp rolled on to other Copley trucks but I had to get back to the office. Check the other guests’ streams for more truckery.
Mei Mei also wins at operations. I was a little worried when I saw five people in the truck, but they worked together admirably and processed orders efficiently and apparently were really enjoying themselves doing it. Lots of food trucks are on twitter but I’ve never seen one use the medium like Mei Mei. They picked up on the #TruckUp during the planning last week and tweeted their excitement about it. They replied and retweeted, and thanked us all for coming to the #TruckUp. But the icing on the social cake is this: they put the tag – and many of our handles – on their board on the truck. Maybe I’m easily impressed, but that seems like a serious real-time marketing win.
It was an honor but also sort of uncanny to see my twitter handle in print – or at least in chalk – in the real world. When I placed my order I gave my name as limeduck and got a hearty greeting and somebody said, “that’s a good name for a sandwich!” Stay tuned.
Hi Limeduck! Thanks so much for stopping by yesterday and the great blog post. How cool was yesterday? Such an awesome group of food loving folks – we had a blast meeting you all and loved being a part of the whole thing.
We’re so happy you liked the sandwich, a nod to one of Max and Irene’s favorite Miyazaki movies, as you astutely noted.
Glad you noticed the local sourcing too – the pork is from Westminster Meats in southern Vermont (about 90 miles from Boston) and the cranberry sauce is housemade with fruit from Fresh Meadows farm in Carver, MA. Brie is from Blythedale Creamery, which is a really amazing small creamery that makes gruyere, brie, camembert, etc. Little sis Irene is the self-proclaimed farm zealot and busts her ass sourcing great local ingredients from nearby farms and producers – we’re very happy when we meet people who care about food miles and the local economy and all that good stuff.
Just wanted to also say how cool Sprout Lenders is – I remember seeing a tweet about that a few months ago and read up on the program. We think it’s so awesome and love what you guys are doing to put your money where your mouths are, if that makes any sense:) We firmly believe in helping our local food system grow and thrive and if we can ever do anything to help support, assist, whatever, let us know.
Thanks again for coming by and we’re looking forward to some serious limeduck sandwich deliciousness.
It was a great tweetup–an opportunity to meet some of my new food truck-loving Twitter friends, and catch up with some old ones. I’ve been following Steve, Megan, and David since the cold, windy opening of this food truck season, and I love the opportunity to convert internet friends into lunch buddies. I would love to do more [Wed May 30th at City Hall Plaza, for starters] but the casual, spontaneous low-stress fun of our first will be hard to maintain as more people join the #truckup. David, you captured the feeling very eloquently.
And you’re totally right about @meimeifoodtruck. Seriously, if you were going to teach a class on customer engagement, look no further than Mei. Before our first #TruckUp, I knew you were really good, Mei. [I am 100% sure you’re going to read this] But now I’m convinced you’re the best in Boston.
Mei was prepared for our visit and greeted many of us by name–the perfect hostess. Treating visitors like longtime loyal customers–is there any better way to convert visitors into loyal customers? I’m seriously in awe. And the food is amazing–really creative and beautifully executed. I salute you, Mei, and the whole @meimeifoodtruck team.
I look forward to seeing all of you again soon!