Monday, January 30, 2012

Disappointed, and Not So Much

I was having a heck of a time trying to decide what to get today for lunch with only a handful of trucks tweeting they'd be nearby, but I hadn't had Red Hook since just before Thanksgiving so I figured that would be a good choice.  Hopefully today was just an off day because I'm sure hoping things haven't changed so drastically (for the worse) in the last two months.  Typically my roll is gone long before all the lobster, not just because it is well moistened by the butter poaching liquid, but because there is just so much lobster.  Today I practically had half a roll left and the substantially smaller quantity of crustacean was quite dry.  Really a let down.

On the flip side, I also decided to give House of Falafel another whirl now that the menu appears mostly "stabilized", not expecting much.  At first I ordered a beef shawarma, but noticed a couscous selection instead, offered with the same beef as the sandwich.  My plan was to sample while hot, then eat later, however I was still very much hungry after the weak Connecticut roll.  Since my expectations were low, I ended up reasonably surprised.  The beef by itself was well seasoned although a tad dry on its own.  But when eaten in a mouthful of all that was served, you're unlikely to be bothered by the lack of moisture in the meat for nestled between the beef and the couscous was, what I'm going to call, a middle-eastern style ratatouille.  I distinctly was able to identify at least zucchini, garbanzo & lima beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, onion, and tomatoes.  It could have used some more seasoning, and the couscous could be a little less mushy, but the combination of everything came off pretty well. 

The owner seemed crankier than I remember, and appears to not have figured out yet his business would do better if he leveraged social media like the rest of his truck brethren.  Not that there's a site to speak of up yet, at least is no longer getting a '404' error.  Sticking with 3 honks.

Bangin' Bang Tang

More props for Alex at Far East Taco Grill for constantly evolving his Asian-taco fare (and then some).  During Friday's Farragut Friday visit, I was able to make my first visit of 2012 to find a new menu item and other changes. 

To start, many of the condiments have changed form, at least a little.  For example, there are no longer separate cheese and/or crema options; instead, there is a cheese-crema, which is crema with the cheese mixed in.  A new-ish addition, while it's been on the menu a while, the spicy corn slaw is worthy to eat a whole bowl of, although I don't find it that spicy.  But, the most important change in the "toppers" is the return of the pineapple sauce, this time kicked up a notch.  I had been begging Alex to bring it back after it had been off the menu since my inaugural visit in September, and I found zero disappointment with its delicious return.  There are a few additional minor changes, such as the departure of cilantro on its own; instead there is some chopped cilantro in the onion-lime finisher.  I was concerned the onion might be a little over-powering for a workday lunch, but the lime juice and Kosher salt to a decent job of tempering the red onions.  Having said that, not everybody is a fan of onions, so I'd like to see solo-cilantro return as an option.

On the protein side, the chicken has been elevated with a new marinade dubbed "Bang Tang", adding a little heat, yet moderate enough for those who don't care for spicy food, particularly once topped.  The chicken is now also part of a "Kimchicken" quesadilla ... just what you'd think: kimchi, chicken, and cheese grilled in a flour tortilla.  If you're not sure what to make of it, I wasn't either.  The whole thing works though, especially with the spicy mayo and sriracha it is topped with.  (Really.)  Eat it while it's hot though -- I wasn't able to finish before I was called away to a meeting, and when I got back to my desk, I didn't find it nearly as enjoyable.
Kimchicken Quesadilla from Far East Taco Grill
FETG has handily become one of my very favorite "go-to" trucks.  Thanks Alex; keep up the great work.  Maybe you should change the name of the truck to "Far East Taco Evolution" for all the changes you make to continually make to improve the dining experience.  :-)

In other news, long-time coming Borinquen Lunch Box launches today, unfortunately at L'Enfant.  I really want to try the churrasco sandwich.  Good luck folks!