Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Boston

Mei Mei Street Kitchen serves up locally sourced Chinese-American food. MMSK is brand new to the food truck scene and we are happy their entrance. Mei Mei (little sister in Chinese) is a family run operation offering farm fresh, Asian inspired street food. We have often fantasized about a family owned, sisters run Vietnamese food joint to feature our mom’s  Fresh Spring Rolls Gỏi Cuốn Chay.

The white, yellow and blue MMSK truck with eat mei emblazoned on the front hood was parked in front of the BPL (where BMH last revisited Staff Meal). In addition to the library, MMSK also rotates near Stuart Street and Boston University.

The collective forces of the Brookline-bred Li siblings is quite impressive and their backgrounds include experiences as a line cook, entrepreneur and a MBA, restaurant manager and bloggers (check out Mei and Irene’s old blog Family Styles).

Andy Li created Mei Mei Group (I hope they make t-shirts and sell miso mayo by the container full), but sisters Margaret and Irene “wo”manned the truck when we visited.

Mei was super friendly, chatting about their origins, the menu and ingredients. I loved Irene’s funked out hair do, half shaved and similar to Lindsay Pavano (her cover of Trey Songz’s Say Ahh). The sisters’ efforts to get each patron’s name made me feel the sense of community.

MMSK’s rotating menu is filled with dishes that have some homage to Chinese cuisine in including pork, scallions, ginger, panko and will continually evolve similar to Staff Meal.

One of MMSK’s philosophies is to support local farms. We were impressed with the Google Map of Mei Mei Street Kitchen’s Farms, Partners, and Producers.

We couldn’t help but pick up a few of the vanilla and five spice macarons because of our well documented macarons obsession.

Our first tasting of Mei Mei Street Kitchen included their fried pork ball, The Double Awesome, a breakfast burrito featuring scallion pancakes as the burrito skin, cheese and a poached egg and the beer batter tempuraed fiddleheads.

We have a weakness for tempura items and could not help but add a last-minute order of little sister Irene’s Greenway Mobile Food Fest award-winning tempura fiddleheads.

The beer battered, foraged fiddlehead ferns were by far my favorite of all their dishes. The layers of flavor from the beer and light, miso scented mayo were so delicious. Although the $5 fiddleheads were still in season, they were available only for a short time. This sense of urgency made me savor the fried goodness even more.

We hope the miso mayonnaise is slathered on EVERYTHING. We also hope there is another iteration of a tempura battered vegetable with a side of miso mayo and that it will be a permanent fixture on the MMSK menu. We would go back for this stuff alone.

The deep-fried porky rice ball ($2) was an Asian version of the aranchini. The golf ball sized rice ball was a nice texture and we could smell the scent and enjoyed the taste of the sage butter.The rice ball was dusted with a crunchy panko breadcrumb and we really enjoyed the center, stuffed with a nugget of flavorful pulled pork. We just wished the pork ball was a bit larger.

The Double Awesome, scallion pancake melt featured two perfectly poached eggs, Vermont cheddar, and spring greens pesto for $7. The yolks were a rich and perfect consistency and went well with the pancake. However, we really wish the scallion flavor was stronger and that we had the option to sample just one pancake. We would have enjoyed the option because the egg, cheese and pancake combination was tasty, but quite heavy and filling.

Our macaron was light and the buttercream was quite rich and we noticed the hint five spice. Looking forward to trying the almond and green tea macarons that have been reported to be in rotation and we hope Mei Mei comes up with other Asian inspired macaron flavors. We suggest mandarin orange or kumquat, egg custard or even red bean buttercream flavors.

Can not wait to see what else MMSK has in store and nosh on their renditions of Asian inspired street foods. Their items could easily be featured at Myers+Chang (BMH review of Myers+Chang), however MMSK’s prices are a fraction of Joanne Chang’s premium.

Mei Mei Street Kitchen Food Truck on Urbanspoon

EVOO Restaurant, Kendall Square, Cambridge

EVOO is located in Kendall Square, near the former Google offices, next to Za.

The lighting is warm, the ambiance is quite quaint.

My friend snagged us a prime seat in a booth in front of the kitchen.

Our waiter was very helpful and offered his suggestions. He also checked in us frequently to ask how our meal was and filled our water glasses. I loved the combination of Parmesan cheese, extra virgin and balsamic vinegar as a dip for the crusty french bread.

Baby Swiss Stuffed Smoked Pig Skin Arancini with Mustard Laced Caramelized Onion Purée for $10 was also pretty amazing. The cheese and pig flavor was lovely and like a risotto encased in a nice crust. We sopped up the onion puree with the crusty fresh bread.

Although I considered the ABC Granny Smith Apple, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Vermont Cheddar with Apple Butter, Organic Lettuce and Honey Mustard on Raul’s Sliced Bread $11, but ultimately I went with the  Polenta Lasagna with Lamb Bolognese, Stracciatella, Arugula, Fennel, Orange and Hazelnut Crunch $15.

The splash of citrus and arugula was a great cut into the bolognese and I loved the surprise crunch from the hazelnuts. This was so delicious, hearty because of the pasta and meat, but light at the same time because of the citrus and salad- I cleaned the plate.

My dining  companion enjoyed the Braised Olive-Raisin Filled Sweet Potato Tamale with Black Beans, Cumin Scented Toasted Rice, Cilantro, Pete’s Sweet Pickled Jalapenos and Goat’s Milk Feta for $13. The cumin and cilantro gave a nice flavor to the dish and the jalapeno’s heat and the sweet potato was an interesting touch.

We split a Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake with Toasted Marshmallow for $8 per our waiter’s suggestion. We loved this so much, we considered taking it home. The freshly bruleed marshmallow creme surrounding the rich truffle chocolate mound made the dessert.

We have had many meals at the same price point that were not on par to EVOO’s creativity and execution. We would definitely return to EVOO again for lunch or dinner and highly recommend checking it out. I would also check out Za for their pizzas and salads.

EVOO on Urbanspoon

Galleria Umberto, North End, Boston

I do not know how many times I have eaten on Hanover Street in the North End and never set foot into Galleria Umberto. I lived in the North End for some time and I am saddened that I never knew about the popular and inexpensive lunch time spot, next to the Sovereign Bank. Better late than never.

The menu is simple. They serve beers, calzones, slices of deep dish Sicilian pizza for $1.55, panini for $2.25, pizette for $1.75, panzarotti for $1.45 and aranchini for $3.00.

During the prime time lunch window, the line was nearly out the door and it took us around 20 minutes to order. Once we got the front, the counter staff greeted us and gave us a few minutes to compose our order and pay (cash only). Unfortunately, we only had one choice of flavors for pizza. Cheese. I appreciate the no frills atmosphere and what you see is what you get. However, I wish there were some slices of pepperoni pizza. I have a weakness for pepperoni.

On the left side of the restaurant is a painted mural of Italy and illustrations of the various seafood and sights. 

 I will be back to sample the arancini (risotto ball filled with meat), calzones, pizette and panzarotti.

Four squares of Sicilian cheese pizza

There was a perfect ratio of lightly sweet sauce and soft and chewy cheese interior and crispy cheese exterior. The square shaped crust was so tasty and had a perfect crunch at the edge. One slice was not enough.Galleria Umberto on Urbanspoon