Sunday, October 06, 2013

Meatballs – And Diamonds – Are a Girl’s Best Friend

When last we left my colleague and BFF Amanda, I had bid her farewell on the subway, as she returned to Queens with some 12 dozen homemade Twinkies and Ding Dongs under her arm.

After that, I went to Oregon – without her.  She went to Germany – without me.   And, then we came to the conclusion that it had been weeks since we’d seen each other, so we booked a lunch date.

Truth be told, Amanda actually cancelled a lunch date with someone else to have lunch with me.  I was honored and I have no idea who she blew off, or what excuse she gave.  We decide that a little food trucking is in order.  It’s our very first food truck date and it’s my job to get a fix on our options. After a frustration morning learning that none of the “greats” are in the neighborhood (am I EVER going to have a meal at the Mac Truck?) I get a hot lead on a sidewalk cart that’s been around for about a year, but is new to me – MTBLLS NYC.

That’s MEATBALLS, folks, if you include the vowels.  My pulse begins to race, and the choice is settled before I even lock my computer screen and head towards the elevators. When I meet Amanda in the lobby and tell her the plan, she practically swoons with delight.  

“I’m dressed very “Ladies Who Lunch,” so how exciting to be dining at a food truck,” says Amanda breezily. Indeed, the tasteful silver brooch and heels are sure to be the envy of Food Truck Alley.  My food truck cronies always seem to be dressed to the nines.  

“This is better than lunch at Saks,” she adds.  

We take a brisk walk through the underground promenade in the Rockefeller Center area and emerge on 47th Street heading towards Park Avenue.   This route takes us through the Diamond District and Amanda is immediately distracted.   She points to a glittering “rock” in the window the size of a lollypop.       
“You’ll buy me one of these after lunch, won’t you?” she smiles.

Not without a trip to the ATM, sweetheart.

We soldier on and as we near Park Avenue, we can see a caravan of garish food trucks glittering in the distance.  It’s almost like when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Lion approached the city of Oz.  
MTBLLS NYC is a smart, cherry red food cart painted with the ballsy slogan “We got balls.”

Our choice is either beef, chicken or veggie balls.  We queue up and each request a Bowl of Balls – beef please.  

Here’s where we hit a momentary snag.  They are all out of beef meatballs.   For a second I fear that Amanda is going to break ranks and defect to the Lebanese truck around the corner.  
“No beef??” she asks, her voice sounding a little pinched.

I try to talk her off the ledge.  “It is almost 1:20 PM,” I try to rationalize.   “I’m not surprised they’re out of beef balls.  It’s their most popular item, and the real food truck pros usually line up by 11:45 AM.” 

“I see,” she says, taking a deep breath and processing the information.  “I’m a novice here.  I guess we’ll have to deal.”

So, we each order a Bowl of Chicken Balls.  Hers are bathed in marinara sauce.  Mine are dressed with Romesco sauce, a lively red pepper sauce from Catalonia, Spain.   Each serving is topped with a dollop of ricotta. 

The first thing we notice is that the “bowl of balls” actually comes in a cardboard box.  If you use your imagination, those sharp, angular edges suddenly become rounded. 
We head for the Chase Bank on the nearby corner and set up for a picnic on the outdoor plaza.  I realize that it’s been some time since I’ve actually dined al fresco from a food truck.   There is something to be said for noshing on ridiculously good food while you people watch and bask in the afternoon autumn sunshine.  
The chicken meatballs are impressive – three generous-sized balls, bigger than a golf ball, but not quite the size of a tennis ball. 
The marinara sauce is smooth and velvety, and the Romesco sauce has a nice, sharp kick.   Amanda likes the marinara sauce, but develops some serious Romesco envy.  We pronounce the balls to be brilliant.
On the way back to the office, we decide to indulge in a little dessert and pick up two cups of vanilla frozen yogurt from the YOGO truck – fat free, of course, with rainbow sprinkles.  I offer to treat and pick up the tab.  
“How lovely,” murmurs Amanda. “I guess I’m not getting the diamonds.”

She tastes the frozen yogurt, and her tone changes.   

"This is delicious!  It can't be fat free.  Do you think it's really fat-free yogurt, or are we in that "Seinfeld" episode now?" 
I always have a ball with her.     

©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Axelle the french cook said...

I love this story, T.W. Such a beautiful relationship too. So poetic. If Amanda prefers meat balls than diamonds, this woman is worthy :D

Zany said...

FINALLY! You have a food truck partner that knows how to dine. Three cheers for Amanda! The only thing that makes me sad about this post is that your dining spot in this story (by the bank) is the same place we ate during our food truck Seafood Extravaganza last summer...sigh!

Deana Sidney said...

A meatball truck? What will they think of next. I am from the midwest and can't imagine meatballs without pasta. i would have trouble with just bread on the side but understand. How do you eat spaghetti in a box?

Looks delish, no wonder your friend ditched a stuffy lunch for this.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Zany - Yes, I was feeling quite nostalgic sitting there. I hadn't lunched there since our feast last summer. If it's any consolation, you and I ate more that day.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Amanda was really dressed to the nines. Love her broach. If she loves to eat more than she loves to shop, she is my kind of gal. Way to go Amanda.

Laura Luciano said...

OMG: she cancelled lunch with me to dine with you! . I adored this post as you captured Amanda so perfectly... I miss her. LOve the food truck posts - really humorous and wonderful. When are we all dining together! ;)

Gloria Baker said...

love these meatballs!!! look delicious and Amanda is great and funny!!;)

Ford M said...

No--there is nothing to be said for eating on the sidewalk of a Chase Bank plaza. However, I can appreciate a lady who dresses up for lunch---did you pony up for the diamond bauble on the way back?

Catherine said...

Dear T. W., Good food, good company fresh autumn air and a nice delicious "fat free" yogurt. Sounds like a good lunch. Remember though, "diamonds are a girls best friend!" Blessings, Catherine

Barbara said...

Amanda certainly added a touch of class to your food truck outing! Hope she didn't get sauce on that lovely outfit. :)
I'm intrigued by the no-fat frozen yogurt. Was it that good? Wish they were around here!

Kalyn Denny said...

You're definitely having a lot more fun at lunch than I am!

Velva said...

I can totally dig a good meatball food truck.....Lunch rocks. The yogurt does too.


Sophie said...

A meatballs food truck,...Waw!!.. Your friend Amanda is pretty cool dressed for the accasion.

I love her take on food. 😀 the chosen meat balls look so appetizing too. Yummmmmm. 😀😀

~~louise~~ said...

One day we will have a meatball truck in central Pennsylvania and I will gladly share my escapades with you, T.W.

Until then, sigh, I will live vicariously through your adventures and those of your well dressed "guests."

I want you to know though, I will now be retiring this evening with The Meatball song rolling through my brain.

Thanks for sharing...I think, lol...

Mary Bergfeld said...

Now you have to admire a woman who dresses to dine. It sounds like the perfect date :-). The meat balls sound delicious. Here's hoping the weather doesn't drive you indoors too soon. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Monte Mathews said...

Hi T.W. Your friend Louise in PA highly recommended your blog and I can see why! Great writing! She stumbled upon mine and thought we should 'meet'. Here's a link to I am just about to post a story on Bison Meatballs...small world indeed.