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8 Catt. 1: In re Basil Thyme

2012 April 4

Opinion of CATTLEYA, J., in chambers.

Basil Thyme (“BT”) is a food truck that “serves fresh from-scratch pasta/Lasagna, sauces and dessert.” Up for review today is BT’s combo special, which includes a pasta entrée, side salad, dessert, and drink. For my entrée, I chose the “Guissepe” lasagna. The dessert of the day was a chocolate cannoli.

I must start with a confession: When I first spotted BT on the street many months ago, I walked right by it. I thought, “I cook pasta for dinner at least three times per week, and I don’t want to buy from a food truck what I can make for myself at home.” But the truth is that I can’t really compare my homemade pasta bakes with BT’s lasagna. I certainly don’t make lasagna from scratch, and even if I did, it probably wouldn’t be as good as BT’s. My stomach is glad that I was very wrong about BT.

Basil Thyme


First, I must determine whether BT’s combo special is “street food.” This Supreme Cart has defined street food as “the kind[] of food[] that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky (The Whoopie Pie Case), 2 Catt. 5 (2011). This is important because if BT’s combo special is “street food,” then a presumption arises that [the combo special] should be affirmed” and “the burden of proof lies entirely with the Supreme Cart to prove that [it] should be remanded to [BT] for revision.” In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012).

Although the Supreme Cart has not yet considered a combo special consisting of lasagna and salad, it is similar to other platters that have failed our “street food” test. See, e.g., In re NY Famous Kabob, 7 Catt. 3 (2012) (finding that a platter containing meat-over-rice and salad was not street food). A look at the main factors of the “street food” analysis supports the hunch that BT’s combo special is not street food. First, although a salad can be tossed in front of a food truck’s waiting customer, lasagna cannot be cooked within the minute or so that a customer steps up to a food truck. Second, neither lasagna nor salad is meant to be eaten without forks. Indeed, BT offers a fork to its customer. Third, lasagna and salad are not intended to be eaten by the customer while standing up. The standing position can be especially awkward and uncomfortable for the customer who likes to use a knife to cut smaller pieces.

BT’s cannoli does not constitute “street food” either. Although the dessert is meant to be picked up with the hands and can be eaten while standing up, the fried-and-filled pastry is not meant to be made in front of the customer. In fact, BT’s cannoli is similar to the pre-made whoopie pie that triggered our “street food” test in the first place. See Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5.

BT’s combo special is not entitled to the presumption that it should be affirmed as true “street food.” However, BT’s lasagna, salad, and cannoli proved to be pleasing to my palate, and I affirm.


Guissepe Lasagna, Side Salad, Cannoli & Drink (Combo Special)

A. Guissepe Lasagna

BT’s from-scratch Guissepe lasagna is made with black truffles and gorgonzola. The truffle-and-cheese pairing was well-chosen, as the gorgonzola brought out the flavor of the truffles. Moreover, the gorgonzola was an inspired choice for the lasagna because it melted very well, leaving behind just the right amount of gooeyness. Not all mobile sellers of cheese dishes have found good melting cheeses, see In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012), so BT is to be commended for this.

Note: The Guissepe lasagna a la carte costs $9. For an extra $2, you can get it with Portobello.

 B. Salad

The salad was impressive. It was made with fresh greens, cucumber slices, shredded carrots, roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, shavings of Parmesan, and a light vinaigrette dressing. Compared to all the iceberg lettuce salads out on the streets, see, e.g., In re 1st Yellow Vendor, 4 Catt. 2 (2011); In re Ali Khan Express, 3 Catt. 5 (2011);  In re Tasty Kabob, 3 Catt. 4 (2011), this salad was a surprising and welcomed addition to my Styrofoam container.

C. Chocolate Cannoli

Chocolate Cannoli

BT makes its cannolis with “house-made Ricotta.” The chocolate filling was rich and creamy. The shell still had a bite to it and was not soggy. My only complaint: I would have liked a light sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar to top it off.

Note: A cannoli a la carte costs $3.


Much ink has been spilled over whether BT’s portions are too small. I will add to the dialogue by saying that on first glance, the lasagna serving appeared on the small side, especially when juxtaposed with the larger serving of salad. But after eating the lasagna and salad, I was in that happy place where I was satisfied, not too stuffed, and could move on to dessert without feeling very bad. (In other words, if I had been in the mood to pig out on carbs, I probably would have been disappointed and wished I had gone to BT another day.)


 BT’s $10 combo special — with lasagna, salad, cannoli, and drink — is a solid deal. Since BT prices its lasagnas at $9, you basically get a salad, cannoli, and drink for an additional $1. (The exception is the Guissepe lasagna with Portobello. It costs $11 a la carte and $12 with the combo special.)

Everything was done well, and the ingredients were of good quality. I wouldn’t say that BT’s food is unique enough to reach the level of “food you absolutely must try,” but if you’re going to get lunch anyway and want a good meal for your money, then head over to BT’s truck and bring a Hamilton with you for the combo special.

A final note: BT readies and bags the customer’s meal very quickly (about a minute), so don’t let a long-looking line scare you away.

Affirmed. It is so ordered.

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