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10 Catt. 3: In re Borinquen Lunch Box

2012 June 14

JEREMY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. CATTLEYA, J., wrote a separate concurrence.

We granted cartiorari to adjudicate the case of the tripletas sandwich purveyed by Borinquen Lunch Box (“BLB”), a “mobile gastronomic enterprise” operating in the District of Columbia. Per BLB’s menu, the sandwich is composed of “[r]osted [sic] pork, skirt steak, ham, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes [sic] sticks, and [their] signature dressing served in pan sobao.”

At least outside of select metropolitan areas with their cuchifritos and the like, Puerto Rican food is oddly hard to find on the mainland, and so I was especially excited to learn of BLB’s existence and try its food. Luckily, aside from a slight misstep discussed below, BLB’s tripletas sandwich did not disappoint.

Initially, we must note the sandwich we were served was, so far as one could tell, without lettuce or tomatoes, but nor were they especially missed. We find that the omission of lettuce and tomatoes was harmless error, not requiring remand. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the remainder of this opinion addresses a lettuceless, tomatoless sandwich.

Before passing to the substance of the matter at hand, we must consider whether the tripletas sandwich constitutes “street food.” We have long held that a “sandwich” clearly constitutes “street food.” See, e.g., In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012). Therefore, we must affirm unless this Supreme Cart can meet the burden of rebutting the presumption of adequacy afforded “street food.” See id. Despite a certain problem with the tripletas sandwich, noted below, we ultimately find ourselves wholly unable to rebut the presumption. Accordingly, we affirm.


The tripletas sandwich is composed, at its root, of three constituent parts: (1) the meat (i.e., the combination of roasted pork, skirt steak, and ham); (2) the bread; and (3) a sprinkling of potato sticks atop the dish. We address each in turn.

Meat. The meat was well textured, perfectly cooked, and salty. The combination offered a nice savoriness, but, overall, it was the saltiness that lingers in my memory. I imagine the saltiness would pair well with a cold beer, though that would present an obvious problem in the world of mobile gastronomy. (As Justices, we interpret the law. Changes in the law are, of course, best presented to the Legislature.) The sandwich does not offer, to my mind, any real complexity of flavor, but the meaty saltiness is addictive. I could easily have eaten another and another and another, but then I might explode. And then, dear reader, how would you know which truck fare to sample and which to avoid?

Bread. The pan sobao is a Puerto Rican lard-based roll. BLB’s tasted like a standard, supermarket Italian bread, but the roll was well-suited to its role in the sandwich. It was fresh, and, like a ShamWow, it soaked up the “signature dressing” and flavor of the meat.

Potato Sticks. The potato sticks were flawed. With the heat and moisture of the meat, they quickly lost any residual crunch. They were essentially flavorless. With no taste and no texture, they served no clear purpose. Luckily, because they were tasteless and textureless, they also failed to detract from the overall tripletas experience. As with the omission of lettuce and tomato, we find the inclusion of potato sticks to be harmless error, not requiring remand.

BLB’s tripletas sandwich is what street food should be. A simple, but substantial, finger food, best eaten en plein air while on the go. While we find the potato sticks to be a misstep, they are a harmless misstep in an otherwise enticing offering. We are unable to rebut the presumption of affirmance, and, therefore, BLB’s tripletas sandwich is


CATTLEYA, J., concurring.

My taste buds completely agree with the Chief Justice’s analysis of BLB’s tripletas. I write separately because one point in the Chief Justice’s opinion reveals his arrogance, his conceit, and his selfish disdain for the taste buds of others. Had he behaved in a more gentleman-like manner, I would have been spared the need to correct him on such a taboo subject: his death.

The Chief Justice writes:

I could easily have eaten another and another and another, but then I might explode. And then, dear reader, how would you know which truck fare to sample and which to avoid?

Sir, please allow me to settle your anxiety. If the Second Circuit – indeed, the American judiciary – survived the loss of the great Learned Hand, it would surely survive your gluttonous explosion. Truly, any legal mind with competent taste buds could easily fill your shoes and help readers decide “which truck fare to sample and which to avoid.” So, Chief Justice, do not fret, and do not stop yourself from eating “another and another and another” on our account.

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