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16 Catt. 3: In re OoH DaT ChickeN

2013 January 23
by JEREMY, C.J.

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

Today, we grant cartiorari to review the combination of OoH DaT ChickeN’s (“ODC”) 1/4 dark meat, rice, and basil coleslaw.

OoH DaT ChickeN

OoH DaT ChickeN

I. “STREET FOOD”

We must first consider whether this combination constitutes “street food,” as we have defined that term. Under our jurisprudence, where a mobile gastronomic enterprise’s offering is found to be “street food,” there is a presumption that the offering should be affirmed absent convincing evidence to the contrary. See In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012). We have defined street food to be “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.” See In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011).

In the present case, we are confronted by the combination of a bone-in chicken leg and thigh; long-grain rice; and seasoned, shredded cabbage. The jasmine rice and shredded cabbage are clearly meant to be eaten with forks. Therefore, they cannot properly be considered “street food.” But is this finding controlling as to the entire combination, where, as here, the principal part of the combination—the bone-in chicken—is arguably finger-food?

We have not affirmatively decided this question. In a line of cases, my sister has found that Indian food platters including easily-manipulated naan does not constitute true “street food.” See In re BD Heartily, 16 Catt. 2 (2013); Salt and Pepper Grill, 8 Catt. 2 (2012). However, in both cases, the principal component of the dish was not amenable to being eaten with one’s fingers. In my brief opinion in Kababji Food Truck, 15 Catt. 2 (2012), I summarily found that the combination of a sandwich, labneh, and baba ghannouj constituted “street food.” But in that case, both side dishes are intended to be eaten with pita, not with a fork.

In this case, I find that so long as the principal component of a food truck combination platter is reasonably considered “street food,” the presumption of affirmance should apply. After all, while we ultimately affirm ODC’s combination based, in part, on its rice and coleslaw, neither alone provided the grounds for granting cartiorari. Because we granted cartiorari to ODC for its chicken, not for its rice and coleslaw, their presence alongside the chicken should not shift the burden of proof in this case.

Accordingly, the burden is on this Cart to demonstrate that remand is warranted. We find we are unable to do so and therefore affirm.

1/4 Chicken Combo

1/4 Chicken (Dark Meat) Combo                               with Rice and Basil Coleslaw

II. CHICKEN

ODC laudably prepares its whole chickens on spits within the truck. The patron is then offered the choice of a quarter chicken (white or dark meat), half chicken, or whole chicken. As we had several cases to adjudicate on the day we heard oral argument, we opted for the quarter chicken. As the flavor of dark meat is stronger and more nuanced than that of white meat, we opted for the dark meat. For $8.00, the quarter dark meat chicken is accompanied by long-grain rice and the patron’s choice of side. These patrons opted for the basil coleslaw. The merits of the rice and coleslaw are discussed below.

The chicken was perfectly cooked—fully cooked yet fully moist. The skin of the chicken was spectacular. While not entirely crispy, it was seasoned beautifully. Having sampled the offerings of one El Pollo Rico, the Justices of this Cart have high standards when it comes to simply prepared chicken. See In re Tasty Kabob, 3 Catt. 4 (2011). However, in the present case, I would find those high standards to be met, whether applying or hypothetically withholding application of the presumption of affirmance noted above.

As a side note, ODC supplied a rather sweet, presumably fruit-flavored sauce for the chicken. We have consistently voiced our distrust of fruit-based sauces. See In re Pedro and Vinny’s, 9 Catt. 2 (2012); In re Doug the Food Dude, 5 Catt. 3 (2012); In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011). This case is no exception and, as expected, the sauce was not to our liking. Luckily, ODC’s chicken is more than sufficiently flavorful on its own and so no partial remand is warranted.

III. SIDES: RICE AND COLESLAW

The combination included long-grain rice. The rice was flavorful (perhaps containing bits of spinach or sorrel or some other leafy green) and well prepared. It included crispy bits, as in a paella or pilaf.

The coleslaw was “basil coleslaw” and appeared to be shredded cabbage tossed with pesto. It was fresh, refreshing, and paired nicely with the chicken.

V. CONCLUSION

For the reasons noted above, this case is

AFFIRMED.

CATTLEYA, J., concurring.

Though he be but longwinded, the Chief Justice is right. I write separately on the issue of the sauce, which the Chief Justice describes only as a “fruit-flavored sauce.” For readers who may like fruit-flavored sauces or who may want to know on which fruit the sauce was based, I offer a few more words (but just a few). It tasted to me like a sweet and sour mango sauce. Although it was not to my liking, I think I would have ignored any sauce that ODC served on the side. The chicken was so beautifully cooked that any condiment would have ruined it for me.

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