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20 Catt. 2: In re Mediterranean Delights

2013 May 15

Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

I granted cartiorari to Mediterranean Delights (“MD”), a food cart in the Ballston neighborhood of Northern Virginia. MD promises “Homemade Mediterranean Delights right to your curb” and includes on its menu items like Mediterranean salad, gyros, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves. I opted for the lamb platter, served with rice, salad, and a side vegetable.

Mediterranean Delights

Mediterranean Delights


As usual, our first order of business is to determine whether MD’s lamb platter qualifies as street food. This court presumes that street food should be affirmed, shifting the burden of proof to the Cart to show that the case should be remanded to the mobile gastronomic enterprise for revision. If a dish is not sufficiently street in nature, then the mobile gastronomic enterprise bears the burden to prove that the dish is fit for curbside service. In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012).

What then is street food? This court 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, 2 Catt. 5 (2011). We have repeatedly held that meat-over-rice dishes like the one before the Cart today are not street food. See, e.g., In re NY Famous Kabob, 7 Catt. 3 (2012). Thus, no presumption arises in favor of MD’s lamb platter.

Lamb Platter with Chick Peas and Salad

Lamb Platter with Chick Peas and Salad


Although MD’s platter was similar to other lamb-and-rice platters available on the street, see, e.g., NY Famous Kabob, 7 Catt. 3; In re Ali Khan Express, 3 Catt. 5 (2011); In re Tasty Kabob, 3 Catt. 4 (2011), the dish nevertheless was satisfying. For $7, the customer receives lamb over basmati rice, salad, and a side vegetable. I was given a choice between green beans and chick peas, and I chose the latter.

When MD gave me a Styrofoam container full of food and I handed over my payment, I immediately noticed two things. First, MD’s lamb platter was a little cheaper than some others. For example, Tasty Kabob and Zesty Kabob each charge $9 for their platters. However, MD’s most immediate competition has comparable, even cheaper, prices. Metro Halal Food Cart down the block in Ballston charges $6 and NY Famous Kabob in Virginia Square charges $6.99. Second, MD’s Styrofoam container seemed slightly smaller than that used by other mobile vendors. The serving size was actually better suited for lunch service, leaving me satisfied but not stuffed. The larger platters are generally too much for me, and since I never have the willpower to save half for dinner, I usually feel too full afterwards. Still, although I didn’t want more food, I couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t getting the most bang for my buck.

What MD lacked in quantity, however, it made up with quality. The chunks of lamb were flavorful and moist and served over fluffy basmati rice. It was topped with three types of sauces: tzatziki, red, and mint. The cool tzatziki , hot red, and fresh mint sauces achieved a harmonious blend. My only complaint was that the lamb chunks were not bite-size and required cutting for easy eating, but MD provided only a fork and no knife. MD’s side salad was above average. In addition to the standard lettuce and tomatoes, the salad included onions and crumbled feta cheese and was finished off with a homemade Greek dressing. As a cheese lover, I must say that the inclusion of feta was a small but very nice touch. Finally, the chick peas were probably the tastiest I’ve had from a mobile gastronomic enterprise in the area. This side dish is often overlooked, resulting in something watery and tasteless, but not here. MD’s chick peas were well spiced with dark, earthy flavors like coriander and cumin. I usually treat this part of the platter as filler, but I savored it as much as everything else.


Compared with similar lamb platters from other mobile vendors, MD’s was not the largest or cheapest offering. However, the food was fresh and flavorful. Moreover, MD got the small details right, like topping off the side salad with a feta crumble and heavily spicing the often-overlooked chick peas.

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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