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25 Catt. 1: In re Mediterranean Halal Food

2013 November 6
by CATTLEYA, J.

Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

On a recent brisk morning, I reported to the doctor’s office for my annual physical exam. Unlike the yearly check-ups for the President, the results of our check-ups are not routinely released to the public. So, I am happy to personally report that — despite the rigorous eating involved in my role as a Justice of this Supreme Cart — my good cholesterol is high and my bad cholesterol is low.

I was reveling in the news of my good health when I passed a new food cart on my way back to the court. Feeling like my clean bill of health had earned me any meal of my choosing, I approached the cart with excitement — and without any thought of the turkey sandwich in my lunch bag.

Mediterranean Halal Food

Mediterranean Halal Food

MEDITERRANEAN HALAL FOOD

The cart was Mediterranean Halal Food (“MHF”). It was set up near the Clarendon metro station, where it can be found Monday to Friday during lunch hours. MHF’s menu was simple: two meat choices (chicken or lamb) presented in three different ways (on a pita, over salad, or over rice). Regardless of your meat choice, gyros are $4.99, salad platters are $5.99, and rice platters are $6.99. Rice platters include a can of soda.

Before I could make a decision, the friendly faces inside the cart offered me a sample. I expected a hand to reach through the window with a toothpick sticking through a little piece of chicken or lamb — much like the way restaurants in food courts hand out samples of General Tso’s chicken on toothpicks. But what I received was a small bowl with cuts of lamb on the left and pieces of chicken on the right, all over a mound of rice. It was too generous to be called a sample. After finishing it, I placed a full order of lamb over rice.

TRUE STREET FOOD

This reviewing court has repeatedly held that lamb over rice is not “street food.” See, e.g., In re Mediterranean Delights, 20 Catt. 2 (2013); In re NY Famous Kabob, 7 Catt. 3 (2012). Because the dish under consideration today is not recognized as street food, MHF’s lamb over rice is not entitled to the presumption of affirmance by this court. In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012); In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011) (defining 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”). Instead, the dish must prove itself. And it does.

Lamb over Rice

Lamb over Rice

LAMB OVER RICE

Although I have tried many lamb over rice platters during my time on the Cart, I was surprised and impressed by MHF’s version. It had all the usual components (i.e., lamb, rice, a salad of iceberg lettuce and tomato, plus white and red sauces), but it executed them in a skilled and caring way.

The shaved lamb was flavorful, juicy, and tender. While I usually prefer thicker slices, the thinly shaved meat soaked up the white and red sauces perfectly (more on the sauces below). The portion of meat was beyond generous. It covered almost the entire top of my Styrofoam container.

Just as much thought was put into the rice. It was oily in the most decadent and mouthwatering way, and it was mixed in with very visible caraway seeds. I could have eaten bowls and bowls of that rice alone.

The details carried into the sauces. They held the right thickness and were not watered down. The white sauce was generously speckled with dill, and the red sauce had a real kick. The cool and spicy sauces made every bite a delectable torment, so much so that I ate long past the point of being full.

CONCLUSION

MHF’s lamb over rice is not just a lot of food; it’s a lot of good food at a bargain price. I will definitely return for more.

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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