March 5th, 2011


Cookies are only cooked once

I had such a good roommate my first year as an undergraduate that we voluntarily roomed together again the next year. We've stayed in touch, and, now that she lives en route from Des Moines to relatives, I've been able to stop by and see her every year or two.

And today, a care package arrived in the mail for us, from her. Full of cookies. Rare, imported American Pepperidge Farm variety packs and Girl Scout cookies! See? She really is a very thoughtful, wonderful person.

In unrelated news, the first daffodils bloomed in the garden this week. If it weren't so chilly, I would think it was spring.


At first, it was a hamburger truck. Back then, the Meatwagon had enough buzz that I started following its updates in the hopes of some day intersecting it. Then the truck was stolen. What could have been sheer disaster for such a small-scale business was saved by someone's bright idea: a pop-up restaurant in a room over a closed pub (under renovation) down near New Cross Gate. And so #meateasy was born.

It's due to have approximately two months of life, so opportunity was limited. Having heard that it fills up so fast, it can take two hours to put in an order, we were advised to go at 5:30, right when the doors open. That's how C. and I came to be sitting on mix-and-matched chairs in a cheerful paper-and-chalkboard decorated room lit two-thirds by candlelight with slips of papers numbering 4 and 5 in our hands tonight. Those valuable slips of paper entitled us to order three items each (not including drinks) when our numbers were called on the sensible PA system whose throttled siren breaks through the buzziness of the rapidly crowding-up space.

Our drinks, in jam jars, are from the separate bar on the side which features an impressive array of ingredients. I particularly admired the half-prepped pineapple and the relatively unusual array of cordials. My drink is improvised, a fruity mojito with crushed raspberries; C.'s is a nicely well-rounded G&T. Soon, the wait for the bar looks substantial too; good call getting there so early.

We're so early in the evening that it's not a long wait, either to order, or for our food to arrive on their paper plates, delivered to the table. My bacon cheeseburger is a lovely burger, perfectly cooked, meaty and a little juicy, but the bacon is, almost inevitably, wide, tougher slab bacon and only really noticeably added a little toughness to the burger. C. praises the chili cheeseburger.

We've skipped fries (lackluster earlier reviews) and gone with buffalo wings, mac n' cheese, and onion rings for our shared sides. Buffalo wings! How I pined for them when I was living in York. These are aren't quite classic, but they're close and, more to the point, they're good, well-seasoned wings with a touch of spice and piquancy. The mac n' cheese is straightforward, a solid pot rendition (i.e. no crunchy top), and is the only dish which comes in something other than paper. I should have had the onion rings when they were newly delivered: by the time I tried one, it had lost its first delicacy of still-warm grease, but were still good renditions of thick-cut ones, easy to eat and at one with its crust (instead of slithering free of it).

By the time we left, it was all of 6:30. Spare pockets of standing space were jammed with the hovering 20-and-30-something crowds, gratefully receiving a spare table. The local mobile phone network was jammed up with users, and we'd had quite a nice dinner.

It's only due to be open for another two to four weeks so go now if you're going to go at all.