What he’s having: The Mayor Menino Soy BLT from Clover, good enough to come from a truck
A weekly notebook about food during the Covid-19 shutdown. Remember, if you’re dining out, doing takeout or getting delivery, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.
Takeout: Clover Food Labs
Clover Food Labs pulled its food trucks and went storefront only in 2017. That move gave me pause, as I loved to pop up to a truck on my bike and grab a breakfast sandwich (with perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg and super sharp cheddar cheese) and jet. I’ve been adjusting, as has Boston since the loss of longtime Mayor Thomas Menino in 2014. Menino happened to stop by a Clover truck to try his first no-bacon BLT in June 2010, finishing it despite initial doubts; now the vegetarian-only fast food chain – started out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008 – celebrates the mayor with a commemoratively named soy BLT served in the eatery’s soft, warmed pita pocket. The win, besides the savory and richly marinated soy bacon strips, is the freshness of the crisp lettuce and perfectly ripe tomatoes; a BLT does not work if all the parts do not sing together in harmony. The amount of mayo is just right and, as you can suspect, the best part of the pocket is the near bottom where the mayo and juice from the tomatoes have commingled with the smoky bacon flavor. A great light lunch and an even better quick grab-and-go. I’ve long been a big fan of Clover’s Impossible sausage breakfast sando (the classic, but with a tasty, plant-based “meat” patty) and the Impossible meatball pocket, but the Menino BLT is my new Clover jam.
As far as pickup is concerned, I’ve been getting mine at the Harvard Square location, 1326 Massachusetts Ave., where the Covid precautions are dead on. Order online before or use the app from outside the store; only it’s only one person in the door at a time to pick up. When you enter, you come into a small, acrylic enclosed chamber with a rack where your order is waiting. Simple, safe and fast. (For inquiring minds the chain’s name comes from a puppet made by a the founder’s sister for a horse. Even without that nostalgic tidbit it’s a fitting name for a vegetarian eatery that tries to source its ingredients from local farms.)
Clover Food Labs (various locations)