The time has come! After many months of planning, organizing, building, and manufacturing, our shipping container is almost ready to open! Our contractors are still putting the finishing touches on the container over the next few days, but we're so psyched to finally get open and serve food that we are just going to make. it. happen. soon.
So we're planning for menu testing and practice this Monday - if you're not yet following the Mei Mei by Design Twitter account yet (@meimeibydesign), this would be a good time to start. We'll be giving away a few free lunches on Monday to our followers and that's where you'll find menu updates, specials, events, promotions and more. If you work in the Innovation Design Building or nearby, don't miss out!
Now a few words on the menu: we've had to re-tool our planned menu a few times based on the container setup. Even though it's a teeeeeny bit more spacious than the food truck (and has heat! wahhoo!), it doesn't drive back to the restaurant every day to reload and get more food. So the menu had to be designed to be prepped and cooked almost exclusively in the container. We also wanted to create dishes that made sense for the people working in the IDB because we want you to come eat with us often. And lastly, we based the menu on the very best ingredients from our local farm partners who concentrate on growing great vegetables and delicious grains, and producing excellent cheeses and tofu and other items.
What this means is that the Mei Mei by Design menu isn't going to look like the food truck menu or the restaurant menu. We don't have a griddle to cook hundreds of Double Awesomes, and we don't have the room to roll dumplings. We don't even have a fryer for sweet corn fritters. Instead, we're going for a fresh & local vibe, with about 95% of ingredients from our partner farms. Which is why the names of the bowls on our starting menu all feature a farm name. We'll tell you more about them as you read on!
Our first bowl is The Four Star, named for an awesome sustainable family farm in Northfield MA.
The L'Etoile family grows fantastic non-GMO whole grains that are richly flavored and full of nutrients. Plus, growing whole grains is great for the soil.
We feature their triticale in this salad, which is a wheat-rye hybrid, as well as roasted sausage, russet potatoes, dried cranberries, arugula, crispy shallots, and a tangy cranberry dressing. Perfect for a New England fall. (Note: we've done some menu testing and revising since these photos were taken, so you might see some small differences!)
We love their feta cheese on the Magical Kale Salad, and have used their excellent grilling cheese and ricotta in many dishes in the restaurant. This bowl features their crumbly queso fresco along with crumbled chorizo, russet potatoes, baby kale, yellow eyed-beans, crispy shallots, all tossed in an umami apple dressing.
Gotta have bacon on the menu, and of course we named it after our favorite pig farm in all the land, The Piggery.
Run by Brad and Heather, this butcher shop/farm is where Irene worked during college and they raise phenomenal pastured pigs and make delicious cured meat products. All the meat on the menu is from their farm in Ithaca, NY - go visit if you're ever in the area!
Their cottage bacon is perfect with local sweet corn, pickled mushrooms, garlic panko and a spinach-lettuce mix with a sweet tomato dressing. Mmm yum.
Their soybeans are all grown in New England and they put a ton of effort in creating a pure and sustainable product. Hei Wa means peace or harmony in Japanese, and that's how we feel when we eat this salad with tofu cubes, kimchi, ocean kelp, brown rice, baby kale, crispy shallots and garlic peanut dressing.
The Northern Girl is named for a Maine company that supports a lot of small farms by helping to process their produce for restaurants and retailers. We love what they do: 'The premise is simple: sell the top notch percentage of each of our farmer’s crops on the fresh market, and process the culls and surplus to feed locavores the rest of the year. Its the kind of thinking that keeps farms in business...'
We're using ruby red beets from them in this bowl, alongside Narragansett Creamery sea salt feta, pea shoots, arugula, triticale, pepitas, and a smoked maple soy ginger dressing.
Last but not least is The Full Bloom, our salad made with bee pollen, fresh mozzarella, pea shoots, arugula, triticale, and a honey buttermilk dressing.
Our honey and bee pollen are brought to you by Full Bloom Apiary in North Franklin, CT. This salad is fresh and springy with a great hit of floral notes from the multicolored flecks of pollen.