21.9.09

The Hunt for Brigafood

Every 100 years, out of the deep mist, appears an enchanted Scottish village, or Indian food cart. And if you miss this magical moment, it shall be lost once again for 100 long, foodless turns of the calendar…

Call me Ishmael. Call me Tommy Albright. As long as you can find me Fojol! Fojol Brothers of Merlindia that is: a traveling Indian street food cart that bears the fictional moniker and serves up some incredible Indian grub to the working folks of Washington DC every hundred years when they appear out of the mist. Or so it seems.

This cart frustratingly bounces around DC, seemingly in a longer and more erratic orbit than I originally inferred when I was first told of the wonder of Fojol's food. The only clues as to their whereabouts are their extremely inconsistent and sparse updates of their Twitter page (on the day of only). Yet wherever their colorful truck, blaring hippie anthems to the surrounding streets and their patrons alike, happens to be, the word spreads like wildfire and the patrons arrive in swarms. The line quickly gets 20 or 30 deep or more and stays that way for the duration of that day's lunch.

My buddy Eric and I started searching for Fojol every day at lunchtime at least a month ago after we saw them one day in Farragut Square with an insane line. We were fools enough to bypass this alleged amazing experience and went elsewhere. After realizing our blunder we vowed to keep searching, every day at lunch, until we were as maniacally committed as Captain Ahab was to his quest for Moby Dick. But it would not elude us. Fortune struck just last Thursday when we were least expecting it. Fojol had returned to Farragut! Plus, we had noticed early and were able to get in line even before the word had completely spread. And NOW the magic would finally happen!

So simple though, was this magic. Fojol has four (seemingly variable) Indian dishes. Our day, it was chicken curry, buttered chicken, chickpeas and pumpkin. You can pick 1, pick 2 or pick 3, and they heap large amounts of each over basmati rice in successively larger biodegradable containers (with biodegradable plastic forks even) depending on your selection. I picked all but the pumpkin (sorry, had to play it safe: no gourd today) and was highly satisfied and impressed. It really was high quality Indian food, exploding with flavor, and in this context is just fantastic. It tastes amazing – it's why they're so highly reputed – but it's at least in part due to that sweet taste of victory for even making a Fojol lunch happen.

And the buzz was certainly in force. As the line grew and grew, we were hearing the whispers on the street, in our building, everywhere. Everyone wanted some of that hype. Did they desperately want one of their famous mango lassi popsicles? Did they yearn for some of the delicately flavored Indian fare, piled high? Or were they secretly and perhaps insanely obsessed with finding that little, musical street food truck before it faded into the mist of Farragut Square for another 100 years, or possibly forever? Or perhaps their nickname was Ahab and that was enough?

Severely mixed literary metaphors or not, there IS something to get excited about this lunchtime experience. So hunt with me. Mine starts again today.

…Or you could miss out on THE experience of well, the next HUNDRED years.

11 comments:

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