Taste Test

An MIT grad’s test kitchen in the parking lane

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ou might not notice the unmarked white box truck parked along the side of the road in Kendall (and, in the summer, outside South Station in Dewey) Square and elsewhere around town, but you should seek it out. That’s because the Clover Food Lab is an unconventional test kitchen for a new kind of fast food—local, fresh, and organic—run by a former MIT materials scientist and a chef who worked at the famous French Laundry in California. What began as fast food on wheels now also has a permanent home in Harvard Square, serving totally organic, completely compostable, and absolutely delicious food. The simple, white-walled, two-story space, whose only decorations are instructions on blue duct tape, serves the same menu that you’ll find on the truck. You still place your order on an iPod touch, and everything is served up equally fast, but you’ll stay out of the elements. A must try, the chickpea fritter pita packs a lot of flavor into a falafel-style sandwich with red cabbage and carrots on top. You’ll even get nutrition advice (“Don’t eat dessert with every meal”) and instead of a soda, choose from the seasonal selection of fresh vegetable and fruit juices, including rhubarb apple lemon juice. Another secret? Check the website for daily discounts, or, if you prefer stationery eating, its growing number of spinoff restaurant locations. Arpie and Tebsherany

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Growing or raising food accounts for only one fifth of the energy used in its production. The rest goes toward transporting, processing, packaging, and refrigerating it. Transportation alone accounts for 11 percent of food-related carbon emissions.

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