Why was the watermelon so sad?

It was feeling melon-choly.

A few weekends ago, there was a food truck festival in North Haven. I had just seen the movie Chef with Jon Favreau and was romanticizing food trucks (and really craving something delicious). Naturally, I really wanted to go, scope out the food truck scene, and get some tasty treats.

It was all very last minute, and not well planned out, and basically I ended up dragging my friend Anne along with me and we made a day of it.

When we arrived at the fairgrounds where the festival was being held, I couldn’t believe how packed it was. There were lines of cars and lines of people. Lines. Lines. More Lines. Everywhere there were lines. It was great to see so much support (the festival was benefiting a local food pantry).

Our plan of attack was to walk past all the trucks, scope out what they were offering, and then pick our favorites to share–that way we could try more of everything. It was a wonderfully hot July day, so our first stop was the shaved ice truck. We got a mixture of mango and lemon ice. It was refreshing.

No longer withering away from the heat, we continued on our journey past several taco trucks, a cannoli truck, quite a few bbq trucks, two pizza trucks (with wood-fired brick ovens attached), and many more besides. We had decided we didn’t want standard fare…no pizza, no hamburgers, nothing we could get all the time. There was an ice cream cookie sandwich truck that looked interesting, but we bypassed it in favor of the more savory options.

A crazy green Gypsy truck caught my eye. Anne got in line there, and I got in line for something else that was very disappointing (and it was the LONGEST LINE EVER). Let that be a lesson to you: just because the line is long, doesn’t mean it’s worth the wait.

Once Anne joined me in line, she brought with her a vegan falafel (which was amazing). This was not your standard falafel, it had this spicy kimchi and fresh veg on it, with this cool yogurt-based sauce. It was glorious. I loved it. It was just the right amount of spicy: the kind that lingers.

She also brought this watermelon lavender drink, which was divine. It was fruity, sweet, floral, delicious. We downed that drink way too fast. It was wonderful. I wanted a gallon of it. It wasn’t overly sweet, and the lavender was just hinted at. So good.

While we ate and drank, we got to make friends in line, and rock around with a very cool Rockabilly band called The Henchmen. Then, bellies full, we decided to go for a hike up Sleeping Giant, albeit a slow hike. It was a great day.

I knew when I got home, I would have to attempt my own version of the watermelon lavender drink. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Whenever someone asked me how the festival was, that’s the first thing I told them.

I invited Anne over for breakfast and tried it out. While mine came out a little sweeter than the original, it’s on the right track. It would make a fantastic summer cocktail; think vodka, or a chilled white wine.

It’s great with a little seltzer splashed in–your very own good(ish) for you soda.

Or drink it on it’s own.

Give it a try. Especially on a warm, sunny day. With friends. In the sun.

Watermelon Lavender Juice

Ingredients

 4 1/2 to 5 c pureed watermelon
1/2 c sugar
1 c water
1 tbsp lavender flowers
juice 3
Method

  1. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, add the water, sugar, and lavender.
    juice 4
  2. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer 5 minutes.
    juice 8
  3. Remove heat and cover for 10 minutes.
  4. If you haven’t already pureed your watermelon, do so.
    juice 5juice 6juice 7
  5. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour syrup mixture through, straining out lavender flowers. Discard the flowers.
  6. Strain the pureed watermelon through the strainer as well, removing the un-liquified pulp. (You could save this for granita or just eat it….it’s pretty yum.)
    juice 9
  7. Mix until well-combined. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  8. Mix your preferred  amount of juice with alcohol, ice, a squirt of lemon, or on its own.
  9. Sip. Savor. Repeat. juice 10
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