I spent this past weekend eating my way through Chicago on a girls’ trip, dining on Mediterranean lamb and chorizo breakfast hash and drinking $15 vodka mules out of a can. After recovering from a weekend of debauchery and financial ruin, where does one look for a transitional dish to gently push oneself back into the daily grind of ever-professional Lansing? While “cleansing” is a strong term, I was looking for something fresh, not too pricey and different from my old standbys. Zooming in and out on Google Maps, combing through establishments I hadn’t tried before, I came across MexiTreats and Taqueria in its relatively new location on the south side.
Photos posted by diners of increasingly elaborate fruit cups made me stop and scroll. Then, I stopped in. I ordered a pint of cantaloupe that was dressed in chili powder and honey sauce and tasted of strawberry rhubarb. After squeezing a slice of lime into the mix and taking a bite, I thought of last summer’s trip to Chicago, when I got a fruit cup from a vendor at the beach.
This simple treat is a mainstay in many other cities, but for the uninitiated, Mexican fruit cups, or vasos de fruta, pack a flavor profile that’s tangy, sweet, citrusy, a little earthy from the honey and even a little sour! They’re also a little smoky and a tiny bit spicy. Once I tried one, I knew I would never look at those fruit cups at Meijer in the same way.
I ate half of my cup from MexiTreats, then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. When I came back to it, the flavors were even more concentrated. The sour lime mixed perfectly with the citrus flavor, balanced against the backdrop of the mild but freshly ripened cantaloupe slices. And this was the simplest fruit cup the restaurant offers!
My dish, along with an order of delicately prepared and perfectly creamy Elote that was served on a stick, made for an excellent midday snack that banished my winter blues and gave me a fresh outlook on my happy little town. (Take that, Nancy Kaffer). Trying to compare the culinary offerings of Lansing with a city that famously worships an enormous bean turns out to be unnecessary. MexiTreats brings more than the usual taqueria experience — and its spicy fruit cup was a welcome pop of color on my palate this time of year.
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