Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kailey's Box Lunch Tuna Rollwich

Trying to recapture one of my favorite parts of summers past!

When I was a kid, I had the good fortune of visiting my grandparents and other extended family up on Cape Cod. We'd go up for at least a few days every summer and enjoy the beaches, hiking trails, mini golf, local shops and - especially - the food. There's nothing like getting some fried fish after a day on the beach, or going to a lobster pool on the water where you can watch the sun go down over the marshes!

Unfortunately, my grandma sold the Cape house after my grandfather passed away, and it's been a while since I've gotten to enjoy some of my favorite Cape Cod treats. But as much as I miss the ice cream and fried shrimp, there's one thing I crave over everything else, and any attempts at recreating it just don't do it justice.

I'm speaking, of course, about the wraps at Box Lunch.

There was a lot to love about our summers at Cape Cod. One of my other favorite traditions was going out for ice cream at one of our many favorite ice cream shops. My grandfather always used to say he was working his way on eating his way through the extensive menu of one of our most frequently visited stores, but I remember him always forgetting where he'd left off last summer and repeating grapenut at least two or three times.

But I said it once and I'll say it again: the best thing to eat on Cape Cod were the wraps at Box Lunch, or "rollwiches" as the establishment calls them. They've got five locations in Massachusetts and used to have two in Connecticut. You can check them out on their website, which includes locations and a menu with their cleverly named rollwiches, which include the John and Priscilla Alden (with turkery and cranberry sauce) and Jaws, the sandwich that bites you back!

We first found out about the tiny restaurant chain thanks to a newspaper writer who talked about going with her family, and because we'd kept driving by the shopping center where the closest one set up shop. After my mom read the article, we decided we might as well give it a shot and see what the fuss was all about!

I probably could have eaten at Box Lunch every day if people had been willing to make the trip (the closest location was a tiny bit of a drive), and while some of my other extended family members didn't always seem to fully appreciate the magic here, my parents and siblings definitely got it. It was always a good day when we either got to eat in the cramped little store or brought the sandwiches back to the house to enjoy in the backyard or down by the lake. We frequently lament that there 

What makes these so good? It's a little hard to explain, as some of the sandwiches are just so simple. I'm sure part of it is nostalgia and novelty - it's not something we've been able to get or recreate exactly the same way back home - but the other part is just that it's very, very good. The pita wraps are sturdy but light enough to feel like you're not choking down an sock with cheese and meat inside, and the ingredients are fresh, yummy, and usually paired in interesting ways.

The main reason I don't think we can make this exactly the same way at home? They make their own pita!

So, slightly embarrassing confession time: there is basically no recipe to share with you guys this time. My favorite sandwich on the Box Lunch menu was this: tuna fish with some mayo wrapped in a pita wrap.

That's it.

It doesn't look like they serve that exact sandwich anymore - it used to be an option under the kid menu, and I think was just called The Tuna or something similarly simple - but it lives on in my heart.

Again, this is the world's simplest sandwich/wrap/whatever in basically the history of the world, and the only thing you really need is canned tuna, mayonnaise and a wrap to package it up in. That's literally it.

But serve that with a cold Barq's root beer and some Cape Cod potato chips, and you are enjoying the food of the gods.

Okay, I bet literally everyone reading this thinks I'm crazy after saying something like that about an insanely simple tuna salad shoved in a pita wrap, but sometimes, simple really just hits the spot. I was a fairly picky eater as a kid, so I was always reluctant to try the more adventurous options on the menu, but then this just became the definition of summer to me, and I couldn't bring myself to deviate even slightly from this ritual.

It's way too far away for me to drive to just for a sandwich these days, so I have no idea when or if I'll ever get to have the authentic, yummy sandwich I've been craving again. And alas, my home made Box Lunch rollwich didn't exactly live up to my memories of the delicious ones I used to enjoy on the Cape, but it came close enough to scratch that itch a little. I'm already considering trying my hand at recreating some of the other sandwiches! After all, as an adult who realizes she likes avocados, I'm kind of sad I missed out on the Guac, and I'm a bit of a sucker for anything named after Jaws...

Hope you all didn't mind the very sentimental and semi pointless blog post! I promise the next one will include a recipe that involves a little more effort to throw together.

At least we still have Cape Cod chips...


  1. Aaah...the Guac!!! My all time favorite Rollwich. I would say it is worth a trip to the Cape just for that. The combination of avocado, jack cheese, jalapeno, tomato, all melty and gooey just can't be beat. And yes, sadly it is tough to find a substitute for the actual wrap.
    We have some nice memories from the Cape and I am grateful for our times there. Thanks Grandpa B and Grandma B!

    1. I would be up for a trip to the Cape just to visit Box Lunch! Just say the word and I'm there. :)