With all energy drained by the muggy hot weather and a late night at the office, I barely made it two steps into my parents’ apartment before leaving with a tote full of chopped up watermelon and cherries. I love their weekly food donations. They would’ve cleaned out their whole fridge for me if I had the strength to lug multiple grocery bags worth of food back home – a humid 5 blocks away.

Back in the apartment, I opened the fridge door to put away the fruits, caught a whiff of a bag of basil and came up with an idea – how about a watermelon and basil salad of some sort? I had a watermelon salad at Emporio that was amazing, not to mention incredibly refreshing, and figured this would be even better. What’s not to like about watermelon and basil?! A quick search on the internet turned up a nice suggestion to add mozzarella and balsamic syrup, and after a 10 minute preparation this morning, I was ready to pack up my lunch for the day.

A little brandy bottle of balsamic syrup, basil, and watermelon

Lunchtime rolled around and coworker Patrick and I set out to find some fresh mozzarella at one of the delis around soho. A quick stop at the buffet table to pick up a couple scraps of mixed greens and we returned to the office kitchen where I set up the salad.

The final product — deceptively delicious looking.

I laid the watermelon on top of the bed of mixed greens, tore up some mozzarella, sprinkled on the basil, and drizzled balsamic syrup over the top. Setting it up was easy enough, and the balsamic syrup took no time nor effort to make this morning, as it just needed to be simmering for a bit over the stove, long enough for the vinegar to thicken up. But the result was a mixture of strange flavors. Each bite was either too flavorful (balsamic syrup, which was very sweet) or not flavorful enough (watermelon and mozarella, increasingly mellow and nonexistent with each bite). Perhaps I’d forgotten to salt everything because after a couple of shakes, the overall taste did improve slightly, but it still tasted random and off putting.

Thumbs down! Consider this a lunch disaster!