What was in my falafel sandwich today:
pita – perfect texture, did not fall apart
lettuce – crispy and fresh
onions – sauteed
falafel balls – perfectly fried, crunchy on the outside, tender and still warm on the inside; garbanzo bean texture goodness
eggplant – cut into strips and sauteed
white sauce – tahini-infused
hot sauce – quite hot, kind of tastes like gasoline – but, you know, good – and burns going down the throat; prevents me from tasting the rest of the sandwich
I’ve enjoyed two falafel carts in the city: Moshe’s on 46th and 6th, and Alan’s Falafel at 140 Broadway. Both serve their falafels in pocket bread; both perfectly cook their falafel; both are relatively cheap. Moshe’s offers two sizes of sandwiches – small and large, and the large is the better value at $4.50, but it’s enormous. Alan charges a mere $3 for his sandwich, and it’s a pretty good size. Sometimes he includes steamed vegetables and sometimes he’ll even throw in homemade pita chips. He also offers a falafel platter for $5 that comes with baba ganoush and other stuff. I’ve never gotten the platter, because that’s just way too much food.
I never had falafel until I moved to New York. My first falafel experience was Moshe’s, and that set the standard, right there. I’ve tried other places, but in my falafel gustatory journey, only Moshe and Alan have pleased my palate and my stomach. Moshe probably doesn’t remember me, since I work downtown, but Alan and I are now pretty good buds. He always asks if I want hot sauce. At first I would say just a little, but now I go all out and say yes PLEASE. He actually pointed at me and winked today. Then, if I’m eating at my desk, once I take a bite and swallow, I reach for the dust blaster and spray it in my mouth to cool down my throat.
Once every couple of weeks, I visit this friend just outside of my work building, I pay him some money, and he delivers the goods. He’s really nice about it. He doesn’t tell me to bring my friends, his business is pretty … busy. He always has long lines leading to his cart window. One has to wonder if he puts an addictive substance in his smashed garbanzos. Other than olive oil, that is.
Falafel is now a significant part of my life. Falafel has sustained quite a few afternoons for me. Falafel has comforted me. Falafel has given me love. And sometimes indigestion.