Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Tale of Two Falafels

Taïm – Falafel Bliss in the Village

By Mrs. Dine O Mite

Tucked away in a side street in Greenwich Village you can find a wee little restaurant called Taïm that’s serving up little fried pieces of falafel heaven.

In case you didn’t know, Taïm stands for “tasty” in Hebrew. Their menu is small, but right off the bat you’re faced with some difficult choices…do you go with the green, red or harissa falafel? I chose the green, filled with cilantro, parsley and mint, in addition to the obligatory chick peas.

These falafel pitas are packed with goodies…smooth hummus, tahini, Israeli salad (which includes tomatoes, cucumbers, parsely in a lemon mint dressing) and my personal favorite, the pickled (or sweet and sour) cabbage. For good measure, I had them add some Moroccan carrots, made with garlic, cumin and olive oil. The pitas are not too doughy or bland. They’re just right, with a bit of crispiness too them.

All I can say is that it was so good, I went back for more the next day…all those choices in New York City and I couldn’t resist having another falafel at Taïm! My only misstep on day 2 was getting a side of eggplant instead of the carrots. Don’t get me wrong, the eggplant salad was yummy, but the portion was way too big for me, It’s much better suited for sharing or having as a meal itself.

I tend to be a creature of habit, and if I lived in the Village, I’d be back almost daily, sampling each and every falafel, sabich and hummus sandwich combination I could imagine.

I’ll never settle for another falafel served with lettuce, tomato and tahini…what a cop out. Taïm has set the bar for all future falafel encounters!

Click on the link below to find out how I first discovered this place.

Taïm on Urbanspoon

Maoz - A Different (in a good way) Type of Falafel Restaurant

Fresh off the heels of my nirvana-like falafel experience at Taïm in the Village, I headed to Philly to see some old friends. My best food obsessed buddy, Cynthia, was the one who introduced me to my first falafel love, Maccabeam’s, a few years ago.

This time around, Cynthia was raving about the new joint in town, Maoz. Born out of Amsterdam, this fast food chain is a sort of falafel buffet/smorgasbord. You start off with your basic falafel and pita, and then you have salad bar of fixins you can add…pickled eggplant, cabbage, carrots, salsa, tahini, hummus, tomatoes, the list goes on and on and on, so much so that you have to be careful here, it’s easy to go overboard. In fact, my friend said she put so many toppings into her pita one time that it busted!

What I like about this place is the variety of toppings and that it’s vegetarian friendly. I’m not saying I’m all vegetarian, but I am allergic to chicken, so right off the bat, that eliminates a lot of options for me. Your pita is what you make of it, you are the master of your own falafel satisfaction and if you don’t get it right, you can always try again the next day.

Maoz beats any fast food chain hands down. Their restaurants are primarily in Europe, but U.S. locations are beginning to sprout up (NYC and Philly). It’s fresh, it’s good and I hope it catches on like wildfire in the U.S..

Maoz Falafel on Urbanspoon

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