Saturday, February 3, 2007

Falafel is the New Ceviche

You'd think "once bitten, twice shy" for me when it comes to replicating my favorite foods outside of their natural surroundings (See: Ceviche), but alas, it's more like "twice bitten, maybe the next bite will be better."

It was a sunny afternoon earlier this week that I decided to make a combo bank-food run (there is a natural relationship there) near my Culver City workplace. I parked my car without feeding the meter, because I like to tempt fate and I give a silent victory call each time I return after a prolonged, unpaid absence and find my car sans ticket. Suck that, meter maid! Also, I just forget to plug the meter sometimes, because I can be kind of spacey when it comes to those kinds of things.

Anyways, after depositing the equivalent of a month and a half's worth of unemployment income into my account (the process by which I had to find the one, singular Chase ATM in ALL OF LOS ANGELES in order to withdraw the money from my New York State WorkForce card was a struggle, let me tell you), I strolled across the street to Daphne's Gyros. Mediterranean! I love Mediterranean food!

Let me preface by explaining that not only did I live in New York for a chunk of of time, but I also worked for a Jewish organization for a chunk of that chunk of time, so I have developed a sophisticated taste for hummus, falafel, tabouleh and their culinary kin. (Why I never pursued a food writing career path is beyond me...and you, as well, I'm sure...)

I scanned the menu...Yes! A falafel sandwich on pita! With...french fries? Okay, I'll take french fries. I would rather have an Israeli salad, but okay, Daphne's, I'll take the fries. (Strike one for authenticity, but I was hopeful.)

I waited and waited and the hostess finally called, "Shwantee?" Because my mother used to force me to do this as a child, I muttered a quick "Shawnte'" and grabbed my goodies.

As I approached my car, I saw an ominous figure...nofuckingwayametermaid!Shitshitshitshit! I tried to run over to my car and...tripped. In front of a patio full of lunchtime diners. Nice, Shwantee, nice. But, as I am a trooper, I brushed myself off, ignored the guy at Table 2 who whistled "Niiiiice, baaaaybaaaaay..." and made it to my car right before it was about to become victimized. Whew.

I put my blinkers on and, unable to resist, I tore into the takeout box. The fries were coated in paprika, but I didn't care about was the falafel that I wanted. I slowly unwrapped it....

...why is that tomato green? Did I order the Southern falafel? Hmmmm. Is that...a wedge of red onion in there? Like a quarter of an entire red onion? Okay, I can separate that out myself, I don't mind a D.I.Y. lunch. And....wait...what are THOSE???

Apparently, when they said "falafel" they meant "tiny, flat discs of burnt, greenish chickpeas." I tried a bite and until that moment, I never before considered that falafel could be considered "tough."

I wrapped it back up and drove straight to work. I will never eat another falafel in this town again.

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