When I first moved to New York City, I lived blocks away from Mamoun’s Falafel on MacDougal St. I could get a hot and fresh falafel for $1.50 or go crazy and get the falafel/hummus combo for $2.00. I was a vegetarian at the time, so a cheap and tasty sandwich I could get as late as 5 am was most welcome.
For years Seattle was a vast wasteland for falafel. I finally discovered Zaina on 3rd Ave and that was at least reasonable. Then that location closed, but it reappeared in Belltown. In fact, the Belltown joint is like a block from Flying Lab, so falafel problem solved, right? Well, not quite. I’ve eaten at the new Zaina a few times and while their food is pretty good, I keep getting cold falafel. The cook wouldn’t make it hot, just scoop it out a basket cooked who knows when. This is all too common in Seattle for reasons I can’t fathom. Falafel should be served hot, so it’s crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. The otherwise excellent Cedar’s in the U District also serves it cold.
On recent trips to Georgetown Nicole and I noticed a yellow falafel truck parked near our yoga studio. I was intrigued, so we finally made it down there to try it out this week. The Hallava Falafel Truck is apparently run by just one dude and he serves only two things: falafel and schawarma sandwiches. We got one of each and headed home to eat them. It was hard not to tear into them in the car because they smelled great.
Now these are not traditional sandwiches. Hallava puts in some really interesting fixings like beet relish, peppers, and zucchini tomato spread. I did not see any hot sauce at the truck and lamented that until we tasted the sandwiches and realized they already had some spice going on. The falafel was prepared fresh and was hot and delicious. The schawarma was tasty as well. It’s different than Mamoun’s but in a really good way. And the truck parks in front of the 9 Lb Hammer on weekend nights. I predict many visits in the future.
I think it is because a number of the newer places try to use “healthier” cooking oils, which make it tricker to get the heat just right.
What made you stop being a vegetarian?