Sunday, August 10, 2008

Veg Out: Surly Falafel

Let the grass of a nearby park be your table.

A discourse on the mighty falafel is not official until someone mentions the Falafel Nazi. Give them time and they will--a man can't make a delicious sandwich from a truck in this city without somebody noticing. Kostadinos Christios has been wrapping up falafel in his signature way - imagine a mad man playing a flute out of sheer love - for years now. His chariot is lined with garlic bulbs,various herbs, and a motley of customers. Some are careful to request their falafel without chicken, the way Christios serves it. Whispers of vegetarian. This is the only decision you get to make. From that moment on, special sauces drop onto your sandwich, those that you will only recognize of your own accord, by a wild-eyed man in a silver box on 20th and Market. If you ask about vegan sauces, he may throw something at you. He may take pity on you. It's unpredictable. This ain't no have-it-your-way.

Everything you know about falafel: hummus, tahini, the Maozification. Let it go.

The Falafel Man isn't even gruff. He gave me his big show and then told me to enjoy. Which I did, immensely, devouring his crisp fava in its metal jacket draped in beet sauce, loads of garlic, shredded veggies, and yes, grapes. As far as I knew, I didn't even like half of what he put on my pita, but it mingled and had its way. The cumin shoots right at you.

There's no doubt that the man is creative. Gone a bit mad. But $5? That's a friend.

The truck is open from 11-2pm, Kostadinos-time.
20th & Market


kevin said...

Oh yeah. I visited the Falafel Nazi last week for the first time. Craziness. He said something to me, and I nodded, but I have no idea what he said. Definitely the best and most unique falafel I have ever had though. Well worth the... wait and assorted intensities.

cmoore said...

You know, I've ordered falafel from the famed 20th-and-Market falafel cart twice. Both times I clearly specified "no chicken" -- and once I even caught him adding chicken and had him start over -- yet both times I had to pick hunks of chicken flesh out of my otherwise superb wrap. Hmm. Delicious. Fickle.

Mickie Poe said...

When I went, my coworker warned me not to make eye-contact with him. I wavered and we made eyes and he started a nonstop stream of job descriptions; different careers he had in NYC. Then he told my coworker that he would NOT enjoy his sandwich today when he ate it. No, he would enjoy it tomorrow.

We still aren't sure what he meant by that.