Tag Archives: Falafel

I’ll eat whatever for dinner, just order anything

I get so indecisive sometimes, I can’t make up my mind about anything, even the simplest of decisions, like last night, my wife and I are trying to figure out dinner, she’s like, “What do you want?” and I’m like, “I don’t know, anything’s good I guess, whatever you want,” and she says, “Sushi?” and I’m like, “Sushi? Didn’t we just have sushi last week?” and I’m like, “Yeah, I guess, but it feels like we just had it,” and she says, “Yeah, well you had pizza for lunch and dinner yesterday, why can’t we have sushi separated by a whole week?”

And I can already tell that I’ve f’ed up, me being the one telling her we could order “whatever, anything she wanted,” but she doesn’t bring it up right away, I know she will, eventually, if I can’t decide on something, but she suggests, “Indian?” and I don’t know, I kind of just stare off into space, like thinking it over in my head, but it’s not even that I don’t want Indian, it’s that I don’t have any feelings for it whatsoever, like her saying the word Indian registered in my head, I heard her say it, but it didn’t spark anything inside me, neither good nor bad, and so I couldn’t respond with anything, I could only continue to stare, to zone out, maybe if I just completely ignored it she’d suggest something else.

“Rob? Indian?” and I need to respond, the best I can get out is, “Eh. I don’t know,” and now I know it’s coming, she’s going to get fed up, I’d be fed up, if I asked her what she wanted for dinner, and she pushed all onus of responsibility my way, of course I’d get a little annoyed if she started vetoing all of my decisions.

But I can’t commit. Do I want Indian? I don’t think so. Even sushi wouldn’t have been terrible, but I had already issued a complaint, she interrupts my thought process, “OK, so no sushi, no Indian,” and here would have been a good time to let her in on what was going through my head, “Well,” I could have been like, “It’s not like I couldn’t eat sushi,” but I thought better of it, we were already too far into this that if I had backtracked on the sushi, that would have been it, sushi for dinner.

“Mexican?” and I love Mexican, but the Mexican place by us is so heavy, so at least I have something to say here, I tell her, “That Mexican place is so heavy …” and she rolls her eyes, I don’t want to put off her suggestion entirely, so I add, “But I like it. It’s a great Mexican place. Just really heavy. Do you really feel like eating something so heavy?” and again, I think I got too busy defending my initial reaction, because sure Mexican is heavy, but now that I thought about it, I wouldn’t mind eating something heavy.

“Actually, Mexican sounds pretty good,” but she’s already been swayed by my comment, “No, you’re right, I don’t really feel like eating anything that heavy,” which is my own fault, I set myself up for that one. But now I couldn’t get the taste of those tacos out of my head, “But what about those chorizo nachos?” I try to tempt her, and she pauses, but I can tell it’s going to be dismissed, “No, maybe next time. What about falafel?”

And now we’re swinging the other way, all because of my heavy comment. Note to self: unless I’m really set on not eating something for dinner, don’t describe it as heavy. I like falafel, but, “Honey, that’s not really a dinner,” which, I don’t even know what that means, but it’s the best I could have come up with without giving her a minute to collect her thoughts, a desperate move on my part to try and avoid what I knew was coming next, an exasperated, “OK, so you tell me that you’ll eat anything, that it’s whatever I choose, right?”

There it is. “Right,” I tell her, “So let’s just get Mexican, you said it, obviously because you want it, right? You want it, I want it, let’s get Mexican,” and there’s a pause, I think that she’s considering it, but I’m mistaken, that face isn’t one of consideration, it’s one of apprehension, “But,” and I know it’s not going to happen, “It’s just so … heavy.”

And then I think, well, sushi wouldn’t be terrible, I could eat sushi. So I go, “You know what? Let’s just have sushi. You wanted sushi, so let’s get it,” and she’s like, “Are you sure?” and I should just be a grown up here and be happy with the fact that after all of my indecisiveness we’ve actually come to an agreement, but I can’t help myself, there are selfess points to be earned here, I could use this in the future, I say, “Well, I mean, I’ll get it … if that’s what you want. I can eat sushi,” and she looks at me and smiles and says, “Thanks hun,” and I’m like, “No problem. I’m a nice guy.”

I’m always down for a snack

The other day I was running an errand in a different part of the city and I passed by this tiny little deli, a really nondescript store, one of those countless little sandwich, soda, cigarette places littered across the city. I’d usually say it’s a bodega, but this definitely wasn’t a bodega, because, and I had to do a double take here, there was a picture of a falafel sandwich on the door. I’ve been really into falafel lately, and I find that all of the sudden it’s everywhere. Or maybe it’s not all of the sudden, maybe it’s just one of those things where as soon as I’m aware of something, I see it everywhere. Anyway, I’m always down for a snack, so I go inside.

I could tell the guy behind the counter was the owner just by the way he said hello. Like he really meant it, hello, welcome to my store, please spend money here. Hourly workers don’t really give a shit if you’re there or not. And most of the time at stores like this you’re only in to buy a drink or a scratch-off. If I were behind the counter I’d be so zoned out into space I wouldn’t have any reaction even if a gang of armed robbers stormed in. I’d just open the register and step aside.

So with the pleasantries out of the way, I asked for a falafel. The guy’s face lit up. “Falafel, eh?” I looked up at the board. Like any deli in the city, there were like a hundred things listed on the menu. Literally every single dish or sandwich that ever existed was written somewhere up there. And this place was maybe five by ten feet. Like really tiny.

He started scooping the falafel into balls while the oil heated up. He started questioning me, slowly.

“So, you like falafel?”

“Yeah, I really do.”

“Where do you live? Where do you buy your falafel?”

“I live in Queens. There’s a truck on Broadway that I go to.”

“How much do you pay for your falafel?”

“Three dollars for a pita sandwich, six for a platter with rice.”

And then things took a turn.

“Falafel and rice? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“Really? Huh.”

“You eat your falafel with rice? I’ve never in my life eaten falafel with rice. Not even once.”

“Huh. Yeah they sell it with basmati rice and salad and …”

“Salad. Yes. But rice? I cannot even conceive of falafel and rice. It makes absolutely no sense to me.”

At this point I was getting a little uncomfortable. My falafel cart in Queens always has a line down the block. They have a trophy that they display, the Vendy, and they’ve won it every year for the past five years. I’m not sure how competitive this Vendy qualification process is, but whatever, I’m not an authority, and the trophy looks legit.

But this guy’s now staring at me, right in the eye, and he’s moving closer. Falafel and rice, never, really? Am I ordering this wrong? Have I been ordering this the wrong way all of this time? Do the guys at the falafel truck think the same thing about me when I order falafel and rice from them? This guy keeps asking the same question, over and over again, about falafel and rice, and I’m getting anxious, so I expertly change topics.

“You know, one time I tried to make falafel, but I didn’t use a food processor. I just tried to chop it up really finely and …”

“No. Always use food processor. I grind my falafel three times. No less than three times.”

OK, he took the bait. He was off of the falafel and rice business. He started talking about oil temperatures and how to test it by cooking a piece of onion first. He offered to sell me his raw falafel mix, and then I could make it at home, but I was really more concerned about this falafel sandwich, the one that I ordered, the one that was taking so long for him to even get in his deep fryer.

Meanwhile, whereas I was the only customer at first, now there were like five other people behind me, all with just bottles of water or soda, looking to get in and out, quick. One guy started complaining, could he just leave the dollar and go?

“No. I am making a falafel sandwich for this person.”

The guy on line looked at me and I just kind of smiled and shrugged. Sorry brah. Finally the owner finished my sandwich. Before he handed it over he kind of hesitated, looked me one more time in the eye and said, “Falafel and rice,” and then his eyes got real squinty, a real sinister kind of look flashed across his face, and he said, “I bet you anything this falafel truck is owned by an Egyptian.”

And I’m just like, what the hell? I have no idea who’s from what country. Basically every single nation that’s even close to the Mediterranean Sea claims falafel as their own dish. But again, I’m an expert at getting out of weird situations like this, so I match his suspicious glance and I say, “You know what? He’s definitely an Egyptian.” The owner nodded in approval. I had no idea who I was offending or insulting or even where this guy was from. I just wanted out.

He handed me my sandwich, charged me six bucks, definitely more than my Egyptian falafel back home, and he tells me, “Eat my falafel. If you like it, you’ll come back and eat more.” Not a thank you come again, this was more like a prophecy.

I left thinking, yeah right, no way pal. But I ripped open the foil and took a few bites. It was amazing. Delicious. Maybe I’d have to come back after all.