Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Falafel and a Virgin Brownie at Amsterdam Falafelshop

My first taste of falafel came from a small Iraqi-run falafel stand in the college town of Utrecht, Netherlands in May, 2003. The late-night food wizards that ran the stand were experts at providing their patrons with hot, fresh falafels served in pita bread and accompanied by a self-serve toppings bar featuring all sorts of delicious veggies and sauces, as well as crisp and hot double-fried pommes frites and Dutch mayo to dip them in, all at very reasonable prices.

You are in luck! The place to satisfy your craving for Dutch-style falafel and pommes frites (French fries) on this side of the Atlantic is in Washington, DC on 18th St. NW in Adams Morgan.

Although the menu is brief, there are still some important choices facing the uninitiated, soon-to-be falafel enjoyer. First, one must choose whether to order a "regular" size falafel, or a "small" size falafel. Presumably one would base this decision on the severity of their hunger, not their ego, but the Falafelshop leaves that to your discretion. The difference between a "regular" falafel and a "small" falafel are two-fold. A regular-size falafel offers five falafel balls in a large pita, whereas the small falafel consists of three falafel balls in a slightly smaller pita. Once you've decided which size falafel is appropriate, your next choice is a whole-wheat or white pita (I recommend the whole-wheat). Finally, you can order either your small or regular order of pommes frites. In this reviewer's experience the small order is easily enough for two people, and the regular order is plenty for three to four people.

Don't forget to grab some ketchup, peanut sauce, and especially Dutch mayo for your double -fried pommes frites. It's worth noting that the most delicious item in the place is also the only one that is not vegetarian; the Dutch mayo is ordinary mayo mixed with beef fat. Yeah!

Tips for falafel virgins:

Regular falafel: Before putting on your toppings, take a couple falafel balls out of the pita, then gently crush the remaining balls a bit to make more room, then add your toppings, then finally, place the balls you previously removed back into your pita on top of the toppings.

Small falafel: Before putting on your toppings, gently smush your falafel balls in order to make more room for the vast array of toppings you are about to bury your falafel with.

Brownies: These "virgin" brownies are tasty and huge! No pot though. This place is authentic, but not that authentic.

The Dutch Touch: As a Dutch friend of mine recently found out, the falafel wizards here do not actually speak Dutch, unfortunately. The restaurant was founded by Americans who were inspired and enthusiastic about the falafels served in Holland after spending a couple of years there researching the topic.

Amsterdam Falafelshop
2425 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

*All photos except "Falafel City" courtesy of furcafe.


Anonymous Whitewalls said...

So I'm covered in Dutch mayo, running for dear life, screaming at the top of my lungs...

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Arianne said...

Hey - thank you for the awesome review - we love that you love our shop... one small item though - we don't put beef fat in our mayo... cool urban myth though! :)

4:24 PM  

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