Tuesday, March 13, 2012

King of Falafel and Shawarma

One of our favorite vendors at the Vendy Awards in past years was the King of Falafel and Shawarma, which won the Vendy Cup and People's Choice Awards at the Vendys in 2010. (We never had a chance to write about it but we voted for them!) The cart has been located in Astoria and run by Freddy, who is one of the nicest, friendliest vendors we have met and very passionate about serving excellent food. (To see more about the original Astoria cart and Freddy's food, here's the video the Vendy people did before the 2010 awards.)

Since we don't live in Astoria, we don't get to see Freddy very often. But recently he announced that he was putting together a second cart and heading to Manhattan, which we were really excited about. Today was their first day in midtown - at 53rd and Park - and there was a long line for most of the lunch rush. Everyone loves the King of Falafel! I knew what I wanted to do for lunch today...

I decided to take a late lunch and ventured over after 2, when the line was much shorter but the shawarma was almost gone. I got a shawarma platter which came with salad (lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, pickled turnips) and a piece of falafel. They were running out of chicken so I got the last of that plus some of the lamb. (I usually just get chicken.) The cart was so busy the whole time. Freddy kept making falafel and tossing them into the fryer inbetween serving customers. As exhausting as it must have been, it must also have been nice knowing that so many midtowners love their food! What a welcome!

The falafel was as good as I remembered. It's an oblong shape instead of a round ball which keeps the outside crispy and the inside soft and not dry. It's a unique falafel and so good. The white and hot sauces on top of the shawarma and salad were also delicious. The last time we had the chicken shawarma at the Vendys, we went early in the day, so I think the shawarma that time was better than what I had today, which was the end of the batch. That said, it was still really tasty and has such a good blend of spices. I think next time (whenever I can find the time to trek over again and wait in line) I might go for a falafel platter (especially if they're running low on shawarma). The falafel is really that good. Welcome to midtown, King of Falafel!

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