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Falafel in Boston (Another reason never to leave Worcester)

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Last week I set up a veg table at the Grinding Tapes showcase show at Church in Boston. (Not at a church, the venue is called Church.) The show was wonderful. Dylan and The Points North debuted some new songs and I talked to some cool people about why being a vegetarian is a good idea. Lots of people took stickers and some people even signed our Meat’s Not Green petition. Overall, a great night. I do have one pretty major complaint: the falafel in Boston is pretty universally terrible.


I’m not a picky eater. And falafel is my favorite food. It doesn’t take much to impress me when it comes to falafel, or really anything deep-fried for that matter. That said, the falafel wrap I got from Hidyan was probably the worst I’ve ever eaten. It was goopy and tasted a little like soap.

Let’s back up a little bit. Towards the end of the night, the table at the show was going a little slow, so I ducked out of the venue to check out what food options there were nearby. Hidyan Cafe was right across the street and it looked promising. It looked like it was mostly a take-out pizza and falafel place. These are usually the spots to find killer falafel. Pro-tip: you’re probably not going to find amazing falafel at some fancy-pants Middle Eastern restaurant.

So I walked across the street, pysched to try some new falafel, but the whole affair started off on the wrong foot. When I ordered the wrap, I asked if they used yogurt in their tahini. She assured me they did not, but after a couple of minutes into constructing the wrap she told me that they do put dairy in the hummus. Weird. Who puts dairy in hummus? I’ve never heard of that. Apparently the guy next to me was thinking the same thing, because he asked the woman behind the desk about it. She explained that she thought chickpeas hurts your stomach, so she adds milk to the hummus. Why would anyone ruins such a wonderful food by putting dairy in it? So I got a falafel wrap without any hummus or other sauce. Bummer.

As far as presentation goes, the wrap looked pretty alright. But after the first bite, I was done with it. There was some weird chemical after-taste and a questionable white substance dripping out the bottom. On the bright side, the root beer was pretty satisfying.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by falafel in Worcester. We have so many places in town that sell kick-ass falafel for dirt-cheap. Plus we are home to Bay State Bakery, so our falafel joints get the freshest of the fresh Syrian bread. You just can’t beat falafel in Worcester.

Do you know of any good falafel places in Boston?

July 2, 2009  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Bay State Bakery, Veg Advocacy

6 Responses

  1. avatar Jeremy - July 4, 2009

    I agree that msot falafel in Boston is poor or worse. There are a few half-decent ones though:

    Falafel King, Winter St between Downtown xing and Park St;
    Moody’s, Western Ave at Mass Ave, Central Sq, Cambridge;
    Cafe Kiraz, Hampshire St at Columbia St, Cambridge.

    Never heard of milk in hummus though… I guess I’ll have to ask about that one.

  2. avatar Jeremy - July 4, 2009

    Also, a lot of people like Rami’s on Harvard St in Coolidge Corner (Brookline) but I think it’s pretty bad.

    I still prefer Fantastic Pizza in Worcester.

  3. avatar admin - July 5, 2009

    Yeah! Fantastics has pretty much the best falafel in America.

  4. avatar Chuck - July 6, 2009

    Nice blog.

    It’s not entirely un-common to add yogurt to hummus. many ‘traditional’ recipes use yogurt for its live cultures to add digestibility to the garbanzos (as well as partially soaking and sprouting the garbanzos prior to boiling, which is also a ‘traditional’ method for hummus preparation).

    Deep frying, especially with low quality oils, tends to create free-radicals in the body (cancer-not good).

  5. avatar Crystal - July 10, 2009

    I agree Fantastics is wonderful, inexpensive and yummy. Plus they put love in everything they make :)

  6. avatar Desdemona - July 25, 2009

    One more vote for Fantastic; I’m a grad student at Clark, which means I pretty much subsist on their falafels during the school year! Probably the best falafel I’ve ever had, though, was at Mamoun’s in New Haven…I haven’t been there in about 100 years, but I still recall it with saliva-inducing fondness…

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