Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Ok, so maybe not traditional French fare, but strolling through the streets of Paris, one will inevitably encounter a plethora of falafel/schwarma restaurants and/or stands. Falafel ranks right alongside crepes, croissants and ice cream among the popular street foods of Paris. And for good reason-falafel in Paris, I have found, tends to be of good quality and taste, and it makes for a nice change to the usual baguette and cheese sandwiches that people often consume for lunch on the go here. During this past month here in Paris, I have sampled the falafel sandwiches in at least five different restaurant/delis, and I have never been disappointed. However, one in particular draws me back again and again and again. You have probably heard of it-yep, L'As du Falafel!! Everyone I spoke to before coming to Paris insisted, "Treat yourself to the delectable patisseries, but make sure not to miss L'As du Falafel, wherever else you go!" Well, my first attempt to L'As du Falafel fell on a Saturday. I set out on my second day in Paris with the intention of indulging in both L'As du Falafel and Berthillon ice cream before returning back to my hotel. Little did I know that a restaurant so popular with tourists would actually be closed on a Saturday! Yep, believe it or not, L'As du Falafel is closed both Friday and Saturday! But L'As du Falafel is open on Sunday, when many other restaurants and eateries in Paris are closed. Anyway, I next made a trip out to L'As du Falafel on my first day of classes. I was elated to discover that I can walk from my classes in the Marais to the restaurant in under ten minutes. Needless to say, L'As du Falafel has truly earned it fame. I will never be able to eat falafel in the U.S. again! Wow, the falafels themselves were extremely fresh, warm, crisp, perfectly cooked, and of course, full of flavor. The sandwich itself is truly one of a kind. It consists of a huge, warm pita pocket, layered with fresh cabbage, tomato and grilled eggplant, all smothered in a tahini-yogurt sauce, the perfect cooling accompaniment to the warm falafel. I always spoon generous amounts of the spicy red chilli sauce furnished on the side. This sandwich is nothing but savory heaven!! Wow, I dragged my friends back the very next day-it was really that good!! In fact, we have made it a Tuesday tradition to visit L'As du Falafel for lunch, followed by a dessert from Aux Desirs de Manon, a nearby patisserie that has become one of my all-time favorites!. Not that we need anything at all after that amazing sandwich, but as the French would say, "C'est par gourmandise." If you ever find yourself on the streets of Paris, do not hesitate for a second to stroll over to the Marais for a wonderful, memorable meal at L'As du Falafel. Of course, the Marais is wonderful area, but even if not, L'As du Falafel would without a doubt merit a special trip to the quarter. Hope you ascend to the heavens soon!