The food: falafel sandwiches
My son Simon Farine, a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) basketball player at Dalhousie University for the Dalhousie Tigers, recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he played on the Open Men’s Basketball team for Canada at the 18th Maccabiah Games, and helped the team defeat Maccabi teams from Germany, Greece, Brazil and Argentina on the way to winning the Bronze Medal. (The Canadian team’s only defeats were to the U.S.A. and Israel, which won the Gold and Silver, respectively.)
I didn’t go to Israel to watch him play, but in his honour, I stopped in at the falafel shop Taim on my last visit to New York. Taim is a tiny open kitchen spot in the West Village, with counter seating for 4 or 5 (there’s also a bench outside), no air conditioning, and a limited menu. I ordered the green falafel (made with chickpeas, coriander, mint and parsley), with a side order of fries.
The fries photograph better than they tasted: they were overcooked and hard. But the falafel sandwich was complex and satisfying: the patties were crunchy outside, soft within, more herby than spicy (I consider that a good thing); the pita was soft and fresh, the tahini sauce creamy, the greens inside crisp. I’d go back for it, especially in cooler weather.
Simon ate falafel twice in Israel and reported that falafel sandwiches there came with fries tucked inside the pita (!). Soon after he returned to Toronto, we got takeout from Jerusalem Restaurant and assembled sandwiches at home – falafel patties with baba ghanoush and tahini in pita for Simon, and the same combo wrapped in corn tortillas for Michael, my son who has celiac disease.
Both boys – picky eaters who have been known to run their parents ragged with their expectations for good meals at home – enjoyed their meals thoroughly. (Whew.)