Just Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad
Chickpea Salad

My mom used to make something like this and she called it Happy Tuna Salad. I’ve never had tuna salad, and I don’t like connecting my tasty food to something fishy, so I just call it chickpea salad. Just Chickpea Salad.

And since I don’t know what tuna salad tastes like, let’s forget there’s even a connection. This is just a nice stuffing for a sandwich. Great source of protein. Tasty. And requires very little actual effort. All good things during the summer.

SUMMER? What? It’s March 14th! Sorry, rest of the country. I was sweating in my car today, and have contemplated the air conditioner several times this week. I realize the rest of the country is still having that winter stuff, but here in the 352, it’s starting to look a bit like bikini season.

The less I have to spend over a hot stove, the happier I am. And I can make a batch of this up that will last a few days. Er… well, The Man makes it disappear quicker than that. So maybe I should just do double batches.

Smooshed chickpeas

With very little fanfare, here you go:

Just Chickpea Salad
1 can garbanzos
3 huge tbsp plain Greek yogurt
2 stalks finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced green olives
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 – 3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp pepper (or 1/4 tsp fresh ground)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne

1) This is the only actual work you’re going to do. Drain the garbanzons (yes, chickpeas), and smash them. Don’t puree, blend, or food process them. Just loosely shatter their little souls. I like to pour them into a shallow plate and smash them with a fork. They get a little dry and turn into a pile of chickpea shards. Which is fine and perfect.

2) Toss shattered chickpeas and finely diced celery in a bowl. I’m not telling you how to dice celery. I like it really chopped down so there’s crunch but not clunkers. But that’s up to you. Add in three heaping tablespoons of Greek yogurt. I mean heaping. Like I make it a game how much I can goop onto a tablespoon and get into the bowl. If I had a gun to my head, I would guess it’s a little over 1/2 cup. You can leave off the green olives. I go either way. They definitely add a pop of flavor. If you’re in the mood, toss them in.

3) Seasonings. Again, I’ve never had tuna salad, so you could probably make this taste like that if you were feeling wild. I like this flavor profile. Salt and pepper are a given. A touch of cumin and cayenne round out the garlic powder. But really, have fun with this. It’s a great base for whatever flavors you want to bring in.

4) Mix it up and let it sit. No really, this needs a good stir to combine everything because of the texture of the smooshed garbanzos. And you can certainly dig in right away. I’m not judging. The flavors do marinate well if you leave it for an hour, or over night.

But if I have some fresh beer bread on hand, The Man will physically push me out of the way to get dug in right out of the mixing bowl. Like tonight. I was trying to take a picture and I almost had to wrestle him out of the kitchen for the three minutes it took to get a good angle.

I’ve had this straight out of the container when I was starving. Slathered thick on a sandwich with some swiss cheese is my preference. I’ve even mixed it in with some pasta for a quick salad. It’s fairly versatile, and a nice punch of protein. And frankly, kind of cheap to make a lot of for the summer when the stove is not your friend.

[Girl21]

Uppercrust Pretzels

Uppercrust Pretzels
Uppercrust Pretzels

I realize there are many, many food blogs out there. Some better than others. Some quite terrible. I stumbled on to one that was just basically a blow-by-blow retelling of Bourdain’s TV show episodes by a woman who obviously got very hot and bothered by the surly guy.

This is just another food blog in the great sea of food blogs. What makes ours special? Most likely that you know us. Or that you live in the area and are kind of interested in recommendations for things to eat around here.

If you haven’t been to Uppercrust (I keep running into people that have never been *aroooogah!* what?!) then take yourself up there immediately. Well, make sure you go early in the day because the place sells out quick. If you can make it past the pastry displays and get to the checkout without breaking your bank, then have a look on the counter there near the registers. They sometimes have baskets of the freakishly large pretzels up there.

You may have picked up that The Man lacks some impulse control when it comes to food. So of course he always attempts to buy at least a dozen of these things. I act as the sanity in this arrangement and cap him at something reasonable. One is enough to make me burst at the seams. We usually get a regular salted one and a cheese one. Flavors available vary apparently on the whim of the bakers. They sometimes even have chocolate ones.

You’re not going to find something like this very often. This is not a state fair or gas station pretzel. This is not one of those glossy jobs that look like they’ve been closed from some impossibly pretty but flavorless bread product. Those mall pretzels with the big zits of hard salt scattered over them? Nope. This is the real article, my friends.

I personally like to tear these into chunks and eat them straight out of the bag while we’re driving. Confession: I like it this way because I can stuff the big chunks into The Man’s face and save the little knobs at the bottom for myself. The Man likes to bring them home and pop them back in the oven so they get hot and crispy. I chop them up with sheers so they’re easier to dip into some spicy mustard.

And the last thing I can say about these pretzels is that at about $2.50 a pop, you can’t go wrong. Even if you’re one of our more thrifty friends, once you get your chompers around one of these, you won’t complain about the price.

Uppercrust
4116 NW 16th Blvd
Gainesville, FL 32605
Phone: 352.376.7187
uppercrust@uppercrustproductions.com
UppercrustProductions.com

Hours: Monday – Saturday | 8AM-7PM

[Girl21]

Ummmm…. Yume Ume?

Yume Ume Review

[Edit: Yume Ume has been closed for a while and there doesn’t seem to be any news on opening again. Boo!]

Since The Man and I have been together, he’s been trying to get me to Rolls ‘n Bowls, but alas, they closed before that could happen. Frankly, they were too close to Falafel King, and I love me some Falafel King. So when friends posted online that Rolls ‘n Bowls was closed, I got a bit of guilt from The Man for always voting for FK over R’nB.

We’d been hearing the rumblings about the place that took the Rolls ‘n Bowls spot and kismet (also known as we were both recovering from the flu and didn’t want to cook) brought us to try take-out from Yume Ume. Totally. Worth. It.

So hands-down most fun was the wanton nori chips, which reminded me of the Dutty Fries at Reggae Shack because of the sweet / salty / spicy seasoning on them. Plus these have little threads of nori (yes, seaweed) for extra texture.

Yume Ume, Steamed BunsThe miso soup was acceptable, with wakame, mushrooms, and tofu. And the edamame was tasty but expected. He got a side of the ume guac to test drive it and loved it. (I’m not a fan of guac. Don’t ask.)

As for the main attraction, we had steamed buns with crispy tofu, red miso glaze, and savoy cabbage slaw. We also had the baked buns with pretty much the same innards but with garlic-tofu mayo instead of red miso glaze.

It wasn’t so much food that we achieved a full food coma, but it was enough that we definitely extended our lazy stay on the couch. And all of that for around $28.

From what we gather, this place was opened by the folks at Dragonfly Sushi & Sake, and it looks like they’re set to launch this as a franchise (mostly because there’s a big button for ‘Franchise’ on their website. Fortunately, despite the drive to pop out a bunch more of these, their efforts to locally and ethically source their ingredients set a good mood for the food.

The general idea is to work down the simple menu and pick what you want and how you want I, with the extra things to make a happy mouth. Their menu is actually marked for the items that are NOT gluten free. The steamed buns are those fun flat breads like small, bloated tortillas. The baked rolls have a nice crust that contrasts with the slightly squishy tofu.

Besides all of that, I want to revisit the wanton nori chips because I can eat the hell out of these, despite how terrible they likely are for my body. I mean, seriously, it’s just wanton wrappers, deep fried and doused in salt, sugar, and spice. Oh, and a festive confetti of sea weed. It jumps the food-theme tracks, but next time, I will eat a whole bag of these with crumbled gorgonzola.

2 X Steamed Buns
2 X Baked Buns
2 X Miso Soup
2 X Wanton Nori Chips
1 X Edamame
Bonus extras
Total: about $28

Yume Ume
3117 SW 34th St
Gainesville, FL 32608
352.271.1011
YumeUme.com

[Girl21]

Falafel Burger, The Top

Growing up vegetarian meant a burger was a ‘veggie burger’ and what was in that patty could be almost anything but meat. Carrots, black beans, brown rice, mushrooms, tempeh, TVP, etc., etc. My mom’s recipe was mostly lentils, bulger wheat, and oats. I got stuck making those burgers far too often, which was a chore because the recipe produced about five dozen burgers at a time. I’m sure you’ve had more than your share of ‘WTH is this?’ moments with veggie burgers.

These days veggie burgers look and taste good, but you still don’t know what’s in them. The out-of-the-box kind that have the grill marks painted on. Until recently, the Top did what most restaurants do, and offered pre-made burgers like Boca or Morningstar Farms. Which are okay. Really. But I can make one at home, so why am I going to order that?

Then came a new dawn in the Top’s kitchen and they started making more and more things in-house. From sauerkraut and fake bacon, to burgers, to French fries and salad dressings. The black bean patty stayed and was joined by a falafel patty. Yes, I said that. A patty made from the same stuff you usually get in a pita sandwich. It’s not as sturdy as a pre-made burger, but that’s not a bad thing. It has flavor and texture, and makes your belly so happy!

The falafel burger usually has the standard lettuce/tomato/pickle innards on a delish pretzel roll, and you can choose the theme of your burger. I usually go with the True Blue, with blue cheese, seitan bacon, and fried onions. Or a little more mild is the Triple Cheese with sharp cheddar, Swiss, and smoked gouda (and of course friend onions too).

There are over a dozen pre-set themes for your burger, or you can customize it with a list of extras. Or swap out the bread (locally sourced). Sub out the usual sides (ginger slaw, potato salad, or fries) for something more fun like sweet potato fries, side salad, or soup (and they have some cool soups to choose from).

The black bean patty is nice too, but the falafel burger has more flavor, and makes my mouth so happy. I can’t ever finish it the first try because I usually go for a side salad. Which is why I find myself eating the rest of it cold, straight out of the fridge, the next morning while I make coffee.

This is not date-night food. There’s no dignity in trying to jack your jaw open enough to bit this thing. Expect to get messy. That’s all I’m saying about that. And it’s nom nom nom.

My meal:
Triple Cheese Falafel Burger – $8.95
+Side salad upgrade – $1.50
Angry Orchard Cider

The Top
30 N. Main St.
Gainesville, FL 32601
352-337-1188

No Website Yet (seriously? I know they don’t need it, but come on?!)
On Facebook

[Girl21]

Lenny’s NY Pizza Co., Ormond Beach

Lennys NY Pizza Co, Ormond Beach

Thank you, Urbanspoon.

We were road-tripping it down around Daytona Beach a few weeks ago. As we’re coming into civilization out of the swamps into the strip malls, a desperate hunger popped out of nowhere. My job as navigator means I have to magically find the best place to eat (with vegetarian options) within a short distance from wherever we happen to be. So I start flipping through my phone for my Urbanspoon app, while The Man kindly tells some of the snowbirds and early spring-breakers what he thinks of their ability to maneuver their vehicles on a roadway.

The Ormond Beach/Daytona area is packed with tourists and college youths, and local restaurants can get away with murder when it comes to what passes for food. But The Man wanted food. Possibly pizza. Okay, definitely pizza. So… Okay Urbanspoon, nothing? Another mile up the beach and resetting the location offered Lenny’s NY Pizza. Yeah, because people are always honest about their “New York Style Pizza”.

But it got a rating in the mid-90%, and it was not far away. So out of desperation we stopped to give it a whirl. Reluctantly. It was in a strip of store fronts like all of the others that face the condos on the beach. To look at, it was nothing special. But we stood there to look at the menu for a minute. The staff were yelling at each other. And the customers. Pizza ovens were slamming open and closed. It smelled amazing.

We ordered a few slices of cheese pizza, and soda, and took a table at the window to wait. There was one guy who seemed to be running the place. Probably the infamous Lenny. It became obvious quickly that this place was for locals, and Lenny kept them coming back.

“Only one stromboli today?” he nagged one customer. “You always get two. One for dinner. You want two!” The regular nodded agreement finally and waited for his two strombolis.

Lenny craned over the counter at a group laughing on the side. A woman was trying to lift a huge sandwich with cheese falling off the side. “You can fit that in your mouth. It’s not too big,” he laughed, stopping just short of suggesting she had oral skills. She blushed and tried to open her jaw like a boa constrictor swallowing a small boar.

Our pizza came up, still sizzling from the oven. Each slice the size of a legal pad of paper. Exactly right. Thin crust that actually was hand tossed. Cheese that acted and tasted like actual cheese. Sauce could have been a bit zippier but was great anyway. Real pizza. Oh. My. Crap. It was good!

We left with a cannoli in a to-go box because we obviously were working up an appetite from sitting in the car. Lenny’s would be added to our list of places to come back to next time we were down this way. (Vittoria’s pastry shop and Anna’s Trattoria in Daytona are worth the drive on their own, and this is right up the shore.) It reminded me of Lisa Pizza in the mall back in the ‘90s. I had my learner’s permit and had to drive my sister and her friends to the mall for hours. I would get pizza and hide up in the balcony area, reading a book and avoiding the kids throwing cheese. Okay, that makes me feel old now.

Lenny’s NY Pizza Co.
1456 Ocean Shore Blvd
Ormond Beach, FL 32176
(386) 441-8811
www.ormondpizza.com

[Girl21]

Boxtastic Breakfast

Cheating is such an ugly word.

The fact of the matter is that I’m not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning person. Ask my friends and family. They have scars to prove it.

If you wake me up in the morning and expect food to magically appear out of the kitchen, it had better involve a box. And preferably something that doesn’t require me to handle a knife before I’ve had coffee. Since there are only two kinds of cereal after a few minutes in milk (mush and gravel), I’ve never been a big fan of that option. Bagels are delish but I can tell you the statistics for people going to the ER to get stitches or parts of fingers reattached because of a stubborn bagel.

That leaves something tasty from the oven. I vote for muffins mostly because they’re supposed to be lumpy. Not all boxed muffins are created equal though. You often get that overtone of chemicals and flavorings that are mixed in 55 gallon drums. I stumbled upon the Krusteaz (because I am a Publix BOGO fanatic), and like to keep a box in the pantry for impromptu muffin cravings.

Specifically, the cranberry orange muffin mix. Yes, feel free to put your thumb over the ‘Fat Free’ part of the label because I hate fat free marketed products, and these just don’t taste like they’re short of anything. The fun thing about this boxed mix is that the cranberries are in a cute, mini can.

Toss the mix in a bowl with a cup of water, and stir it up so it’s lumpy. Add the cranberries and stir a little more. Drop the batter into 10 or 11 muffin cups, and bake for about 15 minutes. Simple, and no one gets hurt.

So this is one of my secrets. If you get these on BOGO, grab a few boxes and you’ll thank me later. It’s easy to remember … Krusteaz… like Krusty the Clown from the Simpsons.

[Girl21]

Ketchup and Cheese Sammies

Growing up, I had a friend who had those cool anything-goes parents. My friend got to play in her mom’s make up. The dad gave her brother a full case of Bazooka bubble gum for his birthday with the one rule that it all had to end up in the trash immediately post-chew. They had a black Lab mutt named Cucaracha that would climb the shed in the back and jump up on the house’s roof to bark at neighbors and buzzards. When I slept over there were no bed times, or rules about the TV (which was always on) or when to take a bath. It was very Pippi Longstocking.

On the other hand, there weren’t actual meal times, and no one claimed responsibility for grocery shopping regularly. And although I doubt we would get into trouble for using the stove, we didn’t know how to cook. To make matters worse, the dad was almost always out doing stuff or in his shop, and the mom often wasn’t feeling so good (in retrospect, the word would be ‘hangover’). So we were sometimes left to fend for ourselves in an empty kitchen.

This is the first place I ever experienced a ketchup and cheese sandwich. At six-years-old, it was love at first taste.

I am not talking about grilled cheese with ketchup. Just two slices of bread slathered in your standard ketchup, and then closed around whatever slices of cheese you have handy. I prefer a nice sharp cheddar or Swiss. That’s it.

Over the years, I also grew to love jelly and cheese. If brought to school and left in your backpack for the morning, the jelly soaked into the cheddar and crystallized a little. Or cream cheese and jelly. My sister went in the other direction and developed a life-long love of mustard and cheese sandwiches. And my brother went another route and does Sriracha and cheese.

I brought this up the other morning while The Man was getting his coffee and I was making his lunch for work. He was duly horrified at the thought of a ketchup and cheese sammie. After much dramatics, he allowed me my sandwich because he liked mustard and cream cheese on a bagel.

Not one to let something like that alone, I posted this on Facebook and got back a volley of other personal favorites which included PB&J with hot sauce, grilled cheese with jam, and avocado/cheese/honey. I think everyone has a secret comfort sammie. Something they eat that is fast, weird, and a little ghetto. But hits the spot and makes your belly purr.

My dad was a repair guy his whole life and every day he would take a PB&J to work and leave it in the sandwich baggie on his dash in the truck. It would sit in the sun and heat up and get all soggy and crusty. If he didn’t have time to break for lunch, or it was a particularly difficult afternoon, he would sit in his truck in the shade of a tree for a few minutes and eat that mangled, baked, dripping sammie like it was a cold beer and a pizza. Comfort food.

If you haven’t tried the ketchup and cheese version, I highly recommend it. Preferably at 2AM, in your PJs, leaning over the kitchen sink. Possibly while it’s raining. It’s awesome.

[Girl21]

Test-Driving Tempo Bistro To-Go

Tempo Bistro To-Go

Tempo Bistro To-Go has been high on our list of places to try for quite some time. The Man and I rarely have a day off together, so we are usually limited to dinner restaurants. But the elements of the universe aligned perfectly and we were finally able to check off one on our list.

I’ve been watching from afar as Tempo Bistro evolves (stalking on Facebook, I admit), and I adore the food culture that drives this tiny lunch shop. There’s a heavy, passionate emphasis on in-season, locally grown and sourced, natural and organic ingredients to make flavor-driven sandwiches, salads, and soups. A little bird told me that they’re looking to get their bread from Mosswood in Micanopy, which will bring me back again just to try that out.

The Man and I were both hungry, and let’s be honest, more than a little cranky. So the snippy negotiations on where to get lunch, and what to get, took much longer and involved more bruised feelings than necessary. We settled on Tempo Bistro’s “Piedmont” and “The Blueprint” sandwiches, with a side “Far Eastern” salad. I sent The Man to pick up our order, which is always a bad idea when he’s hungry. He returned with a large bag that included a bottle of ginger ale, a bottle of root beer, potato chips, and Flour Pot Bakery cookies (oatmeal toffee and ginger) which I’m sure were too tempting while attempting to pay and go.

All of the food was lovely. The bread was knobly and whole grained. All of the greens were fresh and tasty. The dressing made my tongue do that little prickly shiver like all of my taste buds doing The Wave. It was all done simply, efficiently, and elegantly. Even the packaging was environmentally friendly.

Tempo Bistro, BlueprintThe Blueprint: “Blue and goat cheese, Tempeh, roasted walnuts, red bell pepper ribbons and microgreens, pressed with mayo on multigrain”. Not only do I love, love, love blue cheese and goat cheese, this sandwich was pressed, so all of those lovely little cheesy and furry goat flavors came out just a little more. I’m not a huge fan of tempeh only because I know what it really is and it’s kind of gag-tastic. But the tempeh in the sandwich was very mild and added a nice texture without being too fungal like it can sometimes get. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love this sandwich and will be eating it again.

Piedmont: “Sliced roasted turkey or Tempeh, granny smith apple, goat cheese, red onion and spinach on multigrain”. We of course got the tempeh instead of turkey. The apple, onion, goat combination is always fun and flavorful. Again, the tempeh was nicely underplayed so the nuttiness came out to support the spinach without tasting like feet. And yes, I know tempeh is a wonderful protein source, so my brain knows it should be eaten. This is also a great sandwich. Next time I might ask for a little extra goat cheese just because I love it so much.

Far Eastern Salad: “Seasonal lettuce, napa cabbage and basil with toasted almond, microgreens, red bell pepper, shredded carrot and sesame ginger dressing”. When I licked the lid of the little container of the dressing, my tastebuds did a little dance. I’m a salad addict, as you may well know, and I could eat this three times a week. I especially loved the little flavor bursts of basil that lurked in the greens.

So in case you haven’t noticed, we are both giving MAJOR thumbs up to Tempo Bistro. The Man actually looks like he wants to go back right now. He keeps hanging over my shoulder and telling me what he wants to get next time we order there. (“The Sadie” has sauerkraut which makes him drool, and “The Caribbean” has him titillated.)

The shop itself is in a tiny space next to the Starbucks at 16th Ave. and 13th St. There are a few tables in case you want to eat in, but I recommend taking out (it’s “To-Go” for a reason). It can also get awkward to park during busy times of the day, and that parking lot is a disaster to get out of and go in certain directions. But it’s totally worth the trouble of getting to the bistro. The food is delish. The people are genuine foodies. And it’s a local business that supports local business. You can’t go wrong.

Tempo Bistro To-Go
1516 NW 13th St
Gainesville FL 32601
352.336.5834

Hours: 11:00-5:00 Monday-Saturday

Our lunch: $33.00
Two sandwiches, salad, two drinks, two cookies, chips, and tip. Worth every penny!

[Girl21]

Flaco’s at Night

Flaco's Pig Sign, Downtown Gainesville

I spent a great deal of my youth skulking around downtown Gainesville at night. My older brother was in a band and I discovered that any girls with a band were let into clubs without being ID’ed. Not that I drank at that age. Seriously, I went to T.G.I. Friday and had an ice cream coffee drink on my 21st birthday, and that was my big first drink. I kid you not.

We hung out downtown, and I lived off of Mountain Dew or the Jamocha milkshakes at the Burger Barn while the boys schemed about scoring drinks and girls and stardom. This was back in the time of Hardback Cafe, Florida Theater, Insomnia, Purple Porpoise, and all of the random parties the band played in the rat warren of the student ghetto. If we were lucky, we would eat at Kesl’s Coney Island. If it was late, we ended up at Taco Bell.

Not that I’m saying anything bad about Taco Bell (don’t sue me!), but with age, my expectations for late-night food have increased to include the criteria that it must at least be edible. Carbs and protein are the food requirements after midnight. I’m a salad fanatic, and I wouldn’t touch the stuff late at night. Warm carbs and protein are what the stomach requires.

Fortunately Flaco’s is within walking distance of many of the usual places we hang out with friends at night these days, and it’s open until 2:30 AM Wednesday through Saturday. Just enough time to wander down there for some to-go food after having a pint or two. In case you’re wondering if it’s open, they provide that big neon pig sign to light the way. If you want to find it, Flaco’s is right across from the cow building. You know what I mean.

Flaco’s is a Cuban bakery and coffee shop. Firstly, if you’ve never had Cuban coffee, do not attempt this without a diving buddy. Secondly, if don’t know much Spanish, you can still order food at Flaco’s because they’re prepared for people like us (unlike some of the Cuban places in Miami which you might be physically removed from for asking “What’s quee-so?”). Their menu has nice little descriptions that are easy enough to be understood when you’re tired and can’t focus your eyes well.

They’ve got a lot of great hand-food and bowls of food, so you can eat and run (stumble), or you can sit around their stylishly shabby dining areas and enjoy the gorgeous smell of good food cooking. It’s a bit moist in the summer, but in the cool months, it’s lovely. Like someone’s kitchen. By ‘someone’, I mean ‘someone who cooks well and often’.

You can find hot sandwiches (yes, a few vegetarian options), salads, ‘plates’ & ‘bowls’, arepas, empanadas, coffee, drinks, and beer. They’ve even got a taco bar Saturday after 10PM. I’ve not been to take advantage of this fabulous event, but I imagine all of the celebrities attend.

Our usual late night to-go has narrowed down to queso blanco arepas, and two Donna’s Turnstyle sandwiches, one with black beans and one with lentils. I’m an arepa fan–cornmeal patties with a slab of fresh cheese half melting in the middle. There are many ways to make arepas, not all of them good, but Flaco’s are delish.

The Donna’s Turnstyle sandwiches are simple Cuban bread with swiss cheese, mustard, pickles, and either black beans or lentils, and pressed to warm. A far cry from the late-night burritos from Taco Bell that I was always convinced must contain the recycled wasted from liposuction clinics.

Flaco’s is the kind of place I would have felt at home at in my stupid youth. Miss-matched second-hand furniture, interesting art, a kind of rumpled and angsty mood at night. The food is honest and tasty. The pigs are a bit creepy in a fun way.

Flaco’s
200 West University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
352-371-2000
www.flacosgainesville.com

Donna’s Turnstyles – $4.95
Queso Blanco Arepas – $3.50

Hours
Tues | 11:00AM- 4:00PM
Wed- Fri | 11:00AM-2:30AM
Sat | 12:00PM-2:30AM
Sun & Mon | Closed

[Girl21]

True Blue Falafel Burger, The Top

True Blue Falafel Burger

This picture is a little blurry, I know. It was hard to shoot this burger while it was moving so quickly towards my mouth. I think there’s still cheese in my camera lens.

I was hungry. And when I’m hungry, I dream about this thing. The True Blue Falafel Burger at The Top.

A while back, The Top switched over and started doing as much of their menu as possible in-house. From ‘burger’ patties and seitan bacon, to saurkraut, to salad dressings and dips. They make it in the kitchen instead of open a box or can. A while back they used to have portobello, black bean patties, or pre-made veggie burgers as their vegetarian burger options, which you could do any number of ways from their ‘style’ menu. They dropped the mushroom and the veggie patty, and introduced this falafel patty instead.

You may be familiar with falafel if you like Middle Eastern food. Most people know falafel as the sandwich of flat bread and deep fried chickpea or fava bean balls. And if you haven’t experienced it this way, put some pants on and get yourself down to Falafel King. Falafel is just the balls part, which is also often shaped into ‘fingers’ and patties. Hence, the falafel patty at The Top instead of a burger.

As always, you can choose from The Top’s ‘style’ menu of fifteen options when deciding on a burger. There’s the Smurf ‘n’ Turf (sourdough, mushroom ragout, arugula, blue cheese), the Southwestern (guacamole, sharp cheddar, jalapenos), or the Maradona (chimichuri, fried onions, peppers, swiss cheese). I adore the True Blue… blue cheese that gets all squishy, fried onions with a sweet kick, and the crispy seitan bacon that hugs the falafel patty. All of it held together with lettuce and the usual accouterments between a pretzel roll.

If you don’t like blue cheese (yes, I know, right? Why do I have these friends?), you can try the Triple Cheese with the falafel patty instead… sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, swiss, and fried onions. But trust me. The blue cheese, onions, ‘bacon’ combination is perfect with the falafel.

And if you’re feeling frisky, substitute the usually fries or whatnot out for the sweet potato fries. You get your choice of regular fries, potato salad, or ginger slaw generally speaking, but at The Top I always suggest substitutions for something that tickles your fancy. Like corn nuggets. Or the soup of the day which is usually delish.

The Top
True Blue Falafel Burger – $8.95
…with side of sweet potato fries – $1.50
…and a crisp, cold cider on a humid summer night – $4.95
..on the patio with a friend 🙂

[Girl21]