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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thing 151: Amsterdam Falafel

"Hey Fancy, what's a...fall-off...fluff...falafel?" This question was lobbed over the cubicle wall of my office on Monday, an innocent enough question (and let's just ignore for a moment that my work nickname is Fancy).

I sprung to my feet and darted over to my coworker, eyes wide in disbelief. "What's a falafel?! Grab your wallet, we're going on a field trip right now."

Well, the field trip had to wait until the next day due to such intrusions as appointments and conference calls, but the next day at lunch time, we piled into a coworker's car and road tripped from Capitol Hill to 18th St, in Adams Morgan, for some Amsterdam Falafel.
I figured, if you've never had falafel before -- fried patties made of chick peas -- then you should sample the very best falafel available for your first try. And as far as I'm concerned, Amsterdam has the very best falafel in DC (I had an ex-boyfriend who said it was the best falafel in North America, a claim I can neither endorse nor deny).

What makes Amsterdam so good? Well, for one thing, they specialize. There are three items on their menu: falafel, fries and brownies. That's it. You can decide if you want a small or regular falafel sandwich, on white or wheat pita, but that's about it. However, if you require options in your life, look no further than the enormous toppings bar to the left of the register. Just as M'Dawg had toppings galore, Amsterdam provides you with a couple dozen options for topping your falafels, all of them tantalizing and delicious.

The only advice I gave to my falafel novices was not to go too crazy at the toppings bar. It's an easy mistake to make -- a little of this, a little of that, and then suddenly you have 12 different flavors, not all of which are going to taste all that when smushed together.
For me? I favor tahini, baba ganoush and cucumber salad. Lyz went with cucumbers, red cabbage slaw and tatziki. Kristi opted for hummus and dark, caramelized roasted eggplant. And just look at these happy first timers!

Amsterdam also makes exceptional fries, and provides "garlic creme" (aka garlic mayonnaise, but I normally don't like mayonnaise, and I love this "creme" stuff) for dipping. They are twice fried and deliciously crispy and salty.

The falafel newbie was happy and full, and already plotting what her next topping combination would be.
Nearby: Peyote Cafe or the Duplex Diner


Anonymous said...

And it's cheap, too. There's nothing better than Amsterdam if you don't want to cook or pay much.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

I've been craving falafel lately, so this is a great tip. And walking distance from my house, yay!

dc365 said...

Princess Sparkle Pony? THE Princess Sparkle Pony?! I love your blog!!

Happy Mommy To Be said...

This is top on my list of best places to eat in DC. I can't wait to take my family next time they are visiting from SoCal! Thanks Fancy!

allan said...

Best for late nights after drinking!

Alex said...

I love this place. Way tooooo crowded at anything resembling normal eating hours or post drink hours, but a great place for an off-peak meal.

Bradford Pearson said...

This makes me want to leave my office right now. And it's 10:30 am.