Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Falafel Alley

During our recent trip to Paris, I had a list of places to go and things to eat. I am sure that everyone does this when they go somewhere special (right?). I always scout out potential hot spots, especially for good vegetarian food. I'd heard from several different sources that there was excellent falafel to be had in the 4th arrondissement so Chris and I made it a point to go and check it out!

One thing I never got over after leaving Birmingham, Alabama was the loss of easy falafel access. Nobody tells you this but the streets are practically paved with it. You can get it at any time of day, seven days a week. After I moved to Georgia, I was high and dry and it's been that way ever since. I have one reasonable fallback here in Princeton and I've heard there is another place that has good stuff so I will investigate and report back.

For now, I will tell you about Falafel Alley in the Marias District of Paris. L'as du Falafel is somewhat of a landmark here. Right across the way from it is Mi Va Mi, another falafel place which is said to be the underdog. Chris and I couldn't resist trying both of them out and over the course of a few days, we did. We hit up L'as du Falafel for lunch. I was prepared for the line to be much longer than it was. They are obviously up on the crowd control because they have one guy bringing people in and taking orders while you wait to get up to the window so you already have a ticket by the time you get there. It all happened so fast that it's a blur to me now. The falafel slinger hands you a warm pita that is stuffed full of goodness. Despite the fact that he throws it together in no time at all, the distribution of falafel and veggies is perfect.

7 Euros gets you this gorgeous sammich and a drink.

So, in the name of scientific research, we returned to the 4th arrondissement the following day for lunch at Mi Va Mi.
Instead of getting it to go, we opted to dine in. Just so you know, it costs about 3 Euros more per person to eat and drink inside instead of getting it from the window. I really wanted to root for the underdog but it just didn't knock my socks off the way it probably would have if we hadn't eaten at L'as du Falafel the day before. Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic lunch and I'd totally kill for some Mi Va Mi now but (in my humble opinion) it was a notch or two short in comparison. The service was friendlier. The ingredients were well balanced. Maybe it was the cold pita? The lack of Orangina? When it came time to decide where we would have our final falafel hurrah, we went back to L'as du Falafel. There are those who might disagree with me and I can respect that. Lenny Kravitz has my back though!

L'as du Falafel
34, Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris, France

Mi Va Mi
23 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris, France