Monday, July 19, 2010

Falafel and Dogs

If the title of that post doesn't lure you in with smiles on your faces, then I hate to break this to you but you might not be my target audience ;-) I kid, I kid. But really, what more could you want?

Last week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take the train up to NYC with some friends to catch Next to Normal. It's an excellent cast preforming a Pulitzer award winning play. Again, what more could you want? Throw in some falafel and I was in Heaven! We got to the City kind of late and didn't have long until our show started. One of the friends that I was with, Andrew, said he had a good idea for dinner since we were pressed for time. He knew of this vegetarian take out place with a "funky salad bar". Since he knew I was all about that stuff, he suggested we drop in and grab some take out.

He ended up taking me to Maoz which was right on the way to Times Square from Penn Station. It would not have been more convenient...or good! I've been in a bit of a falafel depression since we got back from our amazing experience in Paris. I hate to sound like one of those people but the bar was set so darn high that I was having a difficult time finding a decent falafel that satisfied the itch back home. I've been to several places in Princeton and nothing has really done it for me (otherwise I would have written about it!). I have a fever and the cure is Maoz.

Back in the early 90's, Maoz opened in the Netherlands. Their mission is a quick, quality meal and they definitely deliver. About eight years ago, the first U.S. location opened in Philadelphia. There are five in New York City and, as I was glad to know, we also have one in New Brunswick. I'd heard about it before from a friend and we even passed it back earlier this year when Chris took me to see Porgy and Bess. The colors and set up are fresh and eye catching so it was hard to miss. When Andrew suggested it, I was excited to finally have the chance to check it out.

They have several different combo options that range from a full on falafel sammich with fries and juice to a salad or just some of their Belgian fries and a juice. You have your choice of fresh iced tea, lemonade or some incredible orange juice that is pressed to order. You have to pay a dollar more for it but trust me, it's totally worth it. You can also upgrade to sweet potato fries. Both fry options are great but if you like your sweet potatoes, these are killer.

Another shining star at Maoz is their salad bar. If you buy a falafel sandwich, you can hit the salad bar and load up with toppings. They have incredible options such a red cabbage, fresh sauces, seasoned couscous and, my favorite, pickled baby eggplants.

I couldn't stop thinking these little guys! I am sure Chris was sick of hearing me rant and rave about Maoz so when I suggested it on Sunday, he agreed to make a detour to New Brunswick on our way out to Silver Forge Farm. I was thrilled! It was everything I remembered it to be and I was glad to see that he enjoyed it as well. For the both of us to get our sandwiches, orange juice upgrades and fries of our choice cost us a little less than $20. The food was fresh and absolutely delicious. I'll tell you what, this particular stretch of George Street in downtown New Brunswick is a force to be reckoned with! Makedas, Chipotle, Maoz and a bunch of other great places are all within a few blocks of eachother. TKO!

We had to hurry over to Manalapan afterwards. We agreed to farm sit for our friends Shannon and Eliezer so we got here ASAP yesterday evening to dispense some dinner to the masses. We had a long list of animals waiting to be fed so we went down the line and tossed some hay to the sheep, feed to the chickens, scraps for the pig and such.... More on that as the week unfolds.

My dog Chowder and his girlfriend Ripley.

Our main charge while we are here is Ripley. Silver Forge lost an important member of the family earlier this month when their golden retriever, Harrison, died of cancer. He went peacefully in his sleep and he's definitely missed around here. Ripley, their St. Bernard, has been especially sad so they were worried about her emotional state if they left her alone while they went on their family trip to Cape Cod. We were excited to step up to the plate when they asked us to spend the next few days here at their farm with her. She has a bad leg so it wouldn't have been possible for her to come to our place and have to go up and down the stairs a lot. Plus, our place is a bit small for such a big girl! Chowder has been keeping after her and making sure she isn't too lonely. As the time has passed, she's grown more accustomed to having us here with her which has been nice. The two of them go in the back yard while we feed the rest of the Silver Forge crew.

They're already close but they were both a bit shaken up at first. Ripley with her family leaving and Chowder with being away from home for the next few days. Today, they've both been better. They seem to be reasonably considerate of one another which has been nice to see. It's definitely been an adjustment not having Harrison around. His dog buddies miss him. Chris and I do as well.

Rest in peace, Harri.

Maoz Vegetarian

385 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ

Times Square
558 7th Ave
at 40th St
New York City

248 South Street
1115 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA

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