Dish of the Week: Falafel Bowl at Naf Naf Grill

Back in 2011 I spent five months in Israel, where I ate falafel approximately once a meal. There was a falafel stand down the street from my apartment and I became such a regular customer that I thought falafel and I would be #bffs. Instead, I returned home and to this day even the sight of falafel inspires, at best, massive indifference. I didn’t realize how sick of it I would become after coming back to a city that has, you know, other food. But Naf Naf may have brought me back. For those unaware, Naf Naf is not only your standard fast casual joint, but it’s just Chipotle, only instead of guac on a tortilla, you get hummus on a pita (among other things — please don’t assume that I go to Chipotle and order, “A burrito please. No, no meat or fillings, just some guac… Yes, I know it’s extra”). I don’t know what inspired me to choose the falafel over the steak or chicken shawarma — those balls just looked tasty — and it was undeniably the best thing I ate all week. Continuing our discussion of Naf Naf’s balls, they are huge and have a lot going on inside them. (Heh.) Crunchy outside, but a soft, almost doughy inside. Like I said above, I might just be back on the falafel train.

And in the rest of the bowl, I piled on all the staples, like cucumber/tomato salad, pickles, and s’khug, a delightfully fire-breathing sauce that I fell in love with in Israel. Mixed up together, the whole thing reminded me of memories eating curbside in the desert, despite being in a crowded, no-longer-that-snowy downtown Minneapolis spot.