Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Frugal Gourmet - Moody's Falafel Palace

I have been called lots of things, most of which I don't take to heart. The term "cheap", however, particularly chaps my hide. I prefer frugal, because I am frugal, and I'll tell you why. Cheap means not paying your share of a bill or tipping pathetically. Frugal means you buy a cheaper item, but pay appropriately. Cheap means staying home on Friday nights. Frugal means going out but drinking PBRs all night. Cheap means shopping exclusively at Goodwill and yard sales. Frugal means spending your money wisely, and refusing to pay MSRP. I am frugal. And proud of it. For those of you who would like to bask in the shade of my frugal wing, I have introduced a new "Frugal" series of blog posts. Today I will be discussing the gem of Central Square: Moody's Falafel Palace.

 In the husk of an old White Castle, Moody's Falafel Palace has amazing hours (11AM-3AM!), criminally delicious food, friendly staff, all for less than $10. A steal in any location, but in the heart of Cambridge, virtually unheard of. I will spare you history and move on to what I consumed yesterday evening, if I can come up with some more forceful adjectives.

I ordered the Chicken Shawarma plate. The Shawarma rested upon a heart scoop of rice pilaf and adjacent to a Middle Eastern salad. I was also given a side of Tahini and pieces of bread wrapped in wax paper. It sounds humble, but it blew my little mind.

In most restaurants, side salad is akin to coleslaw, ie high-volume plate filler. But at Moody's the house salad is really fantastic. It had fresh, delicious chopped cucumber and tomato, some shaved lettuce, diced onions, some herbs and a delicious marinade that had a lemon-vinegar flavor. Really caught me off guard.

With the rice pilaf and the Shawarma intertwined, it's best to probably just pour on some tahini and dive in. If you aren't aware, Shawarma comes from the Turkish word for "turn" which is exactly what the meat does all day, on a spit. It is then shaved off into flaky, crispy bits that can be put into a wrap or spread upon a plate. With a fork full of rice pilaf, it has no substitute. What looked to be simple rice pilaf and chicken "bits" actually exploded with so much flavor that I thought my Diet Coke had been laced with Ecstasy. There was an amazing richness and a creaminess and the slightest tang of feta cheese that I could not find anywhere on the plate. The chicken was soft yet crispy, without the slightest hint of gristle or crunch. The pilaf was fluffy and warm and held the chicken in place when I decided to stack some onto my bread. It was a lot of food for $7.49, and I consider myself a tough customer. I have heard it's hit or miss, but as far as I'm concerned this was out-of-the-park. GO.

1 comment:

  1. "cheap, cheap, cheap..."

    i believe frugal gourmet was coined by jeff smith. js. anyway...

    sounds delicious.