Saturday, October 6, 2012

Frieten and Falafels

I have been fortunate enough to travel to Amsterdam twice (once while in college and again on a side trip after attending my friend's wedding in England) and the food there is delicious.  I remember eating a lot of street food including a good amount of frites (similar to french fries) with a mayonnaise dipping sauce.  So when I saw the write up for Amsterdam Falafelshop in the Post's Washington 40 Essential Eats, I vowed to make a special trip up to Adams Morgan just to try it out.  

I will go to Adams Morgan and attempt to find parking, just for you Amsterdam Falafelshop
Like most locations in Adams Morgan, the shop is tiny with about 5 tables and a few bar stools to eat at (with a cool counter design made of 'menus' from the various coffeeshops in Amsterdam).  The menu is simple - they offer frieten and falafels.  You basically can order a large or a small falafel sandwich (small = 3 falafel balls, large = 5 falafel balls) and frieten (Belgian french fries).  I really like places that only offer two to four things on their menu because chances are, they do those menu items really well and aren't distracted by trying to do too much in terms of selection.  

They even take Euros!  But what about the guilder?  Hmm...

I got the small falafel sandwich and my husband and I split an order of frieten.  Amsterdam Falafelshop has an extensive topping bar to select different accompaniments for your sandwich.  They have all kinds of toppings including yogurt dill sauce, hummus, red cabbage, pickled beets and fried eggplant.  

So many choices and only one sandwich to work with...  Nooooo!

There is a special technique involved to be able to smash down the falafel balls and load up on the maximum amount toppings.  I have not mastered it yet, but I feel that with some practice, I could get pretty good.  For my sandwich, I added the yogurt dill sauce, jalapeno cilantro, and some tomato/onion mixture.   

The toppings make every sandwich different than the last

My falafel sandwich was fantastic.  The falafels were so good - crispy and spicy with definite flavor of cardamom.  And the toppings were the perfect additions.  Halfway through my sandwich I ran low on toppings.  You know that means - a trip back to the topping bar!  This time I opted for the garlic sauce and the red cabbage.  The special treat for my lunch were the frieten.  

Even served in the paper cone like they do in Amsterdam

The frieten were golden and lightly salted - yum!  And the mayonnaise dip was expertly crafted - creamy and smooth (very different than American mayonnaise which can be bitter and is not the same when dipping frieten).  As an added bonus, they provided the wooden picks to spear your fry and dip!
It was well worth the wait to find the time to get up to Adams Morgan for lunch at Amsterdam Falafelshop.  I would love to go again and try different combinations of toppings.  If only parking weren't so difficult!  Maybe there is an Amsterdam Falafelshop food truck in the makings?  
Amsterdam Falafelshop on Urbanspoon

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