I met my friend for dinner tonight in Nolita in the freezing cold. We are barely halfway through November, and the temperatures have already reached below freezing. After getting out of the subway, I really got unlucky and walked straight into the chilliest wind tunnel that wouldn’t stop until I reached the restaurant where I was going to meet her. But once inside, I was excited at the idea of eating Egyptian food. My only other experience with Egyptian food has been in Astoria, and that was years ago on a food tour. This time, this spot is far more casual, apparently a chain from Egypt that specializes in tameeya, which are fluffy fried or baked balls of mashed fava beans mixed with different herbs and spices, served with different sauces and vegetables in a fluffy pita-like bread pocket. They are like the Egyptian version of falafel and refuse to be called falafel. They have multiple signs in the restaurant that say “this is not falafel.” It’s actually a bit comical to me.
The flavor was definitely different, but the texture was very much like the better falafels I’ve had. The sauces were also a bit different, as some even included more pickled, piquant flavors, such as pickled lemon, which I wasn’t expecting at all, but was a welcome surprise. It’s always fun to discover new foods in different neighborhoods with friends. I’m lucky to have relatively adventurous friends when it comes to trying new foods.