Foxy Falafel vs. World Street Kitchen: A falafel fracas

Categories: Food Fight

Photo courtesy of Foxy Falafel
Falafel with sprouts

Which do you prefer: boutiques, tiny cafes, and record stores that specialize in Northern Soul 45s or malls, Macy's, and other convenient all-in-one emporiums with groceries and tires and tube socks?

Your answer is not only the key to predicting our future economic landscape, it also relates to this Food Fight. Where you buy what you buy matters, whether it's yachts or brats. Or falafel. Especially falafel. A family favorite or a meat substitute to appease your vegetarian sweetie, falafel is a savory, crunchy, wonderful dietary staple that has been around forever.

See also:
A Baker's Wife vs. Sarah Jane's Bakery: The chocolate croissant crucible

Photo courtesy of World Street Kitchen

The Venue:
Foxy Falafel is a hip, homey cafe just off University Avenue in St. Paul. Within its wood-panelled walls tastefully decorated with pine cones and antlers, Foxy turns out consistently great food and delicious specialty iced teas. If any restaurant ever deserved a fireplace, this brick-and-mortar incarnation of their famous food truck is it.
On the other side of town in South Minneapolis is World Street Kitchen. Its spacious, well-lit dining room is great for sampling strong versions of street eats from around the world; WSK is particularly good at Moroccan, Indian, and Korean treats. But don't let the chrome fool you. Both places would be perfect spots for Arcade Fire-loving, Sundays at Moosewood-following, hackey-sack-kicking, youth hostel-crashing hippies manqué everywhere.

The Weigh-in:
Foxy Falafel is the specialist. Their menu boasts other items worth trying -- the cauliflower steak is outstanding -- but their reputation rests comfortably on their falafel. In contrast, World Street Kitchen is the generalist. Their falafel burger is just one of the many options that mix tastes from around the globe. If you don't get their falafel, know that their MFC biscuit sandwich is a can't-miss, Platonic fried chicken ideal.

Round 1: The bread
Foxy Falafel offers its traditional falafel sandwich in fresh and tender pita bread. Wrapped in paper to help keep it together as you eat, the pita does not distract from the main attraction. But it also falls apart pretty easily. As part of World Street Kitchen's more American approach, they put their falafel sandwich on a soft onion roll. Much like a great hamburger bun, this is easier to pick up and put down between bites. The roll also makes the sandwich heartier and more filling.

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