The Truck: Hallava Falafel, 5825 Airport Way S., 307-4769
The Fare: Russo-Turkic fast food
The Stop: It must first be noted that in the short narrative of food trucks within Seattle not within the Mexican and Latin-American food tradition, Hallava Falafel is first-generation. In fact, one can say it is in its own class of O.G. status. Before the food-truck explosion, Hallava Falafel was there, striving to serve classic and authentic falafel--no "our own take," certainly no fusion--in an accessible way more affordable for the people. Founded in 2006, Hallava Falafel is now parked permanently on Airport Way South in Georgetown, across from the decrepit brick edifices that give Georgetown its signature industrial chic. Their atmospheric aesthetic, efficacy, sparse dining options, and staunch commitment to cater to the proletariat's wallet is vaguely Soviet in its discipline--it's serious business--and the food is that much more consistant and delectable because of it.The choices are simple: there's the Falafel Sandwich ($6.75) and the Shawarma Sandwich ($7.25), both of which are served on a pita and "cradled" in spinach, a Russian red relish, cabbage, and lettuce. The sandwiches are then positively smothered in light yogurt tzatziki sauce, with a slender Wild Armenian pickled cucumber embedded somewhere therein.
The result is unglamorous--as evidenced by the beauty shot above--but deeply delicious. The falafel is clearly freshly made in-house, lightly fried with such a complex compliment of spices that it's painfully evident how normalized we have become to the hardened, deep-fried, and one-note chickpea brick passing as a delicacy. While the falafel sandwich may be overloaded with tzatziki sauce--which will get everywhere, be warned--the tang of the relishes and fresh bite of the lettuce, spinach, and cabbage highlight the falafel itself. That is not even to mention the Wild Armenian pickled cucumber, which is a slender nub of awesome. It is the pickle's pickle.
The shawarma--the traditional "blend" of meats grilled in an oblong stack upon a vertical spit--features lamb and beef, and was slow-cooked and seasoned to a T, although a bit lukewarm. Which is better is up to you: The falafel has a bolder flavor, while the shawarma holds it down with its rich meatiness. Both sandwiches boast a variety of tasty elements without tasting like a clusterf*ck.
The third and last menu item featured at Hallava is their "Double Dropped Fries" ($4.25) served with tzatziki sauce and secret seasoning. I did not partake of the fries, but they are a veritable pile: thinly cut, double-fried. If you're into that kind of thing, they are quite the sandwich complement; plan on arriving to Hallava Falafel starving, as I could barely finish my sandwich as it was.
They have built an atmosphere awning with a row of chairs to wait and eat on, a utilitarian arrangement that keeps the local crowd flowing and fed. It is worth it to eat there with a spread of napkins on your lap; otherwise, transport the sandwich carefully to a place with a forgiving eating surface. While the truck may be mobile, this is not a sandwich to eat on the road.
Vitmo: The People's Cherry Soda
One last highlight was "Vimto: Fruit Flavored Drink," a can of carbonated cherry soda that is reportedly very popular throughout the Middle East and Europe. Although most cherry-flavored products remind me of cough syrup, this soda was a sweet, refreshing accompaniment to my statement of a sandwich.