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Eata Pita
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Eata Pita

This was the week I was living in my RV. Did I ever tell you this story? No? Yeah, I lived in an RV for about two weeks in June before moving into my place on Delancey.

Lived. In an RV. On 31st between 1st and 2nd. I had an RV party, and people came, and we played cards and drank. In my RV.

There’s this RV in the village called the “Free Willy Nelson.” The guy has his cell phone listed on the back of the rig – I’m assuming this is to make sure someone can contact him if there’s any issues with it instead of calling a tow truck. Before I drove the RV up, I texted him a few times asking him how hard it was to live in an RV in the city, and he never got back to me. I assumed that his non-response meant that it was pretty easy to live in NYC in an RV and he didn’t need any competition (or that he was a crazy weirdo recluse, you decide).

Living in the RV for two weeks wasn’t that bad. I got a free seven day trial to 24 hour fitness in Madison Square, then I got a 30 day trial membership to NYSC on 1st in Murray Hill. I could shower and use the bathroom in the RV anytime. I spent most of the day at Starbucks for wifi. I ate out every meal, (but there’s nothing special about that as a New Yorker).

As I exited Starbucks this particular day, I had my Red Sox hat on and some frustrated and quizzical mannerisms going on, because a girl asked me what I was looking for as if I was a tourist (but it was simply that my blackberry just worked like shit). I wanted to know where I could get some AWESOME cheap food within a few blocks of 31st and Park. “Eata Pita is pretty good,” she said.

“I don’t want pretty good; I want awesome. Is Eata Pita awesome?” I asked? She either modified her stance on the issue or placated me with agreement on the term. I walked down to the corner, peered in past the boisterous Eata Pita salesman outside, and the line sold me.

The salad selection didn’t look to shabby:

The deal they had going was something like Falafel and salad for $3. First, I thought the line might have been because of the price, not the food, and while this was surely part of it, there’s another part to the equation I’ll get to later.

Of course, I am a huge Mamoun’s fan (still haven’t written them up). Mamoun’s is probably my favorite $2.50 to spend in the city, to get this falafel (with as many cucumbers and red onions and as much tahini and hot sauce as you want) for $3 is pretty awesome, I would agree, but for $5.75, it’s only awesome if you don’t know you can get two of them for seventy-five cents less a mile south of here.

The Falafel:

Like I said, awesome for $3, pretty good for $5.75 in Midtown. My gauges for excellent falafel: Crispiness on the outside, Smoothness on the inside, Greenness on the inside. Yes, the more green the better I feel. The less green, the more chickpeas – more green, more parsley. I mean, if I had anything to do with making falafel, I would put green food coloring in mine just to make it more green. This one was green as hell inside ..

but I couldn’t get the white balance right. I should have shot this photo outside.

The one thing you want to take away from this review: the tahini and hot sauce were MONEY. I absolutely loved the combination. Then I tried them side by side and the hot sauce one the flavor battle. I crushed the rest of the falafel and killed the salad – no pics of the salad; nothing special.

Satisfied, I decided I’d go to Bryant Park for the rest of the day and enjoy the scenery/get inspired. I was on Madison when I realized that I didn’t have a shot of the hot sauce:

I back and crossed Park to get a shot of this hot sauce. Yes, it was that good. You wouldn’t put it past me for slugging that ramekin of hot sauce, and that’s exactly what I did (dotted with a little tahini). When I came back, the place was empty. I looked at my watch, looked around for any differences, and noticed that the loquacious sales guy was taking a smoke break around the corner.

“That guy must be pretty good, huh?” I asked the cashier.

“Yeah, fills the place right up. He’s a natural.”

I mean, it can’t hurt when you’re slanging gorgeous $3 Falafel + Salad combos in Midtown.

Just to reiterate, the regular price is $5.75. Great at $3, not awful at $5.75, but not nearly as great.

Eata Pita
441 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8002
(212) 725-7482

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Tuscan Foodie in America August 27, 2010, 4:20 pm

    Funny you should mention the green in your falafel: jus the other day I was discussing with my wife how falafel in Chicago – but apparently in NY as well – are green. In Belgium – where I lived for a very long time – you couldn’t get a green falafel if your life depended on it. Same in Italy. I guess the proportion of cheakpeas must be completely different.

    I wonder whether this has anything to do with an “americanization” of the falafel, or if it Belgium and Italy that got it wrong. Never ate a falafel where they are really from.

    Who knows. And who cares, when you get such a deal like the one you describe!

    • Hagan August 27, 2010, 4:52 pm

      I don’t remember the falafels at Amsterdam Falafelshop being really green. These guys took their version from the Amsterdam version (northern European version?). I don’t know where it comes from, but I love the green.

  • New in New York September 4, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Hi Wandering Foodie,
    that looks really tasty. I live in the area (not in a RV though) but have never been to Eata Pita. Must try it soon. If you’d asked me where to find awesome food, I would have said Penelope on 30th and Lex. You know it?
    I recently startet my very first blog, it’s in Danish (since I’m from Denmark) but my latest post is about finding the best burger in NYC. Please drop by and post a comment if you have a good recommandation :)

  • Hagan September 8, 2010, 7:07 am

    Really, the RV thing is clutch if you’re in between residences – We all need a little RV now and then.

    Penelope? What kind of cuisine?

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