It would probably be easy to think that I came up with some weird title to this blog post in order to ignite curiosity. But, in fact, I am not so clever (or wasn't until I realized how bizarre it was to throw Lenny Kravitz's name in to the mix). The truth is the Lenny piece of this puzzle did not actually appear until the end of my experience in aforementioned falafel wars but I think by the end, we'll all feel better for it.
There are two things you really need to know in order to really understand why I am writing this post, other than the fact that I want to make sure if any of you readers find yourself in Paris, you have a tip on where to grab a cheap, delightful meal.
1. I have been living in the Marais area of Paris for the last month. It is known as the Jewish part of town (and also the gay bit but that's another story entirely).
2. I never cared much for falafel. There are very few forms that chickpeas can take that I feel comfortable participating in.
There is a little street in the Marais, Rue des Rosiers, that you might otherwise mistake of an alleyway if you walk by it too quickly. And once you start to walk down the street, you might actually still keep that idea in your head. It's cobbled, narrow and cars can drive down it but there is no proper designation between road and pedestrian path. Basically, they try to look out for you and you better look out for them. The further you walk on this little street, you'll start to notice that you pass one falafel joint after another and it becomes very obvious that you are in the hub of all things Jewish cuisine.
BUT TOURIST BEWARE! There is one falafel joint that trumps all others and it is important that you eat there because Lenny Kravitz says so (see photo of menu below).
L'As du Falafel is not hard to find. It's green and there is always a massive line out front. So massive in fact that there are bossy men, usually smoking cigarettes, that have the sole job of managing the lines, taking orders and payment and making sure that by the time you get to the window where your food awaits, all you have to do is hand the nice men your ticket, answer 'yes' or 'no' to 'do you want spicy sauce' and get the hell out of the way. (Run-on sentence, lay off, I'm trying to help.)
I ended up there for lunch one day because my bakery was closed, my local creperie was taking it's time setting up and I was ravenous. I had heard a lot of great things and thought it might be worth a try. I get the hype. It's amazing. For a country that is pretty obsessed with red meat, this is a welcome treat and for under 6 Euro, you can be quite sure of a brilliant meal. So brilliant that I brought my mom there for her first ever falafel the other night and she fell in love so much that she now delights by people watching from my big Parisian windows and saying 'another person with a falafel!' every minute or so. She's so cute.
Keep in mind though, these guys close early on Fridays and are not open on Saturdays. It's just the way things go.
Directions and whatnot for L'As du Falafel here.