I have sworn off frozen yogurt. There, I said it. Why, you might ask, would someone willingly deprive themselves of such an epicurean delight? Also, what the heck does frozen yogurt have to do with falafel, anyway? We’ll get there.
Frozen yogurt is a blank slate…a blank slate on which you can pile obscene quantities of toppings, sauces, and strange gelatinous things. The issue arises when you place your masterpiece atop the foreboding scale and the outcome is an unexpected price.
Such was my experience a few months ago, when I shamefully managed to spend seven dollars – let me repeat, SEVEN DOLLARS – on froyo. The thing with self-serve froyo is that there is no going back. Once you realize that you don’t actually want to pay seven bucks for a bowl of cheesecake bites and red velvet mush, well, tough luck buddy. The frozen yogurt gods, aka the geniuses behind this business model, are not on your side with this one. The falafel gods? Well that’s another story.
Meet Liba Falafel, San Francisco’s falafel bar on wheels. Order your base, a falafel pita or salad, and then go crazy at the toppings bar because you won’t have to go back and weigh your meal. It is just $7 for the pita and $9 for the salad. That’s it. Pile on as many toppings as you could possibly fit, and be on your merry, satiated, not broke way.
At Liba Falafel, everything tastes great together, so you won’t have to decide between braised eggplant in tomato sauce or rosemary peanuts, which truly is a decision no human should be forced to make. It’s all good and it’s all fresh.
If you are in the try-every-single-topping business, as I am, I recommend the salad. In the salad you will get fresh greens, crispy falafel drizzled with tahini and chimichuri, and plenty of surface area upon which to load up your flavorful additions. Toppings include anything from the likes of fried pickled onions or tomato ginger chutney, to snap pea-fennel salad and oh so much more.
The toppings, delectable as they may be, are not the only stars of the show. Let me tell you, their falafel is really something else. Liba takes its falafel crafting seriously, a practice that could easily be overlooked since the toppings are so great. Each ball of chickpea magic is perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, two features rarely achieved in unison. The sweet potato fries, tossed with garlic, cilantro, and lime, are equally drool-worthy. Like the falafel, sweet potato fries are pretty easy to screw up, but Liba keeps them crispy, hot, and flavorful. For the ultimate combo, order The Loveboat, a basket of sweet potato fries topped with smashed falafel, harissa, and raita. Has your jaw dropped yet? Are you drooling on your keyboard uncontrollably? Thought so.
In case you’re not already convinced, let me repeat myself. Liba Falafel is good. Really really good. I may not be willing to drop seven bucks on a frozen dessert, but I’ll happily fork it over for tender falafel with inventive toppings. Take my money, Liba, like you’ve already taken my heart.
– Bay Area Contributor, Sienna Mintz