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Papa Kebab: is this the best falafel in New York?

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I am not one for writing odious, New York Post-like headlines, but I really want falafel connoisseurs to eat these and let me know what you think. As you know, falafels are as common year-round as pumpkin spice lattes in fall - those crunchy, golden bally things that make vegetarians feel superior and placate meat-eaters forced to share a table with them.


They're typically yellow or golden brown outside, and often the same inside. Except at Papa Kebab, an unpretentious little eaterie in West Chelsea whose unfortunately pedestrian name belies the excellence of its food. More about that in a minute.

"If they're yellow inside it's from a mix, these are fresh," says the owner.

Prodded for the recipe, she revealed that they contain fresh cooked chickpeas, ground up celery, cilantro and spices. The result is a crunchy falafel with amazing moistness, complexity and depth inside, neither too spicy nor tangy (like the extremely inferior falafel from PRET - you'd think…

Chelsea Nabe Food 'n' Foraging Cheat Sheet

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West Chelsea ChEatSheetNOSH-OUTS FOR THRIFTY FOODIES in WEST CHELSEA (plus some extra places a bit further afield)
West Chelsea (16th-30th streets between 8th and 11th Aves in my book), has a surprising concentration of good, inexpensive eats, especially as you drift west towards the Hudson, and especially on 9th Avenue. As rampant generification of this nabe takes hold, I maintain this page as a kind of neighborhood rescue service: quite often, mediocrity gets more traffic because people keep going to the same places old they know. It takes a lot for a new place to gain momentum - it can go out of business before it even gets started. Having worked in food,  I know that if you don't patronize a good place, one day it won't be there - Duane Reade is a such a crappy place to have a nice meal ...

So without further ado, below is the content of an occasional missive I send to a list of neighbors who live a 0.1 mile radius from my digs in Chelsea (to be on my list email me at galf…

$3.50: MUJI's minimalist metrosexual toothbrush

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TWO MONTHS after returning from my whirlwind bike+bullet train visit to Japan, I'm still turning Japanese. I'm cooking up a nabe storm in my Kyoto nabemono, I'm drinking sencha+matcha at all the wrong moments (like before going to bed) and I'm leafing luxuriantly through the copy of The Aesthetics of the Japanese Lunchbox by Kenji Ekuan "one of Japan's foremost industrial designers".

Ekuan-san romances the minimalist, orderly tension of the bento box with such a lyrical reverence I wouldn't be surprised if he had something to do with the design of this toothbrush.

This is just toothbrush. Thank god.  It's not an mp3 player to groove along to while you floss. It's not a vibrating wand with meat-seeking infra-red technology to hunt and destroy trapped flesh of dead animal from your fajita binge. It's not an exercise in Pantone mayhem and ergonomic design overkill that typifies the average Oral-Turbo-ABC.

It's actually even less than you…