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Amsterdam Falafel: PHYSICS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

Agh! Sorry to be a bit of a Sourpuss Swank lately in recent threads, but ... I simply must vent about AF. Mr. Swank and I grabbed a quick bite there a couple of nights ago. I hadn't been since it opened, and chalked up my initial gripes (unwieldy toppings bar, cramped quarters) to early kinks. Ugh. It was worse than I remembered.

First of all, we were greeted by a very bored lad behind the counter who seemed completely confused that I wanted my falafels in a bowl. Mr. Swank got his in pita form. Now: He piled his sandwich high with every topping known to man. I judiciously topped my balls and toted them in a bowl. His meal cost $4 something. Mine? $8!! ALL FOR A PLASTIC BOWL?

I had the last laugh, though, since Mr. Swank's sandwich promptly fell apart. He had to finally rest his gooey, toppings-laden sandwich on a dirty tray, since plates were nowhere in sight. What is the point? Why not offer larger pitas for easier topping application, or at the very least some kind of paper platewear? Half of his sandwich ended up on the tray or on the floor.

My falafel balls were turgid and grainy. We also ordered fries -- a measly portion to be sure. Add to this tiny tables, rickety chairs, and downright filthy floors, and we're not going back soon. Sad, as we loved AF in DC!!

Hmph.

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  1. A pita costs a fixed $5.50 for 3 balls and you can add as much extra stuff as fits in a pita. Sounds like Mr. Swank tried to fit in even more and discovered that that doesn't work.

    If you want to add as much stuff as you want instead of being limited by what can fit in a pita, you can get a bowl like you did, but then you pay by weight since you can add way more stuff. It seems reasonable to me.

    1. Did the same thing as you...went when they opened, thought it was good but there were kinks, and went back again last Friday night. Still pretty kinky.

      Loaded up my pita and was greeted at the register by an employee who for some reason apologized to me and said she was feeling dizzy?
      Okay.
      It was a very strange juggling match between my pita, fries, wallet, card, and trying to sign the slip. I know there are holders there, and I used them...but the whole exchange was not easy. Fountain drinks being out of view while at the register is annoying too.

      At least they put holes in the tables to stick your fry cones in...although at some point as you eat the fries, it's just going to fall through.

      I'll try again if I need to eat something fast before a movie at the theatre, as I do actually like the falafel and toppings.

      1. I honestly don't understand the trepidation about the system at this place.

        The whole point is that the pita self-limits the amount of toppings you can add (at least in theory). I mean, if you wanna keep squeezing those size 24 toppings into that size 4 pita, who's fault is that?

        I have been a handful of times and each time, the falafels have been fresh from the fryer and I have had no trouble navigating the holders. (Put in holder. Complete transaction before trying to reacquire grip on pita.) I suppose a cone of fries on top of things would be more of a challenge. Haven't noticed any cleanliness issues, and the crew I guess has been sort of college-y space-y, but that's what you get in Davis.

        1. Last time I was there I saw somebody who had filled their pita so much that it had taken on a cone shape. He then put his falafel cone in one of the holes in the tables. Seemed like a good idea, but it fell over before he got back to the table. It would be kind of nice to have a holder on the tables, but it's not that big a deal. Just hold on to your pita the whole time or make sure you don't overstuff and lay it gently on its side.

          As far as how they price the stuff, I think it's pretty simple. Veggies cost substantially more than chickpeas, so they try to limit how many veggies you can load up on unless you pay for them by weight. They want to keep the price low because it is fast food and they need to keep it affordable for the students. Never went for the bowl option, but previous posters said it cost $6 for a good amount of stuff, so unless they raised the price per pound...

          The two times I have gone, I have thoroughly enjoyed my falafel sandwich, found it to be a good deal, and had no problem with my pita self-destructing or losing filling everywhere. Definitely a more relaxing experience if you can avoid the lunch rush.

          And Swank, didn't you say in the previous thread that the large fries was a huge portion?

          1 Reply
          1. re: nickls

            Yes. Also humorous, in light of the recent complaining about messy floors, are the tales of her husband dropping stuff all over the floor.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857897

          2. Unless this place has dramatically raised their prices and gone utterly downhill, it doesn't sound like the AF I'm used to. Perhaps Swank went at a bad time (the Tufts lunch/dinner rush can leave the place sort of disheveled) but I've found that the pitas are sort of self-limiting. You smush down the falafel balls, fill the pita until it gets nearly unwieldy, and then stop.