Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just Like Mama Used to Make

“Can I please get a large Mama’s?”
“White or wheat?”
“Wheat please.”
“Why wheat? White tastes better and is healthier."
“Haha, okay.”
“You want hot sauce?”
“A little bit.”
“Have you been here before?”
“Yeah, a lot.”
“Do you live here?”
“I go to school here.”
“I go to Penn.”
“Ooh, so you’re smart.”
“I try.”

This is the kind of friendly (and if you’re a girl, flirtatious) service you can expect from the cute Israeli boys behind the counter at Mama’s Vegetarian, the infamous Kosher falafel joint on 20th, between Market and Chestnut. Falafel from Mama’s is something of a Sunday afternoon tradition for me.

The falafel are always hot out of the deep fryer and the necessary condiments are constantly being refilled from buckets of freshly chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. The guys who make your sandwich are not only good-looking with exotic accents, but they assemble your meal like only a professional falafelist could. The slice, spread, dollop, scoop, 3 falafel, scoop, 2 falafel, squeeze of tahini...it's a process that makes you feel like you're watching a well-oiled machine. The only delay can be when you have to wait for more falafel to come out of the fryer, which in the end is even better because they are hot and greasy and even more delicious.

Expect to see all sorts of unexpected clientele at Mama’s on your average Sunday afternoon. You have the older Orthodox Jewish couple, the young Israelis, the Orthodox college students, maybe an Asian or Indian kid, and many others of ambiguous descent. Basically, everyone goes to Mama’s. And you’d be silly not to – where else can you get a hearty and delicious meal, entertaining service included, for only $5? That doesn’t include the wide selection of Israeli beverages in the cooler or the numerous side dishes.

If you’re there during peak hours, be prepared to wait--after all, Mama’s is no secret. And they aren't open on Saturdays because of Shabbat--this is probably the main drawback of it being a Kosher restaurant. Mama's is cash only, but there is a Wawa with a no-surcharge ATM at 20th and Chestnut.

If you haven’t been to Mama’s, I recommend going. It's my favorite restaurant in this entire city, although I probably haven’t been to enough to seriously judge. It's at least my favorite lunch spot. And if for some reason you find yourself down on South Street, or if you want meat, there is Mama’s Grill between 6th and 7th.

Moral of the story: eat at Mama’s!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...