One of the meanest food-related things I’ve ever done involved sabich, an Israeli dish of fried eggplant and sliced hard-boiled eggs stuffed in a pita with accoutrements, frequently found where falafel is sold. What about this delicious-sounding Middle Eastern specialty made me act out so irrationally and with great reason to apologize? A heatwave.
I try not to pick favorites, but if I had to pick my top three food trucks in the city, Taïm would be pretty close to the top. They have some of the best falafel I’ve ever eaten, those consumed in the Middle East included. Exactly one year ago, during a wild heat wave just like this one, I trekked over to Taïm’s old location across from Bryant Park to meet my friend Jon, who boasts an equal if not greater love of falafel, but we were there for sabich day. Sabich day is not every day. I got in line, which appeared to be an entirely reasonable 20 minutes, and waited, wilting quickly in the overbearing humidity. After 10 minutes, I texted to see where he was.
“I’m on my way.”
“I’ve been in line for 10 minutes and it’s hot and you’re an asshole and I’m not holding your spot.”
“B there soon!”
“U suck I hate you.”
If after hearing that story you’re thinking “that’s the meanest food-related thing she’s ever done?” it’s because I’m usually a pretty nice person. Especially when it comes to sharing my food. But this story isn’t over.
I got to the front of the line a shade or two tanner and ordered a sabich with everything: hummus, tahini, za’atar, pickles, hot peppers and amba, a pickled mango condiment similar to achar. Just as I got my number, Jon showed up, sweaty and presumably very hungry. Rather than let him cut in or even just order for him, I maintain that the the sun caused me to banish him to the back of the line. I received nods of approval from those behind me. He asked if I was serious, and I simply glared.
As soon as he got to the back of the line I felt incredibly bad, so I waited in line with him as long as I could and shared my ginger-mint lemonade, then headed back to Food Republic Headquarters with my precious sabich and sides of Israeli and quinoa salads.
“That was uncool,” he G-chatted me, when he got back to his office quite a while later.
“I realize that, but lesson learned: don’t be late on sabich day. Also, those people would have killed me if I let you in.”
He understood and forgave me, as any true friend would. Plus he was super late. And we may not have had sabich in the park like we’d planned, but that’s probably a good thing looking back on it because old dudes like sunbathing shirtless in Bryant Park during lunchtime in the summer.
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