Hummus, Babaghanouj and (center) Israeli Chopped Salad at Tiim
Thank God the New York Times hasn’t lost its Quick Bite. Now that the paper has 86ed its Westchester section, and castrated its county reviewers (who now offer limp “worth its”), the New York/Region’s Quick Bite section is the best county content in the Times.
A couple of weeks ago, Emily DeNitto sang the praises of Taiim Falafel Shack, a newcomer that stepped into the old Comfort spot at 598 Warburton Avenue in Hastings. Though I’m often at odds with Times reviewers (see DeNitto’s impression of New Rochelle’s Spadaro and mine), I’d have to concur that Taiim Falafel Shack is an absolute, stop-the-presses “worth it.”
Comfort’s former nook still only holds a few seats (eight at tables, four at a wall-facing counter—and still, no bathroom), but Taiim is well worth its intimate squeeze. Its falafels are a wonder of texture—soft, yet the chickpeas are distinct and nutty. Unlike many restaurants that use canned chickpeas, at Taiim, they buy the pulses dried and then soak them overnight. This extra effort means that the chickpeas retain some crunchy texture and nutty flavor. After coarsely grinding (and subtle spicing), the chickpeas are formed into balls, fried, then mashed onto freshly grilled pita. The falafels are generously slicked with house-ground tahini sauce—and best of all, they’re enlivened with batons of sour kosher dills and punk-pink pickled turnips. One luscious bite (keep your napkin handy!) and you’ll see why falafels are the dirty-water hot dog of the Middle East.
Pickled turnips, kosher dills, and olives at Taiim
Chicken shawarma and beef shawarma, made with marinated layered meats roasted in an upright rotisserie underneath an onion, are complex and (correctly) a bit funky—like a gyro to the Nth degree. (They’re served with sautéed onions and peppers, as Taiim’s incredibly handy menu key informs us. And who knew? It also seems that warbat are custard-filled phyllo pastries.) We loved Taiim’s veggie sampler with the lemony velvet of tahini-rich hummus, while Taiim’s stellar, cinnamony baklava was honey-soaked yet wonderfully crisp. These precious diamonds are perfect to munch while sipping a glass of cardamom-haunted Turkish coffee. Yum.
Halloween Industry Night at The Cookery
October 29, 11pm-2am
$15 cover; includes food and live music
Think Chef Dave DiBari is the darling of Westchester food press? So pleasant, so cultured, so unassuming—a nice boy? Well, show up on October 29 after The Cookery is closed, and you’ll see the real DiBari in all his twisted glory. We’re talking loud, rude music paired with loud, rude food, like crispy veal tails with gremolata and fried brains with apple mustard and horseradish. You’ll see beef tendons “agro dolce” with shaved escarole and toasted pignoli, so get out of your (culinary) box and, even, come in costume. Sure, the winning costume gets a $50 Cookery gift certificate (perfect to use at the bar), but remember that you’ll have to walk back to your car through cop-swarmed Dobbs Ferry.
Birdsall House Fall Fest
October 23, noon-11pm
Duh! Birdsall House and Oktoberfest: perfect together. This event in the Birdsall House beer garden offers grilled bratwurst, pumpkin ales, and Oktoberfest beers, all slung to the live strains of Phineas and the Lonely Leaves.
“Truly Bloody” Halloween Party
Okay, they had me with the teaser, “Come do bad things…” This True Blood-themed party will offer New Orleans-style brews and food. Now, if only they had some of those hot vampires, too.
If you have bad memories of gobstopping falafels that date from your momentary flirtation with vegetarianism in college (damn you, bacon!), then swing over to Hastings-on-Hudson to Taiim Falafel Shack for a revelation. These juicy, nutty-textured wonders sport intense, house-ground tahini; plus, they’re packed with sprightly pickles and loads of yummy, fresh chickpea flavor.