Sunday, December 11, 2011

East Side Pockets: A Providence Institution

Falafel and Chicken Combo Wrap
 My bigger half is a proud Rhode Islander and experienced a youth where he basically played in a band and hung out 24-7 in Olneyville. Living the dream, as it were, comes at a cost... basically you're not getting your vitamins from the bucketloads of Baccardi mixed with koolaid packets that are characteristic of being young and throbbing with awesome. But every so often, he would fall into the "I need subsistence" trap, and find himself guided by a power which nothing could thwart to Thayer Street in order to get a combo pocket with falalfel, chicken and all the toppings from East Side Pockets. 
Now there are three specific elements that make this a divine, godly, pipe-bomb-sized wrap of a sandwich.
First, there is the falafel. Many a Brown University grad has waxed poetic to me about how the thing they miss most about Providence is indeed East Coast Pockets. The falafel there is just that good. It's light and fluffy on the inside, and exemplifies the ideal of crispy on the outside. The fluffy inner texture is nutty, and touched with the flavor of many herbs, which I'm sure that the take out phenom will never disclose. As it collapses within ones mammoth jaws, there is a texture and flavor explosion with the crunchy outer area giving way to the pillowy delight within. Yes, my friends, several perfectly fried falafel fill this sandwich.
Quality and Quantity ::Tear::
Second, because my folk are neither dieters nor vegetarians, we choose a meat to complement the falafel. The chicken grilled on the flat top, even more so it seems when the restaurant is busy and bustling, is moist, juicy, and perfectly cooked. It oozes a savory juice into the heart of the wrap and adds that familiar satisfying chew that you can really only achieve via a meat. For these reasons, the chicken is a necessary ingredient that you must add to the falafel wrap and make it a combo.
Third, you must have all the toppings. You can order at East Side, packed with a line of hungry college students and Providence hipsters, either like a local, "with everything" and move on... or not. If you do not, and you stand staring, slack-jawed like a one of those soccer moms who will never be cool (there are plenty of cool soccer moms, but you know the ones I'm talkin' bout), you will be impatiently guided by the semi-frenzied staff through each and every one of the ingredients. Know the toppings before hand if you're picky, and order everything if you're smarter than the average bear. Why? Because they're all an essential part of this sandwich. There is hot sauce, which can be described as a medium spicy and tangy. Then there are your veggies: lettuce, onions, and tomato. Then the real sauces. There's a wonderful zesty tabouleh, a lemony tahina, which I think is a combination of sesame flavors and citrus, and the famous creamy and tangy yogurt and cucumber sauce. The three sauces bring a nutty, earthy, herby, pinch of sour mix to the sandwich. Finally, what party is complete without a few honkin pickle slices? That's right. The pickles are also loud and clear in the sandwich.
Amazing flavor!
Wrapped so tightly that you couldn't fit an extra ounce of anything, one is invited to peel off the foil and paper from the wrap, as to inch your way down the mammoth tube of plenty. Every flavor is magnificent. The fluffy, signature falafel, and the satisfying chicken, mingled with sauces that play upon each other to give you something citrusy, tangy as a sour cream, smooth as a yoghurt, and fresh as all the herbs of summer, at the end hitting you with the sour of the pickles and the poke of the hot sauce.
If I said this sandwich was in my top five, I'd be lying. After much inner debate, it doubtless makes the top three. So remember, if you're hungry, you best head to Thayer Street, and get the falafel chicken combo with everything.


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