A Slice of Fried Gold

General Bracket #1: (3) Falafel King vs. (6) Hula Hands

Thursday, March 11, 2010
This throwdown features two of the more forgotten types of food in Anchorage: Middle Eastern vs. Polynesian/Hawaiian. Both are epic in their deliciousness. Both are poorly represented in the city. Yet both of these restaurants are great. Who will win in this showdown between Falafel King and Hula Hands? The answer may surprise you.

Or not. That remains to be seen.

Falafel King: This tiny, tiny joint off of Gambell and...street that will not be named is a pretty simple one in options (falafel, schwarma, schnitzel), but definitely not simple in flavor or in serving. I mean, whether you're throwing down any of their three primary foods, you know you're going to be filled when you're done. Their schwarma is so packed to the gills in meat, veggies, more meat, tahini, more meat, and veggies that you'll a) need to wear a bib and b) grow a second stomach to handle the amount you get. Not only that, but everything is mixed and matched perfectly to hit the apex of tasty, satisfying you to the very last bite. Plus, it's served with a smile generally, as the main woman who works there is very sweet.

The biggest problems with this place is that it is often impossible to predict when it will be open. I'll go there during regular hours and they will have a sign that says "returning in 5 minutes" that rarely actually reflects the amount of time they will be gone. On top of that. I wasn't kidding about the bib. This is maybe the single most messy food in town. If you can successfully eat a lamb schwarma without evacuating its back end all over yourself, you're a greater person than I. A bib probably isn't a proper recommendation. A hazmat suit might be more fitting.

Hula Hands: Just typing those nine letters made me hungry. That's how you know it's good. This place serves Hawaiian classics (note: my all-time favorite restaurant was a Hawaiian place in Moscow, Idaho) like Kahlua Pig, Pehelu Chicken, Spam and Eggs, and more, and all of it is absurdly delicious. Meals are paired with the classic combination of white rice and mac salad, and it's as delectable and simple as you can get. On top of that, it's inexpensive and remarkably fast - I once got my food in 3 minutes on a packed evening. Crazy.

They also have an amazing beer and wine selection for such a small place (La Fin Du Monde!), have incredible service, and are located two minutes from my place. Are there negatives to this place? ARE THERE??!

The Showdown: I love me some Falafel King. It fills a niche that I haven't really met since I left Europe, in which little shops like them are on every street corner. Yet, Hula Hands hits one of my favorite food varieties and does it as negative free as everyone with a lot of roaring positives. As I mentioned, I have a bit of a Pavlovian response just to their name and may actually be forced to eat there today because I love it so much. Sorry Falafel King, you went up against one of the fastest risers in the entire tournament.


DJ Encyclopedia Brown said...

IMO, the service at Falafel King is terrible. Taking forever and not washing your hands is not a good look.

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