Hungry Pocket Wants to Teach You How To Eat Falafel
This sign should have been a premonition. Not all falafel sandwiches require this kind of attention to spillage, but the ones at Hungry Pocket certainly do… a fact I discovered the hard way yesterday. Situated right across the street from Santa Monica College, HP was first brought to my attention by KCRW producer (and Profiled Midtown Lunch’er) Harriet Els, who listed it as one of her go-to lunches. Her endorsement was less than enthusiastic (she called the falafel “decent”), but when this week’s Profiled Lunch’er Steven called it the best falafel he’s found in L.A. I knew it was time for a visit to this college student hang out.
The seating inside is half counter, half tables but this might as well be a take out spot. It’s small, and run down, looking every bit its age (the place is over 25 years old.) The falafel comes as a sandwich for $4.25, or as a platter for $7.35 with eggplant, hummus, and tabuli.
The sandwich comes in a decent, pre packaged pita, that they grill for a few seconds before filling it with falafel, lettuce, tomato, and tahini. You can add extras like hummus, grape leaves, olives, eggplant, and avocado (only in LA!), for 50 cents each. The falafel themselves were excellent. Crunchy on the outside, not too dry on the inside, and very flavorful. But the rest of the sandwich was as Harriet put it… “decent”. The pita fell apart almost instantly, and the whole thing turned into a gigantic mess. Next time, I’ll definitely going with the platter.
The guy behind the counter also recommended the “shaworma gyro”, a typical lamb gyro sliced off a spit and served in the same way as the falafel. They let the gyro cook up on the spit until the outside formed a great crust (always a good thing) but still threw it on the grill to warm it up after they had sliced it (not so great a thing). Just like the falafel the thing fell apart within seconds of taking the first bite, but overall it was tasty.
Best falafel in Los Angeles? Not a chance. Great cheap lunch for anybody who works or goes to school in the area? No question about it. Just make sure you read the directions on the wall before digging in.
- I’m much more into the falafel themselves than the construction of a sandwich… and these falafel balls are great.
- I love the old school charm, and the guy behind the counter is super friendly
- The platter is definitely the way to go. Roasted eggplant. Hummus. So good.
- Their red hot sauce is really unique. Good stuff!
- I prefer Israeli style falafel to this American hybrid. (Iceberg lettuce? Sliced tomato? No thanks!)
- You can’t have a falafel sandwich without something pickled inside
- They tear a big part of the bread off the top, so you end up with a smaller sandwich
- The bread isn’t structurally sound enough to handle the sandwich fillings. Falls apart instantly.
Hungry Pocket, 1715 Pico Blvd., 310-450-5335