Monday, October 17, 2011

Fat Kitty Falafel

Fat Kitty Falafel, headed by Al Herre, is a falafel stand located on SE Division St. in Portland, Oregon. Herre has been frying up those fried ground chickpea balls in Oregon since 2002. Al's falafel has won several awards, including Best Falafel in Portland (Willamette Weekly).

Herre has connections with Food Network star Tyler Florence (Food 911, Tyler's Ultimate, The Great Food Truck Race, etc.). On Al's business website, he has two pictures of him and a young Tyler Florence: one fishing in Sheepshead Bay and another heading to a Macy's Day Parade.

Al Herre, the man himself!

Frying up some falafel for me!
I was walking down Division St. in search of Fat Kitty Falafel, expecting to see a food cart. Instead, I saw Al with a simple food stand. Underneath his red tent, he had a small fryer, his laptop, a couple of coolers, and a chair, just enjoying a rare sunny fall day.

I stepped up and ordered a falafel pita ($6): about 4-5 pieces of Al's homemade falafel lightly smashed inside a pita, topped with cucumber, tomato, greens, and choice of sauce. Al has roasted jalapeno tzaziki, cilanto, original tzatziki, and vegan tzatziki. I went with the roasted jalapeno version for a little more flavor depth.

Falafel (Fat Kitty Falafel)
Al knows how to fry that falafel up. It was very well seasoned, a nice dark brown on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. The refreshing vegetables worked well to counter those fried chickpeas. The tzatziki had a little tang to it and brought everything together for me. I would have liked the pita toasted, but Al doesn't have a flattop grill there...just a laptop, two coolers, and a fryer.

I detected a slight burnt aftertaste from the falafel. I showed up at Fat Kitty after 1 p.m. (he usually opens around 11:30 in the morning), so it would be reasonable to guess the oil he was using probably still had some falafel remnants left over from any previous orders that day.

Al will be on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule throughout the fall and winter months. Keep checking his Fat Kitty Falafel Facebook page for further updates.

I can see how some people would be turned off by Al's no-filter, easygoing personality. However, I really liked that. He tells great stories and reminds me of one of my good friends from law school. It's just awesome to see a person so confident really enjoying his life. Here's to hoping Al will be sharing his falafel with all of us for years to come! 7/10

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