Whole Life Magazine

June / July 2016

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By Genie Davis taste of health Fresh, organic falafel on Abbot Kinney F ala Bar—always veg- an, fresh and organic, according to their tag line—opened their fast ca- sual location on Melrose in 2014, and added an Abbot Kinney outpost in Venice just last November. We visited this new spot in May, and found their falafel to be delicious. Unlike at many falafel stands, their offerings taste light and crisp; there's nothing heavy or greasy about these freshly prepared vegan treats. Based on family recipes by co-owner Mike Shab, falafel here is available in original, sweet potato, spicy or crunchy fl avors, all terrifi c. Origi- nal and crunchy are made from fresh chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin, onion and jalapenos; spicy adds red peppers and a seemingly higher ratio of jalapenos to the mix. Our favorite, sweet potato falafel—deliciously sweet and a perfect contrast to the fresh greens in the salads—is crafted from chickpeas, sweet potato, cumin, cilantro and salt, while the kale falafel replaces sweet potato with leafy green kale. We topped two salads with our falafel. Fala Me to Kaleifornia includes a light and lemony kale, chickpeas, quinoa, pickled purple cabbage, shredded carrots, avocado, sunfl ower sprouts and micro greens, and is topped with a gen- erous helping of hummus and tahini. Fala Me to Runyon consisted of nicely mixed greens, quinoa tabouli, Brussels sprouts, avocado, white cabbage, and hummus and ta- hini topping. Note that the salads do not come mixed, and eating each element separately can be rather bland, so it's good to toss them for a full fl avor experience. You can also order a snack of just falafel balls, which is an inexpensive additional treat worth considering. A variety of vegan burg- ers, from avocado to Southwest style with tangy BBQ sauce, are also solid choices on the menu. Along with being entirely meat-free, most menu options at this diminutive spot are dairy-free, nut-free and gluten-free, with the exception of whole-wheat pita bread, but you can substitute a cabbage leaf wrap for the pita. The falafel is made using healthy grape seed oil, veggies are sourced from local organic farmers, and there are no GMOs in any of the food items. Along with salads and sandwiches, you'll fi nd Clover juices and cold brew coffees in the takeout case to complement food that's also well suited for a picnic—tasty and healthy. Eat-in diners at the Venice spot should expect only a few shared picnic tables in an alley behind the eatery; two small sidewalk tables in front and interior counter space for two are also available. Fala Bar's quick service makes it a good spot to hit before heading out for a day on Venice beach. Containers and cutlery are biodegradable. Fala Bar Venice, 1146 Abbot Kinney Blvd., 90291. 310.399.0809 www.falabar.com FALA BAR EAT NOW HERE june/july 2016 19

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