Friday, July 20, 2012

I Dream of Falafel, Chicago, IL

You might think I Dream of Falafel is a typical fast food place with a Mediterranean twist. You would be wrong. While it has some elements of fast food, certain practices move it beyond cookie cutter retail. First, the food is made fresh daily, the chickpeas are organic, and, if you eat in rather than take out, you get actual plates. Yes, actual plates.

At I Dream of Falafel, they have created a unique concept of combining fresh, local, healthy ingredients to prepare delicious Mediterranean cuisine with great, quick service and at a price that is just right. All the meats in their menu are always fresh, preservative-free, hormone-free, and free of additives. All beef and lamb is premium AA sirloin, while the poultry is cage free and grain fed. The menu offers an authentic, appetizing and healthy cuisine that is preservative-free, hormone-free and contains no trans-fat.

Modeled on the Chipotle system of choosing a base, a protein, sauces and sides, options range from falafel to beef shawerma for the protein, with salad, pita, or a tortilla-style wrap as the base. Rice, Jerusalem Salad, tabbouleh, hummus are just a few of the sides available.

I Dream of Falafel Food Collage

Whether you're a vegan, a dedicated carnivore, or something in between, there is food here for you. To maximize tasting, I opted for the Vegan Platter, while my buddy chose the All-In Platter, a meat-lover's dream. We had the chance to meet one of the owners and, along with the story of how the restaurant came to be, he also brought out some of his favorite sides, to go along with some crispy pita chips for dipping. Every single thing we tasted was amazing, as if it had just been made especially for us. Definitely try the sweet potato falafel, never seen it done anywhere else, and they are delicious!

I Dream of Falafel Dessert Collage

What is a meal without dessert? Opt for either the baklava or the date cookies, the latter mixed with pistachios for a unique flavor and texture. The baklava is lighter and less sweet than most, which means you can actually eat more than one bite! Both desserts tasted fresh, though are not made in the restaurant, but rather procured from a local bakery.

Vimto Soda Lite

If you're the soda-drinking type (I'm usually not), check out the Vimto Soda, incredibly sweet, with an interesting spice combo. Be warned though, even the Lite version I tasted was sweet, sweet, sweet!

If you come away with one thing after eating at I Dream of Falafel, it is this: freshness. Everything tastes like it was just made, with high quality ingredients. The falafel is crisp, the meat tender and moist, the bread baked today. You can't go wrong with literally anything on the menu and, because of the variety, a group with mixed dietary preferences can all eat together.

Interested in owning your own? I Dream of Falafel Franchising has recently launched!

More info on the I Dream of Falafel website, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

I Dream of Falafel on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: This meal was comped for me for review purposes, courtesy of I Dream of Falafel. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the restaurant a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.

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