Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dashing out to Paterson for $1 bag of falafel, sardines and much more

A bag of five freshly fried falafel is $1 at Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant, 995 Main St., Paterson. Fattal's is on the next block.


An ideal visit to Paterson would combine sightseeing at the Great Falls, lunch in Aleppo Restaurant and shopping for Syrian bread, spices, yogurt drink and other food in the city's bustling Middle Eastern bazaar.

On Saturday, I wanted to replenish my supply of canned Moroccan sardines, bread and spices, but didn't want to fight the crowds at The Falls, now a national historical park.

So, I headed for Fattal's, where you can get Syrian bread, groceries, meat and poultry, and sit down and enjoy a freshly made falafel sandwich (975-977 Main St.).

In addition to one-stop shopping, Fattal's offers a large parking lot. 

Fattal's parking attendant allowed me to run over to Salah Edin on the next block to order two $1 bags of falafel, but said next time I should try Fattal's superior version.

A refrigerated case in Fattal's offers many kinds of cheese, including Middle Eastern-style string cheese, bottom shelf.

Fattal's offers three types of Al Shark-brand Moroccan sardines, but the ones in tomato sauce contain the lowest amount of sodium (99 cents a can). I use them to prepare organic whole-wheat pasta with sardines and anchovies in a red sauce.

Other shelves hold kits for making falafel, tabbouleh salad and other Middle Eastern specialties; fig preserves, extra-virgin olive oil, bulgur wheat and many other items.
A za'atar spice mixture has four ingredients: Dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt. I don't buy mixtures that include wheat as a filler.

Yogurt drink, meat pies, sardines

At Fattal's, I filled my shopping cart with a gallon of Merve Ayran Yogurt Drink ($10.29), 18 cans of Al-Shark Sardines in Tomato Sauce ($17.82); and a bag with a dozen medium-size Syrian pocket breads, which are preservative free ($1.50).

Six Fattal's Meat Pies and six Fattal's Spinach Pies were $9.49 each.

A bag of Toros Brown Bulgur Wheat was $1.49, and a box of Sadaf Tabouli Mix was $3.19.

A large bag of Salloum Bros. Za'atar from Lebanon that weighed nearly a pound was $5.59.

You can add za'atar to fried eggs, omelets and hummus; rub it into poultry or meat before cooking, or add olive oil to the thyme mixture and spread it on bread.

On returning home from Paterson, I stuffed two halves of a fresh Syrian bread with falafel, organic spring mix and hummus, and enjoyed them as a light lunch.

I added fresh lime juice, minced fresh garlic and Lebanese extra-virgin olive oil to the contents of a can I had in the cupboard, above and below, and garnished the dip with chopped fresh mint from the garden.

Libano Verde-brand Chickpea Dip from Lebanon is sold at Fattal's. Ingredients are chickpeas, sesame paste, salt and citric acid.

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