The Falafill outlet on Lake Street, like the other two stores in the Falafill network, features a "celebrity sandwich" once a month.
In August, the sandwich was designed by Jason Hammel, one of Chicago's most innovative and accomplished chefs, and the creative force behind Lula and Nightwood, both outstanding restaurants.
Many people who were eating at Falafill the day I visited were having the falafel in a bowl – you can get it in a pita, but the bowl enables you to load up on condiments, and you really want to do that. The constantly refreshed condiment bar has a colorful panoply of beautifully fresh condiments (like pickles, peppers, and olives) and also some spectacular salads (like tabouleh, slaw and some corn salad).
But I didn't go that way: I went with "Jason's August Wrap," and I was very glad I did. This wrap contains regular falafel, summer corn and smoked Sun Gold tomato relish, pickled pistachios, crispy fried kale and honey labne (a type of yoghurt cheese).
This was one delicious sandwich, and what was most amazing, I thought throughout the eating of it that I was eating bacon.
"How could this be?" I wondered.
Falafel is a Middle Eastern food, popular in Israel and Muslim countries, and bacon is not usually found on the menus of countries whose predominant religion prohibits pork. After eating, I checked the sign for the sandwich, and asked the people behind the counter, and lo…no pigs were harmed in the making of this sandwich. That wonderful bacon-y flavor was conveyed by the crisply fried falafel and the slightly sweet smoked corn and tomato. It was a remarkable illusion.
And it was a fantastic sandwich.
But you can't have one now – sorry on you for that – because a new month brings a new celebrity sandwich. Alas.