Here's the 30-second story on Foxy Falafel: Owner Erica Strait trained under Einat Admony, an Israeli chef in New York City, where she learned to prepare -- and appreciate -- falafel, the ground-chickpea croquettes stuffed inside pita. After moving to Minneapolis, where she works as a personal chef, Strait found herself craving falafel something fierce. "But I couldn't find anything as good as Einat's," she said. "So partially out of frustration, and partially out of my own cravings, I decided that I would do my own falafel."
The world, or at least the Twin Cities, is a better place for Strait's efforts. She sprouts her own organic chickpeas, a weeklong process, and seasons them with plenty of fresh, locally raised parsley, cilantro and other herbs. The croquettes -- crispy on the outside, light and creamy on the inside -- are stuffed, hot out of the fryer's soybean oil, into whole-wheat pitas purchased at Holy Land Bakery & Deli in Minneapolis ("I tried to make pita, and I decided to leave it to the experts," Strait said) and finished with some crunchy vinegar-tossed cabbage.
Then the real fun begins. Strait, an inveterate pickler, puts up a magnificent condiment spread, taking inspiration from whatever happens to be in season and available from her fellow farmers market vendors. Last week the selection included pickled kohlrabi and Swiss chard stems; I'm just sorry I missed her daylily and cauliflower phases.
And that's not all. Strait's finishing touches include several clever sauces: smoked chile harissa, cool cucumber-mint yogurt and bright, lemony tahini. Add it all up and it's the farmers-market circuit's tastiest multi-culti street food experience. My only question: Do the State Fair people know about this? They should.
Falafel ($6) from Foxy Falafel (www.foxyfalafel.com) at the Uptown Market, 29th St. between Lyndale and Dupont Avenues S., Mpls., www.uptownmarket.com. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For a listing of this weekend's farmers market events, go to startribune.com/tabletalk. For a map of Twin Cities metro-area farmers markets, go to www.startribune.com/taste.