August 1, 2013
Chef Rick Ortiz of Antique Taco is Falafill’s August Chef for Charity.
Ortiz joins a long list of distinguished chefs who have participated in the program, including Paul Virant, Chris Pandel, Jared Van Camp, and Stephani Izzard, among many others.
These chefs have helped Falafill raise more than $2,200 for charities by creating a special wrap to sell at each Falafill location. Falafill donates $1 from each wrap sold to a charity of the chef’s choosing.
At Antique Taco, a Michelin Bib Gourmand honored restaurant in Wicker Park, Ortiz blends the fresh foods from the Midwest with flavors from his Mexican heritage.
“As a cook, you always dream of owning your own restaurant,” Ortiz said. “Never did I imagine I would be able to include all the things I love under one roof – meaningful food, antiques, and working with my creative wife and team.”
Ortiz created The Indian Summer for Falafill, featruing a grilled pita, classic falafel, smoked hummus, tamarind glaze, cucumber & watermelon salsa fresca.
One dollar from each of Chef Ortiz’s wraps sold will go to the American Cancer Society, a cause near to Ortiz’a heart. Ortiz lost his uncle Jeff to Cancer, and is using this opportunity to lend a small hand to the millions suffering from cancer in the United States.
July 1, 2013
Jason Vincent, the Executive Chef at Nightwood, is teaming with Falafill to raise funds for Parkinson’s research.
The acclaimed chef, named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & wine magazine in 2013, is July’s Falafill Chef for Charity. Each month Falafill works with one of Chicago’s great chefs to create a special wrap sold at each of its three Chicago area locations. One dollar from the sale of each wrap goes to the charity of the chef’s choosing.
Vincent created a wrap called The Father-in-law, made with shredded endive and apple, scallion, cilantro, and habanero mayo. The tasty creation will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
As one of the Best New Chefs in Amercia, Vincent joins some of the brightest stars in Chicago’s dining scene: Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand in 1994, Rick Bayless (1998), Paul Kahan (1999), Grant Achatz (2002), Bruce Sherman (2003), Michael Carlson (2006), Paul Virant (2007), Koren Grieveson and Giusseppe Tentori (2008), Michael Sheerin (2010), Stephanie Izard (2011) and Danny Grant (2012).
A guy could do a lot worse than that! So we’re proud that he took some time from his crazy schedule to put together a tasty creation for us at Falafill in our Chefs for Charity program as our July Chef for Charity!
June 3, 2013
Ryan Poli, Chef/Partner at Tavernita and Little Market Brasserie, is the June
Chefs for Charity creator at Falafill. Every time a customer orders one of his delicious Curry falafel Wraps, made with Raz el Hanout spiced Labna, Cucumber & Tomato herb salad and Pickled Red Onions, $1 will go to The Pilot Light.
Pilot Light, a collective of culinary arts professionals, aims to enhance a child’s perception of food through interpersonal implementation of food education programs, both working directly with schools and acting as a catalyst for community organizations. Pilot Light empowers children to take ownership of their health and select healthier food options to improve the well-being of our country’s youth and influence the way they think about their relationship with food.
For a year, Pilot Light has been learning about CPS by collaborating with teachers at the Disney II Elementary School, creating nutritional curriculum in conjunction with current lesson plans, and visiting the school periodically to personally teach students (including a cooking demo.) The curriculum aims to cover three topics: Growing food and creating sustainability; Connecting to food, its history and its social significance; and Tasting foods in their natural and prepared forms.
The visiting chefs then work together to prepare a plate of food, including all of the different items in the day’s demos. The plate is an option for students during their lunch hour.
Help further this cause by stopping by any of our three falafel locations this month to try Ryan’s creation. $1 of each sale will go to Pilot Light.
May 14, 2013
We’re proud to feature Gale Gand of Tru as this month’s Chef for Charity creator! Chef Gand prepared a recipe of traditional falafel with caponata and red pepper hummus – so tasty!
Proceeds from the sale of this month’s special will go to Namaste Charter School. Namaste Charter School promotes lifelong student success and a love of learning by implementing and sharing a groundbreaking educational model that combines health and wellness with academic rigor in a peaceful environment. Namaste understands that healthy, active children perform better in the classroom.
Gand is also the host of the Cooking Channel’s Sweet Dreams with Gale Gand.
July 26, 2012
Music lovers! Boy, do we have some exciting news for you. Especially you music lovers out there who are cash-strapped procrastinators.
Falafill has your back this time around. Because we thought ahead for you and secured two 3-day passes to Lollapalooza–you know, one of the biggest music festivals in the country which now proudly calls Chicago its home? Yeah, that Lollapalooza.
Just point your web browser over to the sweepstakes page and fill in your info. That’s it — nothing more to do!
Hope to see you there, and don’t forget to stop by our Loop location at 72 E. Adams across the street to get your ‘fill!
July 10, 2012
Back in June of 2011, we launched our Guest Chef for Charity program with Chef Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat. Her wrap with our traditional falafel, hummus, shaved Brussels sprouts salad, shallot aioli and yuzu harissa set the tone for how a creative chef could reinvent what falafel and some bread can be.
The next month, Mark Steuer (executive chef at The Bedford and forthcoming Carriage House) took it to the next level with a custom falafel—made not with traditional chickpeas, but English peas and lemon. It was light and refreshing, and he rounded it out with a spicy sambal yogurt and zucchini pickles. Anyone else getting hungry?
We could go on and on—check out the full list of chefs and their amazing creations on our “Chefs for Charity” page—but the point is, we’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished. This past June marked a full year of chefs, funds raised for a dozen different non-profits.
This month, Maher Chebaro, our chef and co-founder, has jumped in with his own creation. He sticks with a classic falafel (it’s his recipe, after all) but throws in spicy potatoes with crushed coriander, muhammra spread (roasted red pepper and walnut), pickled baby eggplant, and more walnuts to top it off. The potatoes are fantastic and play a nice creamy element to the crispy falafel. And if you’ve never had muhammra spread before (don’t say we didn’t teach you anything!), now’s the time.
Stop on by and try our own “guest chef” sandwich this month and enjoy it—and help us raise money for Share Our Strength, whose annual Taste of the Nation Chicago fundraiser is at Navy Pier on August 8. Then come back next month when we reveal the next collaboration.
Philanthropy never tasted so good.
June 4, 2012
We are very pleased to announce the great Dirk Flanigan, Executive Chef at The Gage and its sister restaurant Henri on Michigan avenue, as the next member of our Guest Chefs for Charity series. Dirk’s restaurants are right around the corner from our brand new spot in the Loop, so it was easy to walk over and visit his kitchen last week to finalize the details.
Dirk came up with a beluga lentil falafel for his pocket, which is an awesome contrast to our current curried lentil falafel on the menu. The beluga lentils are a beautiful black color and have a peppery flavor, to which we added fresh herbs and some spices. They’re tossed in Dirk’s own smoked shallot duck vinaigrette (don’t worry, vegetarians: we have a substitute on hand), and the pocket is also stuffed with crunchy frisée, radish, and pickle, plus a spicy kick from giardiniera, a Chicago condiment of pickled carrots, celery, and spicy peppers. Dirk’s pocket eats a lot like a Chicago sandwich. And we kinda like that.
Dirk’s charity of choice is the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), an organization devoted to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees with the aim of achieving their full and equal participation in all matters civic, cultural, social, and political.
Dirk Flanigan’s career in the kitchen began as a teenager, when he bypassed culinary school to work his way up the line at the Ritz-Carlton Naples in his homestate of Florida. Chef’s creative, passionate approach to his craft has garnered accolades from local and national outlets, who applaud the rustic, yet refined contemporary American cuisine that defines The Gage and his French-inspired menu that takes centerstage at its sister restaurant Henri. In 2011, Flanigan was named a Best Chefs Great Lakes Semi-Finalist by the James Beard Foundation Awards and a StarChefs “Rising Star” and also garnered Chicago magazine’s “Best Restaurants” title for Henri.
This is a heck of a sandwich, and it’s the first time a chef has used our artisan pita for the guest chef for charity series. Definitely nom approved.
May 8, 2012
This Sunday, for Mother’s Day only, we’ll have a table at Dose Market and bring back some old favorites as well as some newbies that have never been seen on our menu before.
If Dose Market is new to you, wrap your head around this. It’s a monthly pop-up flea market of sorts, featuring local vendors that specialize in either food or fashion. Sounds pretty cool, right? We’ve dropped in on the market a few times since it debuted last year, and not only are we always blown away by the incredible food and pop-up concepts people present, but the space itself. The market is housed in the gorgeous River East Arts Center, not too far from Navy Pier and the cool gourmet market Fox & Obel.
We’ve had sandwiches from the impossible-to-get-into Great Lake; sliced “meat cones” from Jared Van Camp of Old Town Social; a pop-up pickle shop, kitchen, and bar from Mark Steuer of The Bedford; and even cocktails from Grant Achatz and the guys at The Aviary. Mouth watering stuff we’re talking about, handed to you and made fresh from Chicago chefs and artisans.
So we decided to have some fun with our menu for Sunday and offer some things you can’t really get in the store—and what better place to start than our guest chef wraps. For months and months people have been asking us to bring back some of their favorite wraps, and we’re finally listening.
That wrap that Stephanie Izard had on the menu you all loved? It’s back. And Mark Steuer’s wrap with the English pea and lemon falafel? Yup, it’s making a revival run, too. We loved his use of peas and lemon to make a light and delicious falafel in place of the classic chickpea. And the most exciting part? Maher decided to jump back in the ring and come up with his own wrap, which means Falafill is running its own special for the first time in over a year. But again, this is for Mother’s Day only, and only at Dose Market.
Here’s the full working menu, which includes items you can take home for your pantry, to help you get a little taste of what to expect:
Stephanie’s Wrap (Girl & the Goat)
Classic falafel, hummus, shaved Brussels sprouts salad, shallot aioli and yuzu harissa.
Mark’s Wrap (The Bedford)
English pea and lemon falafel, hummus, spicy sambal yogurt and zucchini pickles.
Maher’s Wrap (Falafill)
Classic falafel, spicy potatoes with crushed coriander, muhammra spread (roasted red pepper/walnut), pickled baby eggplant, walnuts.
- Labneh ( soft yogurt cheese), topped with a layer of zaatar and XV olive oil with pita chips
- Muhammara with pita chips
- Hummus topped with roasted pine nuts and herbs with pita chips
- Fatouche salad with pita chips
- Za’atar mix
- Ammer el dine (apricot sheets)
- Goat labneh balls in olive oil
- Rose water bottles
- Orange blossom water
Tickets to Dose Market are available in advance, or for sale at the door. A word to the wise? Get there early. Fewer people, far more fun to be had between the fashion and food. See you guys Sunday!
May 3, 2012
April showers bring May flowers, and a delicious wrap. This month we’re welcoming Chris Pandel, chef of both The Bristol and Balena, aboard the Guest Chefs for Charity train. His wrap, which uses our white bean and Swiss chard falafel (the current seasonal option), with tonnato sauce, Calabrian chili relish, and pickled spring onions, is extremely delicious. And the tonnato sauce, which is a rustic Italian sauce made with poached tuna, marks just the second time we’ve had an item on the menu that isn’t vegetarian—though pescetarian is still as far as we’ve gone! The tonnato sauce is delicate and slightly salty, and the relish packes a subtle heat with a sweet bite to go with the pickled onions. It’s pretty special.
Every month a new chef highlights a sandwich at Falafill donating $1 for every guest sandwich sold. This month we are donating the proceeds to the Spence Farm Foundation, which is Chef Chris’ charity of choice. The Spence Farm Foundation aims to educate, promote, and encourage the practice of small sustainable farming across America. The foundation holds programs for children in schools, teachers, and organizations across Illinois promoting importance of local farming and healthy foods.
Balena, the second restaurant from Chris Pandel and his partners, recently opened in Lincoln Park adjacent to Steppenwolf. The Bristol, which was their first restaurant, has become a Chicago classic in just the short time that it’s been open. A walk through Bucktown on any night of the week around this time of year and you’ll see the French windows open and a dining room full of people.
We’re thrilled that Chris came on board—and think when you taste his wrap, you’ll be too.
Come and try it at both the Lakeview and Loop locations.
April 23, 2012
If you’re one of the many constantly plugged in to your computer or phone, posting shout outs to friends and sharing pics of cool stuff as life tumbles onward to Facebook and Twitter, then we need to talk. Social media, this beast of a thing that’s changed the way we connect and communicate, is going to play an integral role with the changes we’re undertaking.
We’re taking to social media each day to not only tell our own story, but to hear about yours. We’ll be tapping into the ‘hoods that surround us and supporting the local culture of each, sharing our finds with you in an effort to build a vibrant community of food and friends and everything in between. And, of course, we want to know how you’re getting your fill. Literally.
We’re breathing life into the hashtag #fillingood, and we’re asking you to join us. Take a few seconds with your pocket or bowl and snap a pic with your cell phone. Then throw it up on Twitter and tell us what you’ve thrown together. A sample tweet might be:
“At @Falafill. Curry falafel with hummus, salsa, cauliflower, couscous, escabeche in my bowl. #fillingood”
The best part? We’ll be monitoring this hashtag closely. Each week we’ll pick it some of our favorites and feature them on our chalkboard wall at each store. Then, at the end of the month, we’ll pick one lucky tweeter as Falafillower Royalty—a recipient of a $25 gift card, and sole ownership of the Falafill social media throne at every store. Your twitter handle and your tweet, featured on the chalkboard wall all month long. Talk about a way to grow those followers!
So get to work, give us a follow at @Falafill, and start telling us what leaves you #fillingood. You just might be getting your fill on for free next month!