Me + Falafill = Open Books!$!

Thanks to this blog, and all of you amazing people, I get to do some really fun stuff. A few weeks ago, the folks at Falafill (delicious, fresh and modern Middle-Eastern restaurants in Chicago) asked me to participate in their Chefs for Charity program. Each month Falafill has local chefs (“chefs”, in my case) design a seasonal wrap which is then sold at all three Falafill locations. Getting to design a wrap is pretty fun, but the really amazing part: one dollar ($1!) of each wrap sold goes to the charity of the chef’s (my) choice. Whoa!

I designed what I think is a really tasty wrap (so far, a couple of friends, Bryan, and a teenager who works at the Oak Park branch, all agree). In addition to Falafill’s classic falafel (which is so delicious), the wrap includes urfa pepper and eggplant spread, arugula, feta, pickled pears(!!!) and toasted walnuts. It is available now. Go get it!

The money from the sale of the wrap is going to one of my favorite Chicago nonprofits, Open Books. Open Books is, in their own words, “an award-winning nonprofit social venture that operates an extraordinary bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes passionate volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago and beyond.” Basically they run awesome literacy programs that are funded (in part) through sales of used books. It is a brilliant business plan and I am convinced that anyone who visits their bookstore will fall in love with them and their mission. It is one of the best and friendliest stores in Chicago and happens to feature a particularly excellent cooking section (see first photo, which is only half of their cookbooks). It feels good to shop there knowing that your purchases benefit young readers and writers in Chicago.

I feel so lucky and proud to be able to support Open Books in this way. I am grateful to Falafill for giving me this opportunity to raise some money for an organization that really deserves it, and for letting me try my hand at falafel design. The wrap is available for the entire month of November at all three Falafill locations (including Oak Park—represent!) I hope that you will try the wrap this month and help support the good work that is being done at Open Books. It isn’t that often that you can enjoy lunch and know that you’re helping someone out.

Thanks, everyone. I promise the next post will have a recipe!

+ For the record, I love Falafill—even before they asked me to collaborate. If you’re in Chicago you should try it out. The mezza bar is really something special. And the monthly chef’s wraps have all been rad including contributions from folks like Stephanie Izard, Bill Kim, and Paul Virant.
+ Open Books can be supported in all sorts of fun ways. Check out their website for ways to get involved and contribute to the promotion of literacy in Chicago!

16 comments to “Me + Falafill = Open Books!$!”

  1. remember to take me there (both) when i’m in town. mabrouk, timbo!

  2. That is so fun! What a great idea this wrap event-thingy!
    I love eggplant spread, never tasted an eggplant-urfa spread. Sounds good.(:

  3. I definitely need to check this out when im in town. I’ll give you a shout haha.

  4. Tim, this is awesome! Falafel isn’t something that’s really been on my radar in Chicago. I’m definitely going to check it out this week!

  5. Neat! I haven’t heard about this bookstore, but will definitely check it out next time I’m in Chicagoland. And the wrap sounds delicious.

  6. What a wonderful thing for them to do and what a great opportunity. Very cool. Your wrap sounds worthy of a 3 hour drive from Madison!

  7. Love it.

  8. This is so awesome.

  9. This month’s Chefs for Charity FalaFill is great! I liked the spicy arugula, feta and pickled pear! #Yummyinmytummy

  10. So Cool! Congratulations! Your creation is something I would love to eat! Oh Tim – you are so awesome.

  11. I adore falafel and your creation sounds delicious! Great idea, too, with the bookstore. Do you have a falafel recipe you could share with us?

  12. Tim – I have been following and loving your cooking/writing for ages, and I just have to say how incredibly excited and grateful I was to learn that you selected Open Books for this project. I run the volunteer program at Open Books, and we all feel a little bit like celebrities today. Thank you, thank you!

  13. Ava! You guys are so awesome. I love Open Books and am so happy to be able to help. I hope they sell a lot of wraps this month. : )

  14. Tim, the wrap is excellent! Could you share your recipe for pickled pears? Thank you.

  15. I live in OP and have been meaning to try Falafill since its OP location opened–finally passed by yesterday as I left the Book Table, saw the sign in the window promoting your wrap & decided I had to try it. I was going to just have one bite in my car before driving home, but ended up wolfing down the whole thing right there. I was horrified when I realized that this amazing meal would only be around one more day & immediately got out of my car & went back for another one, which I asked them to cut in half & share with a friend. She & I agree that it’s one of the best things we’ve ever eaten in our lives and can’t believe it won’t be available ever again. (Why, oh WHY couldn’t I have discovered it on November 1st? Tragic!) Tim, you need to get somebody to put this on a permanent menu….preferably someplace right here in Oak Park.

  16. Kathy! That is so nice to hear. I am really glad you liked the wrap, and it is always good to hear from fellow Oak Parkers. It is a short run, but the good news is that the chefs special is usually pretty awesome. I’ve tried a bunch of them over the last year and none disappointed. So, give some of the others a try. Thanks again for writing!

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