I do my best to pack a healthy yet satisfying lunch everyday, to enjoy at my desk. Last Friday, I forgot to. On purpose.
When you haul ass to the El in the morning, through windy and snowing conditions, you must reward yourself at some point in the day. Considering I had $20 in my wallet, no homemade lunch, and an appetite for something warm and spicy, I figured my gift to myself for making it into work today would be a delicious lunch from a truck.
Did I mention I work at 38th and Spruce, which is pretty much a runway of lunch trucks offering cuisine from around the world? The area offers anything from a steak & sandwich lunch truck, to Chinese, Japanese, Caribbean, Mexican, and everything in between. Lunching from this food-on-wheels palace promises a satisfying meal, however it may take you some time to decide what you want from the array of options.
When lunch time rolled around, my hunger and I bundled up and headed for Hanan House of Pita, located on 38th Street, closest to the intersection at Walnut Street. Waiting until about 1:00 PM meant most of the lunch crowd had already settled back into their desks (or dorm rooms, considering this area is Penn’s campus); thankfully, there were only two other patrons waiting for their already ordered meals.
Hanan has a long list of Middle Eastern menu items, like falafel, shawarma and kafta, and also a selection of salads and grilled chicken options. The prices are incredibly reasonable, and on par with the other lunch trucks in the area. My choice was the falafel sandwich with hummus, feta cheese with onions and hot sauce.
For $4, I received a neatly and tightly rolled sandwich that was large enough to qualify as a midday meal. The falafel itself was warm with a thick crispy breading that complimented the mashed texture of the hummus, which seemed to be used as a sealant on the seam of the pita. There was a perfect proportion of fresh vegetables, like tomato, lettuce and raw onion, and nice large chunks of feta cheese. Though there was hot sauce on the sandwich, it was not overbearing and most of the spice came from the falafel pieces. The only small drawback was that the pita itself was not warmed before the ingredients were added. This certainly was not a deal breaker.
One of the highlights of my lunch selection was the satisfaction I felt afterward. The sandwich was not heavy and greasy, like some of the fare most of the other trucks create, and I do not feel like I need to loosen my belt. It also doesn’t hurt that I have $16 left to spend on dinner.