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Donut-Shaped Falafels

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This may look like a miniature sesame seed bagel, or a tiny cake donut, but in fact it’s a Falafel Frenzy falafel. The odd little Mediterranean restaurant is located at 914 Prairie Street in what used to be a bar. There are still some liquor bottles lining the back wall. I don’t know if you can get a drink there, but they are turning out some of the city’s tastiest falafels.

So what’s with the hole?

Falafels are made by packing the falafel mixture into a mold and then dropping the compressed patties into hot oil. At Falafel Frenzy, they use a mold with a post in the center that creates the hole. If you have ever had a falafel that tasted too mealy in the middle, you can appreciate the concept. The hole exposes more of the falafel batter to the hot oil and results in a crispier, crunchier falafel -- the same way that the hole in the middle makes for a crustier bagel.

Donut-shaped falafels are new to Houston but are old hat in the Middle East and much of the rest of the U.S. Some people refer to the donut shaped version as a Syrian-style falafel.

A month ago, we debated where to find Houston’s best falafels on this blog. But now I am afraid we have to reconsider, since a new contender has entered the ring. -- Robb Walsh

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