Free-Food-A-Palooza: Pita Joe

Israeli salad

This is Israeli salad, which is in all the sandwiches at Pita Joe. (Image via Wikipedia.)

21 December 2010 – 14th and 5th, Manhattan, NY

I was walking around Union Square after visiting Whole Foods (my mom wanted wheat berries, which I was able to purchase there and give to her the next day as her birthday present) towards the 14th Street-6th Avenue train station, so I could head down to the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to pick stuff up.

And as I walked along 14th, I saw what almost looked like a smiley-face, but wasn’t. It was a pita. Realizing that I had half-off of an $8 purchase at Pita Joe, right near the corner of 14th and 5th, and realizing further that I was both hungry and had nothing from previous nights left over for dinner, I texted in the Tenka deal and walked in.

I ordered two things (largely so I could get to $8, which would in turn go to $4) at Pita Joe: the Purple Joe (which I think could be confused with the Flaming Moe in conversation), a pita with grilled eggplant, hard-boiled egg, hummus, Israeli salad and a pickle, and a Pizza Pita, which comprises tomato sauce, mushrooms (something I’m not usually a fan of, but could more than stomach this time around) and onions. The Pizza Pita reminded me of the matzo pizzas I make (okay, that my mom makes for me – I don’t usually work the oven, even now on my own), and was a pretty good side, but it’s not even close to a passable main dish. But for all intents and purposes I got it for free, so I’m not complaining.

Therefore, enter the Purple Joe – which featured a surprisingly good blend of eggplant and egg (okay, not surprising in terms of name similarity, but surprising in terms of taste and logic), not to mention with hummus. I’ve come around to both egg and its corresponding plant only in the last couple of years, but I can finally appreciate it – especially here, where it meshes well with the tart hummus. Further, Pita Joe performs the almost-medal-worthy task of giving cucumber an actual purpose in an excellent Israeli salad. The pickle doesn’t do much and falls out of the sandwich pretty easily (why they put it in there instead of putting it on the side, I have no idea), but the rest works pretty damn well.

Tomorrow, Free-Food-A-Palooza continues with the Free Food Crawl of December 2010. Sunday, Curry in a Hurry and Tuck Shop. (I didn’t get to go to the Daily Soup yet.)

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