4

Haji Baba: Lunch $10 & Under

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

We've been craving Haji Baba's falafel sandwich ever since it made our 100 Favorite Dishes list. A food craving is like a song that gets stuck in your head, but ten times worse: Not only can you not stop thinking about it, you can literally taste it in your mouth and your stomach's not happy until that warm fluffy pita and deep-fried falafel are inside.

Needless to say, we finally caved and grabbed a late lunch at Haji Baba, which is imperative to avoid the regular noontime rush when it's impossible to snag a table.

We order a side of hummus and a handmade pita first, mainly so we don't inhale our falafel sandwich in 2 seconds flat. The hummus is simply delicious and the handmade pita is an upgrade, but at 49 cents each, it's also one we can afford.

When our falafel sandwich gets to the table, we hastily unwrap the tinfoil, squeeze on some Siracha and ravenously devour it in less than 15 minutes.

Under the falafel's fried exterior lies a green herbaceous center:a mix of ground fava and garbanzo beans spiced to perfection. Loaded up with lettuce, tomato, pickles, tahini sauce and Siracha, this sandwich is a total disaster waiting to happen. We resorted to a fork and knife after demolishing the wrap and dripping sauce all over our face. (Luckily, we kept it off our clothes...)

If falafil isn't your thing, (insert collective gasp here) then you're still in luck. Haji Baba's schawerma (beef or chicken) is also mouthwateringly good. Try the kabab koubideh or kafta if you're craving more traditional fare. And if you're feeling extra adventurous or are simply enamored with offal, go for the lamb tongue: The menu promises, "Try it once, you will not stop talking about it."

All the sandwiches are less than $5. None of the plates are more than $8. And the combination platters range from $6.99 to $13.99, going up in price with the more meat you get.

Middle Eastern music plays in the background and a giant mural of temple ruins and sand dunes flanks the side of the place, putting us in the mood for as much Middle Eastern culture as we can ingest.

So we order up an Arabic coffee and baklava to wash down our meal. The coffee is more like espresso and comes in a crazy contraption called a dallah - a little metal coffee urn with a spout and super long handle - and you drink it from a miniature cup and saucer.

When you stop for lunch, don't forgo the experience of shopping in the attached market. You can even pick up your own copper dallah with a carved wooden handle. We just want to take everything home all the Middle Eastern goodies, because the packaging is so awesome.

The bill for our mid-afternoon feast came to just $8.91, and seeing as we won't be hungry for dinner anytime soon (if at all), that's one hell of a bargain in our book.

Haji Baba
1513 E. Apache Blvd.
Tempe
480.894.1905

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.