October 23, 2018

Blue eats L’As Du Fallafel

October 2005 I ate at L’As Du Fallafel. I didn’t know it at the time but this experience became the prototype for Clover’s most successful sandwich.

This past weekend I took a trip to Paris with my father and my son (Blue, above). We’re approaching Clover’s 10th birthday (10/29/18) and I thought it would be fun to return to this touchpoint. We ate and ate and walked and marveled at everything in Paris.

Back in 2005 Brooke and I burnt our savings for a last trip without kids. She was pregnant with Clementine, our first. We stayed in a cheap hotel with springs coming out of the mattress. We ate the hotel’s complementary stale bread with hot chocolate every morning, and wandered the city. The memories from this trip are very sweet. It doesn’t feel that long ago, a feeling I’m sure many of you who are aging recognize.

Back in 2005 there was almost nothing vegetarian in Paris. I’m not exaggerating. Almost nothing. We had to look long and hard. We found at place called La Ferme, that later became pretty influential for me. It was a farm to table grab and go place. Pretty amazing. Think Pret-a-Manger but the food was actually fresh and well sourced and tasted great. We ate lots of cornichon, cheese, and baguettes. The baguettes we had back then weren’t that great honestly. I think Paris went through a bit of a culinary dark ages.

Brooke and I were constantly hungry on that trip. One day while walking we saw people with these colorful overfull sandwiches passing us on the sidewalk. We traced where they were coming from and slowly honed in on the Marais, and eventually L’As Du Fallafel. They served it with a fork. We ate on a bench. I hadn’t had anything like it before. It stuck in my memory. Years later when I was trying to figure out what should go on the Clover menu the sandwich I had there floated to the top of my list. And my intuition was right since day 1 the Chickpea Fritter has been a huge hit and is largely responsible for building Clover.

Paris has changed so so much since that trip. Food in particular. The city has upped it’s game. Baguettes we had this time were heavenly. There is more experimentation. And that spark that was present in L’As Du Fallafel has spread. We had crazy pastries that were French and arabic, Tunisian food (which I’d never had before), Iranian food, and ate at a killer fine dinning Israeli restaurant called Balagan. The combination of arabic and French is beautiful and exciting (and naturally has a strong vegetable orientation). If anybody wants some Paris food recommendations please let me know. In particular Christy Timon (founder of one of my favorite bakeries in town: Clear Flour) recommended a brioche at a little out of the way spot that I’d love others to enjoy. It was like nothing I’d ever had. The place was called: Ble Sucre and the Brioche was a crazy whole grain masterpiece.

The chant in our PSG game: “Ici, c’est Paris!”

Recent Posts

February 15, 2024
We have a new sandwich out everywhere today. It’s a take on a Buffalo Chicken sandwich. We use celery root, aka celeriac, this nobbly, gnarled joy of a winter vegetable. We cut it into planks, batter it with panko, and fry it. We’re getting ours from Norwich Meadows Farm, a farm in NY state that’s known for creating really flavorful organic veggies using a cool irrigation system. 
February 7, 2024
For the week of Valentine’s Day, we’ll be delivering these Making Whoopie (Pie) Kits 😉. They have everything you need to make whoopie pies — more specifically, Chris’ favorite oatmeal cakes with beet buttercream frosting. You’ll also get a scoop for making the perfect size pie, and a roll of sugar cookie dough for more sweet fun.
January 18, 2024
Pull out your plaid and cue up the bagpipes because it’s Clover’s third-ever celebration of Burns Night, an introduction to Scottish food/drink/music/poetry and a reason to raise a glass during this dark and cold month! You may be asking yourself, what is Burns Night?
January 17, 2024
Chances are you’ve tried the new Clover Bowls. We’ve been running them since the Spring. After a few tweaks, we landed on a roster we love: the Mediterranean Bowl, the Verde Rice and Bean Bowl, and a Rotating Seasonal Bowl. The bowls have transformed our menu – Josh, a Kendall customer, recently wrote to us, “The beet poke bowl is the best new item I’ve tried at Clover in years. I love the freshness and bite of the mix of flavors.” We’ve also heard some very good suggestions about how to make them even better…
January 3, 2024
Meet the Veggie Monster Meal Box! Some of you are subscribers to our Friday newsletter about plant-based cooking. Now… that newsletter has spawned a meal box! Pack your fridge with everything you need to make an entire week of vegetable-based meals. Think hearty pot pies; sweet and spicy maple-roasted squash tacos; bowls packed with…
December 20, 2023
New Year’s Eve is no time to be buried in the kitchen, so we pack our NYE Box with Clover fan favorites that come together fast and encourage a night of Finger-Food Feasting. Can you think of anything better than digging into bubbling hot Brussels Sprout Cheese dip on a freezing cold Boston night? Or scooping up our bright nutty Romesco sauce as the clock ticks to midnight?  And our breakthrough Carrot Lox (probably the best thing to come out of our food dev in 2023) will have you resolving to spare more salmon in the year ahead.
December 19, 2023
Stop by Clover today (Tuesday 12/19) and when you order a Brussels Sandwich on the app, we’ll give you $1 off our new chocolate chip cookie! It’s a gift from King Brussels, on his final day in the Clover Kingdom. Use this link to get yours!
December 16, 2023
Are you looking for the perfect gift for a friend who loves Clover? We have online gift cards! You can specify a time that you’d like the card to hit their inbox – and there’s a new feature that lets multiple people pool money to send a card to one person. Pretty cool!  
December 10, 2023
What would we serve if we had all of you over for Christmas dinner? This (epic) box, available only for Christmas, is an homage to the holiday traditions of our Clover staff. And like all Clover boxes, it supports our hardworking Massachusetts farmers, millers, bakers, and cheesemakers. This box is designed to feed you and keep you properly festive throughout a week with different meals/snacks, and can also be laid out all together on a holiday table as one big feast.
December 4, 2023
These sweet potato latkes date back to early days on the Clover food truck. They’re so yummy and the sweet potatoes lend them such a fun golden color. They’re probably the most popular item in our Hanukkah Meal Box, which you can get delivered on December 7th. Inside the box you’ll find: 
November 29, 2023
I’m writing to share some news: we’ve decided to permanently close CloverROW, our outpost in the Assembly Row neighborhood of Somerville. The closure of this restaurant is part of the whole company’s focus on reaching financial sustainability and positioning us for future growth. These decisions are really hard, but they’re necessary steps for us to simplify Clover. And, happily, all the amazing staff at CloverROW, including the manager Joe, will be able to move into other Clover restaurants. The math is straightforward…
November 21, 2023
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. We will be closed Thursday 11/23 at all locations. For our kitchen team, it will be a good chance to rest after prepping a ton of Brussels casseroles for our Thanksgiving Box : ) As for the days surrounding Thanksgiving, we’ll be open normal hours, except for CloverFIN (Financial District) and CloverHSC (Harvard Science Center) which will be closed tomorrow and Friday. CloverHSQ (Harvard Square) will be closing early (at 8pm) tomorrow.