Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because visions of shawarma spits rotating slowly while covered in Nashville Hot Chicken spice are dancing around your head like a halo of chirping birds orbiting a cartoon character that’s just suffered blunt head trauma. I don’t blame you. What a headline right?
We’ve all got Falasophy in Irvine, California to thank for this next level mashup. Foodbeast Marc Kharrat was the first to dive in and his reconnaissance revealed a shawarma sandwich that puts an unheard of spin on Nashville Hot Chicken.
It’s a delicious collision of cultures here, as a large tortilla is treated to a luscious layer of Lebanese garlic spread, followed by an onslaught of chicken shawarma that’s been marinated in Nashville Hot Chicken spices. The spicy scenario is rounded out with slaw, pickles, cheese, and Falasophy’s own secret house sauce.
Amazing how one of a kind mashups like this Nashville Hot Chicken Shawarma from Falasophy can really rewrite the narrative for all cuisines involved. Truly, collabs like this are what keep leveling up food culture and we’re here for it.
The countries of Lebanon and Mexico are some 7,700 miles apart, yet their people have a rich, intertwined history, particularly when it comes to their food. Today is not a history lesson — it’s a field trip, an off-menu discovery at Irvine, CA-based Falasophy: Lebanese Quesadillas!
When we think quesadilla, our mind conjures up images of corn or flour tortillas, filled with cheese and griddled until crispy.
Today, I caught up with Lebanese-owned Falasophy as I had learned that they were serving off-menu items people were calling “Lebanese Quesadillas.” The gist? They were stuffing cheese into thin, oversized pita breads, filling them with Lebanese and greater Middle Eastern ingredients, and searing them off to delicious fold-over matrimony.
I’ve had Falasophy before, but hadn’t had any of these “Lebanese Quesadillas” before, so I dug into em:
Street Shawarma Quesadilla
The first one I saw owner Rashad Moumneh, aka the Chief Falasopher, fold over, was an homage to the ultimate Lebanese street comfort food, the chicken shawarma wrap. It starts on a pita slathered with their housemade toum (garlic sauce), freshly shaved shawarma chicken, avocado slices to remind ourselves we’re in Southern California, thin French fries (the ultimate pro move in shawarma or kebab wraps), grilled corn seasoned with za’atar, spicy sambal sauce, candied pickled jalapenos, and a generous amount of cheese to bind everything together. I’ve had these flavors separately, but when cheese and toum have melted together, you’re hard pressed to find a more punchy and memorable flavor experience.
The second quesadilla I tried utilized Armenian flavors. In this pita, a walnut and red pepper paste called Muhammara lines the walls. Additionally, a seasoned kafta meat is spread across the surface area of the pita, topped with sumac and plenty of cheese to glue it all together.
Nutella & Cheese Quesadilla
This particular quesadilla is already a favorite on the Falasophy menu, but still seems to twist my friends’ necks when I tell them about the combination: Nutella + cheese + pita bread. The combo is decadent, the textures work, it’s crispy, and when you get the perfect bite — a mouthful of Nutella, stretchy mozzarella, powdered sugar, fresh mint leaf, and crispy pita bread — you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done this before.
All three of these Quesa-pita creations are available at Falasophy’s Irvine, CA location, inside the Irvine Spectrum complex. They’re technically “off the menu,” so you’ll want to tell the person ringing you up that you want a Lebanese Quesadilla, and tell them what flavors you want.
Irvine Spectrum Center, Irvine, CA 92618
Watching shawarma being sliced off a spit can be one of the most sensual experiences in food, and being able to try that juicy blend of meat immediately after can truly leave you flush. The vessel you choose to get that shawarma inside your body, however, is completely up to you.
In downtown Santa Ana, CA, there’s a food hall called the 4th Street Market. Inside the market lies Falasophy, a Lebanese-fusion eatery that serves both traditional dishes and modern interpretations.
The dish boasts a fresh batch of salted fries, slow-roasted steak shawarma straight from a spit, cilantro garlic crema, jalapeños, pickled turnips, and a special cheese blend. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, you can always order a side of falafels to pair with your fries.
Next time you’re in the Santa Ana neighborhood, be sure to swing by and grab a plate of these savory shawarma fries. If you’re hankering for something sweet, the food stall also offers Nutella baklava.