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Side dish: Falafel renewal



As the meat cone turns

Who says businesses don't come back from the dead (albeit a little altered)?

That's what's happened downtown at 36 E. Bijou St., prior home of the Persian Grill and Rumi's Kabab. Former Persian Grill owner Behnam Gilanpour, who sold to Rumi's Shams Forough, recently bought back the business and changed the name to In & Out Gyros (635-7749).

Gilanpour is enthusiastic about the walk-up window feature, which Forough added earlier this year, and says he's shifted the focus away from time-consuming kebabs to Greek fast food. Though quick, everything's made fresh, in-house, save for a customized Kronos lamb and beef cone for the gyro meat. Gilanpour not only prepares his own falafel from scratch, but makes his own yogurt for the tzatziki. Beer and wine are available, and Friday and Saturday hours will run until 3 a.m. for the time being.

Greetings from Hawaii

Joining the local food truck scene, brothers Michael Mares and Kyle Landrum birthed Aloha Steaks ( on the Fourth of July. Its model is based on the classic Hawaiian plate lunch of a barbecued meat, rice and macaroni salad, except Aloha has subbed a garden salad for the macaroni.

Mares, a former Air Force enlistee stationed on Oahu, says they currently grill tri-tip seasoned with garlic, salt and other spices he won't disclose, and also make a teriyaki-style barbecued chicken as well as garlic shrimp skewers, with burgers and more to follow. A small breakfast menu places a fried egg and sausage or bacon over the rice; burritos and Kona Coffee should be coming soon.

Check the outfit's Facebook page for daily locations, including spots like the Leechpit and Missile Mountain Roller Derby.

Peanuts and pork

Who doesn't want to buy grub from a business whose mascot is Lucky Legume, the peanut pirate?

Visit Bootleg Dave's Boiled Peanuts' Facebook page to see Lucky, and also daily updates of where Georgia transplant and former bounty hunter David Spikes and his peanut truck will be peddling salty, Southern-style boiled peanuts and peanut-oil-fried pork skins. (That's chicharrón to you vatos.)

Spikes also makes a Cajun-seasoned boiled peanut ($5 a quart for either), and sometimes special flavors like brown sugar hickory or jalapeño and onion. Though the snack is popular in the South, as well as in Hawaii and parts of Asia and Africa in particular, many folks have still never heard of nor tried it. The mushier texture turns some people off, but Spikes advises preparing your palate for eating a bean, not a nut, since peanuts are legumes: "Once you've got that in mind, it's not such a shock."

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