Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hummus Wars

If you visit anywhere in the Middle East, it is likely that you will find that most cities have a battle over the best hummus in town. Just outside of Jerusalem, I've already highlighted the city of Abu Ghosh being the epicenter of hummus fame in the area (see post here). My favorite place, specifically in Abu Ghosh happens to be the restaurant called Caravan at the Caravan Inn, just a quick 10-15 minute trip outside of Jerusalem (without traffic....). It's not hard to find, but getting there can be an issue (if you don't have a car) so we've had to get creative with finding local places in town. If, however, you happen to make the journey to Caravan, I insist that you try the hummus with meat and the chicken skewers which just so happen to be the tastiest chicken I've had in recent memory. Ugh, I'm working up an appetite just writing about them! See their website here.

Beautiful views from Caravan Inn looking out to Jerusalem (in the hills)

   

Don't be deterred by Caravan's exterior - it's beautiful inside!
In town, we've previously tried a highly recommended restaurant in the Old City of Jerusalem called Lina's. Especially because Lina's is open on Shabbat (since it's in the Christian Quarter) you will find that there is almost always a line out the door for this tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery. The wait is well worth it as you taste the velvety, melt-in-your mouth hummus with olive oil and pine nuts. The last time I was there, our company spied restaurant goers slyly fishing fresh stacks of warm, fluffy pita bread into their purses. A little taboo, but really people, they are that good. The food here is fresh and delicious and well worth a visit. You can find them at 42 Iqbat el Hanqah Street near the Via Dolorsa in the Old City's Christian Quarter.

   

         

     

Because Lina's is in the Old City, we tend to try to stay away from the Disneyland-esque crowds in that part of town. Thus, ever since I've arrived in Israel, we've been frequenting a place called Pinati. This place is amazing. It's my favorite, hands down, for the hummus and meat dish (which is my favorite). However, after a hiatus of a few months, we had simply forgotten how delicious their food really is. Rafi and I recently went back to Pinati just yesterday on a whim and boy-oh-boy was it delicious! It cannot even compare it to the recreation that we try to make at home on occasion. Their traditional dish, the hummus with meat, is a mouth-watering delicacy. Restaurant goers gobble down pieces of steaming hot pita bread with scoops of the velvety hummus and richly marinated meat topping. Additionally, they serve you in seconds of your arrival so you barely have to wait for the feasting to begin. It's an affordable, delicious stop and one that is not to be missed. Really, if you haven't tried this place yet, do yourself a favor and GO! 

           

  

By the way, though they are most well known for the humus and meat dish, the meatballs are equally endearing and are a nice addition to the traditional spread. We commonly frequent the King George location (13 King George St.) right off of busy Ben Yehuda Street but we've spotted another location in Talpiyot (22 Yad Harutzim St.). Check out their website online: click here.


   

Don't be deterred by the seeming hole-in-the-wall appearances of the above restaurants....as you know, many of the most fabulous places look this way!

3 comments:

  1. Yum! I definitely need to bookmark this post in case there is a trip to Israel in my future!

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  2. I hope there is a visit to Israel in your future! I know there will be at some time. You know what food I miss from Dallas out of everything? The Village Burger Bar! They have the best burgers, seriously. And I want one!

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  3. Village Burger Bar!! I'll send you a burger from Village Burger Bar and you can send me some hummus for me to taste test ;)

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