Sunday, July 9, 2023


So here's a really interesting article I decided to share as I think it's worthy and should hopefully get as many reader as possible. Also, please log on to the original link and like them  in the

I felt it's important to share this brilliant article by Kay Braeburnl, as it touches on something that I wrote about years ago and I'm happy more food journalist are writing about now.
While Kay was writing about the unhealthiest store bought Hummus - I was writing about the fact that many of the spreads in Stores today aren't actually hummus and aren't healthy.
Hummus means chickpeas in both Arabic and in modern Hebrew slang. Hummus spread means a spread made by Chickpeas.
The way to make this spread is very very basic and anyone can do it even at home. There's a few secrets to great hummus and one of them is how one cooks the chickpeas and what additional veggies and other seasoning is cooked with the chickpeas to give them a special flavor.

The problem is that as Hummus has become popular in the US - many stores have used the word as a substitute for any spread that is a bit grainier than peanut butter. 

That's how they came up with Chocolate Hummus made without chickpeas, Avocado Hummus made without chickpeas,  Onion Hummus made from Onions rather than chickpeas etc...

Imagine a world where Peanut butter was made from everything except peanuts ( Would Americans Buy Avocado Peanut Butter or Onion Peanut Butter ? )

Somehow with Hummus people don't care maybe cause they don't fully understand the literal word Hummus as meaning chick peas.

Remember Seinfeld's Frozen Yogurt episode anyone?  I put a shortened version up above.

If you want to eat a dark fatty chocolate spread do it - but why must you call it Hummus? If you want to eat a guacamole spread but hate the fat - why call it Hummus?

While Hummus has a lot of fat - it also has many nutritional elements - once the chickpeas, olive oil, tehina and the other components are gone are dilluted with other ingredients like chocolate Guacamole or even lots of preservatives  - all that's left is a spread not associated with Hummus and many times it is truly unhealthy.

I believe thanks to reporters like Kay  - more people will start realizing they must only buy Hummus that is made the traditional way and that does aspire to be the healthier spread rather than a whatever we found and could sell as a packaged good.

Sadly, what Kay's story also shows is that today even some traditional Store bought Hummus isn't what one would consider health and has many elements that destroy it's reputation built over thousands of years.

Enjoy reading the article.

The 10 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Hummus Brands

By Kay Braeburn|
June 14, 2023 4:30 pm EST

Hummus is healthy, right? That's the assumption. This has made it a go-to snack for folks trying to eat healthier and vegetarians looking for a convenient source of protein. If you stick to a traditional hummus recipe, it is a filling, nutrient-dense addition to your diet that's low in sugar and unhealthy fats. A 2020 study in Nutrients on the benefits of hummus in the American diet showed that consuming it was connected to healthier glycemic control (both short and long-term) and was seen to "improve cardiovascular health through the lowering of cholesterol, lipid, and blood pressure levels." Hummus should be healthy. 

That said, some pre-packaged hummus brands have gone off-book by adding sugars, heaps of salt, and cheaper oils that aren't as heart-healthy. This list will help you avoid the worst offenders.

Do keep in mind that when compared to many snacks, even the unhealthiest store-bought hummus brands still offer more nutritional value than something like a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. But choose your brand wisely.

1. Ithaca: Grillo's Pickles Hummus

Be sure to read labels when buying Ithaca brand hummus if you're watching your sodium intake; the Grillo's Pickles flavor is one of the worst offenders. The second ingredient after chickpeas is Grillo's pickles, and dill and garlic were also added for an extra kick of pickle flavor. If you're looking for your hummus to taste like pickles, this one delivers, but pickles are a salty flavor and that's going to drive up the sodium content.

How much salt should be in your hummus? Dietitian Lindsey Pine told Time to aim for hummus brands with 80 milligrams of sodium per 2-tablespoon serving at the very most. A 2-tablespoon serving of Grillo's Pickles hummus contains a whopping 230 milligrams of sodium. Ithaca's Buffalo Ranch flavor also has 230 milligrams of sodium. That's a lot of salt considering that according to the Harvard School of Public Health, we generally need 500 milligrams of sodium per day; with this Ithaca hummus, you've just eaten about half of that in 2 tablespoons.

That doesn't mean you're stuck with only ever eating plain hummus (even though plain hummus is delicious). There are lots of options for additions that will take your hummus up a notch that aren't salt bombs like chopped pickles.

2. Good & Gather: Jalapeno Avocado Hummus

The main ingredients of hummus are traditionally chickpeas and tahini with some recipes adding a small amount of heart-healthy olive oil. This keeps the dip relatively low in fat but Good & Gather has other plans. The ingredient list for Jalapeno Avocado Hummus is worrying as it shows there is more water, avocado, and canola oil than there is tahini; it also contains 6 grams of fat per serving.

Something containing fat does not automatically make it unhealthy; what matters is the type of fat. If you're adding oil to hummus, olive oil is the conventional choice and has health advantages while canola oil does not. Olive oil is considered heart-healthy and is also packed with antioxidants, which provide a wide range of health benefits. While canola oil isn't the worst oil out there for your heart, it does not provide you with beneficial antioxidants. In fact, a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease showed that when rats consumed it, their antioxidant levels actually decreased.

On top of the substitution of canola oil instead of olive oil, Good & Gather's line of hummus lacks nutrients like calcium. The brand also has a Brownie Batter Dessert Hummus, which is packed with brown sugar, agave nectar, and chocolate chips. Tasty? Yes. Healthy? Not necessarily. 

3. Lantana: Dark Chocolate Hummus

With an eye toward providing exciting flavor choices, Lantana has strayed far from hummus' healthy roots. This Dark Chocolate Hummus is made with a base of chickpeas but nothing after that is what you would consider hummus. The next few ingredients are water, canola oil, cocoa powder, and three different sweeteners. The label claims that the hummus is "sweetened with dates," and that is true, but that seems to imply that dates are the only sweetener, which is not true. The hummus also contains brown sugar and agave syrup. In case you still weren't sure if this is a good lunch option, the next ingredient is literal dark chocolate chips.

Traditionally, hummus has no added sugar while this one totals up to 5 grams of it. To put that in perspective, 1 teaspoon of plain white sugar is about 4 grams. The serving size is 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons), so for every 5 teaspoons of hummus, there's a heaping teaspoon of sugar.

By omitting tahini altogether, Lantana has reduced the amount of protein you expect to find in hummus by half. The brand has also added the preservative potassium sorbate. Pam Fullenweider, R.D., M.S. told Prevention that people should avoid "pre-made hummus crafted with preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate." While the FDA considers potassium sorbate to be a safe food additive, a 2010 study in Toxicology In Vitro showed that potassium sorbate is genotoxic to certain cells in our blood. Genotoxic means that it directly damages the DNA of cells, which can lead to mutations. No, thank you.

4. Haig's Delicacies: Hummus Rich and Creamy

This hummus proves that even if a brand sticks to a traditional recipe, the proportions can greatly affect the healthiness of the end result. Haig's Delicacies Rich & Creamy Hummus has no oils added and includes a classic ingredient list of only chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water garlic, spices, and sea salt. Seems like it would be a healthy choice, right? Well, the fat content of hummus is mostly determined by the proportion of tahini to chickpeas. The more tahini, the higher the fat.

Tahini is a paste made by grinding up toasted sesame seeds. Comparing the nutrition of equal amounts of chickpeas and tahini, they're about equal when it comes to protein and fiber, but 2 tablespoons of chickpeas have 1.5 grams of fat while 2 tablespoons of tahini have 16 grams of fat. You can see how altering the proportions can make a huge difference

This flavor is called Rich & Creamy and it certainly delivers richness with twice the typical fat content, coming in at 5 grams with 1 gram being saturated fat. Hummus is typically calorie dense, which is fine but because tahini doesn't offer significantly more protein or vitamins than chickpeas, increasing the ratio of tahini increases the fat without any improvement in nutrition. 

5. Sabra: Caramelized Onion Hummus

Not only is hummus good for improving your cardiovascular health and managing blood sugar levels but it's also packed with vitamins and minerals –- or at least it should be but that's not always the case. Sabra's Caramelized Onion Hummus, for example, is not.

According to The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus, a 2016 study published in Nutrients, "consumers of chickpeas and/or hummus have been shown to have higher nutrient intakes of dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron as compared to non-consumers." This is a great reason to add hummus into your diet until you pick up a package from Sabra and see that it, somehow, appears to not be as nutrient-dense as you'd expect. The nutritional facts list calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin D with a zero for all of them. Sabre seems to have removed the nutritional value that would normally be found in chickpeas and tahini while also adding extra sunflower oil (enough to bump the fat content up to 6 grams) as well as brown sugar.

6. Fresh Cravings: Honey Jalapeno Hummus

Fresh Cravings Hummus has multiple things working against it in the quest to be considered a healthy option. One is that all of the brand's hummus flavors use a blend of canola and olive oils. As a blend, you don't know the ratio of canola oil to olive oil. Another is the brand's use of honey and sugar in its Honey Jalapeno flavor.

The biggest issue is that all of Fresh Cravings' hummus offerings contain potassium benzoate and potassium sorbate, two preservatives some people work to avoid. Technically there's nothing so terrible about potassium benzoate on its own. It's a synthetic preservative and, while some people prefer to avoid it, it isn't likely to cause issues at approved levels. It can, however, convert to become the chemical benzene in the presence of ascorbic acid. The CDC says that benzene is a cancer-causing chemical that can be found in cigarette smoke, industrial emissions, hazardous waste sites, and car exhaust. It also can interfere with bone marrow function and cause a range of health issues. 

7. Boar's Head: Traditional Hummus

This Traditional Hummus by Boar's Head is hiding a high level of fat compared to other brands at 7 grams per serving. There are so many other options for plain hummus that are better for you.

The jump in fat content is likely due to its ingredients list beginning with chickpeas, water, sunflower oil, olive oil, and then tahini. Ideally, you'd want there to be less olive oil than tahini in a hummus and you wouldn't want extra oils in it at all. The medical journal Foods published a 2022 study comparing the health effects of olive oil versus sunflower oils and the results showed that consuming olive oil was correlated to improved cardiovascular health while sunflower oils were not.

If you already have to go light on portions, you'd hope it would be nutrient-packed but this hummus brand also lacks calcium, iron, and potassium. Other flavors of Boar's Head hummus either omit the olive oil (Sweet Chili Garlic Hummus) or the tahini (Apple Pie Dessert Hummus) but add in refined sugar.

8. Taste of Inspirations: Original Hummus

Taste of Inspirations is meddling with the traditional hummus recipe by adding more oil than tahini in its flavors and producing hummus with lower levels of vitamins and minerals. Sunflower oil is the second ingredient followed by olive oil, and only after that does tahini shows up. Several of the flavors feature those two oils as the second and third ingredients and, as previously mentioned, sunflower oil doesn't have the same cardiovascular benefits as olive oil. Taste of Inspirations also uses guar gum, a thickening agent, to artificially change the texture of a food that should be plenty creamy on its own.

The nutrition across the board is very inconsistent. Some are greatly lacking vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron while others aren't. Several flavors have sodium levels in the 100-milligram to 150-milligram range, which is above the recommended 80 milligrams. In the Dark Chocolate Hummus, the second ingredient is sugar and it has only half the protein of others. Instead of having to check all the labels, it would be easier to skip this brand altogether. 

9. 365: Original Hummus

There's this idea that shopping at Whole Foods for hummus means you're getting safer, higher quality foods — sort of like how you think eating hummus is guaranteed to be healthy. It appears that both may be wrong. In 2020, the Environmental Working Group ordered testing of popular hummus brands and dried chickpeas to check for the presence of the weedkiller glyphosate. If that chemical name sounds familiar that's because it's the active ingredient in RoundUp, the herbicide that studies as recently as 2021 have linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

365, a Whole Foods brand hummus beat all the hummus products tested to win first place. However, placing first in weedkiller levels is not typically what you're hoping for in a food product. Fortunately, by comparing the testing results to the FDA's allowed range of glyphosate, while this hummus contains significantly higher levels than the majority of the others tested, it's still solidly within the allowed range so the chances of it actually causing harm are minimal. Still though, knowing that this brand has more herbicide residue than others may mean you'll want to choose a different brand.

10. Marketside: Dark Chocolate Hummus

When a hummus has a chickpea base but with sugar as the second ingredient, you can't classify it as healthy. This Walmart brand Dark Chocolate Hummus is lacking in tahini and as a result, only has half the protein benefit as other hummus options. All of the brand's flavors use alternative oils like sunflower oil and the even less healthy canola oil so you're losing out on all the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of traditional olive oil.

The third ingredient common in the Marketplace brand is water to dilute the mixture; this brand's flavors also have guar gum on the ingredient list, which is typically used as a thickener. Thinning the hummus out and then adding a thickener might explain why this Marketplace's hummus tends to be low on things like calcium and potassium. Some flavors have perfectly reasonable salt levels while others, like the Everything Hummus, have 135 milligrams. Ultimately, if you want to control the ingredients going into your hummus to be sure it's healthy, it's probably better to just make it yourself.

Read More:

Jewish Vs. Arab Hummus

We rarely share videos on this blog unless we feel you our viewers will benefit from them. Here's a funny Israeli video pitting two mythical Hummus restaurants in Israel An Arab  and a Jewish one.   It was made by an Israeli blogger RonnenGG who has about 400,000 subscribers, It was a  funny entertaining and extremely honest video . So check it out and give him a like if you agree with his review. I loved his video so I said, why not share with all of you.

The Arab restaurant in the video is called Halil - and is one of the best and most famous Hummus restaurants in Israel in  the ancient city of Ramleh and I've never met anyone in Israel who had a bad word to say about that restaurant. It is at the top echelons of Hummus restaurants in Israel and many Israelis have eaten there as kids so they've come to love this place and cherish it as the Rolex of Hummus.

The Jewish Hummus joint is in a kibbutz. It's called Gingi ( Redhead) -  It's become extremely popular over the years and many Israelis swear by it too.

While the youtube title is catchy - and I guess meant to attract Israelis and Arabs to watch the clip - I think the real difference between the two restaurants isn't the religion  of it's owners but rather a difference in tastes of whomever is the head chef.

But there is a point in RonenGG's videos and made me think that in my opinions too -  many Jewish hummus restaurants don't have the same spicing as comparable Arab Hummus restaurants  and their Hummus feel a bit more bland. They got the texture right, they got everything else right but the taste is just not the same.

The Israeli restaurant - The Gingi - is newer and only time will tell how long it'll survive even though it's very popular and famous at the moment.

The Arab restaurant - Halil has been there for what seems like forever and as long as they continue making what they're making at a competitive price could continue making it  for like... forever.

Anyways, enjoy the video and if you don't understand Hebrew you can probably add subtitles on youtube.


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Best Hummus in TEL AVIV's upscale neighborhood of Ramat Aviv - the Israeli equivalent to NYC's "UPPER EAST SIDE"-


So today, I'd like to introduce all travellers to Israel to the Hummus some of the  upper 1% of Israel's wealthiest citizens eat near their homes in the Schuster shopping center in Ramat Aviv Gimmel.   Tel Aviv's version of  Manhattan's upper east side.

Back in the day there was a famous Israeli TV show called  by the same name - Ramat Aviv Gimmel - depicting the lives of the rich and famous living in this neighborhood. 
It was a huge hit in Israel and made this area  even more mythical and expensive.  
Back then, it made the local shopping center famous and there was always visitors from around the country sitting in one of the many coffee shops there and star gazing at  the many celebrities, famous politicians, artists, and CEO's doing business lunches and meetings there.

Some claim one can even see Quentin Tarantino around the neighborhood. It is a possibility as it's already well known that Tarantino moved to Israel and was living in Tel Aviv. So who knows...

But unlike Manhattan or anywhere else in the world - where it's easy to identify the upscale from the down and trodden neighborhoods -  just by the look of the local shopping mall - in Israel, just like in Israel - even in the most expensive neighborhoods - the local shopping center  is a weird mix of expensive stores surrounded by  Rot, Rust, and Mould . 

It's a dilapidated shopping mall that looks more ghetto than Gucci.

That is Israel in a nutshell - a country where chaos and ugliness is accepted  and everyone's fine overlooking the surrounding and focusing only at the reality they'd like to see .

Black walls and ceilings

Residents  pay anywhere from $1,000,000 for small apartments to over  $10 Million for a home nearbye - and yet accept this cockroach infested dilapidated shopping center under their homes.

Tel Aviv was named as one of the most expensive cities in the world - some say the most expensive and yet as crazy as the pricing of everything is  -  one gets so little for what one pays - be it horrendous decor,  awful service, and overall subpar standards of consumerism.

Is it just me or have  others  experienced that too in Israel and especially in Tel Aviv? Drop a comment if you too feel there's a problem with this Israeli horrid concept of getting so little for what you pay for...
I believe only by enough tourists and travellers finally saying enough is enough maybe things could start to change cause change is needed.
Israelis can't ask for a premium while giving their customers a subpar quality in return.

But philosophy aside- let's get back to Hummus.
Even in this  grungy yet expensive shopping center - In Gimmel, as it's called by the locals - there is some of the best Hummus in Tel Aviv as is expected in  Tel Aviv's shopping center for the rich and famous.


The Northern part of Tel Aviv is called Ramat Aviv.  Gimmel is the third letter in the Israeli alphabet and Ramat Aviv Gimmel represents the third addition to this neighborhood - in essence it was perhaps the last and newest part of the city when it was built and so allowed new and modern high rises while the rest of the city had only older homes.
Today that is changing as new and even more modern high rises are being built all over the city - but the myth of Ramat Aviv Gimmel as a place of luxury and wealth still attracts a certain kind of residents to the neighborhood. 

Ramat Aviv Gimmel - for tourists wanting to visit it - is north of the older neighborhoods of Ramat Aviv which are home to  Israel's largest university - Tel Aviv U , as well as to many museums that are beloved by tourists like The ANU museum of Jewish People, The Steinhardt museum of natural history,   the Rabin Israeli  Museum and one of Tel Aviv's largest museums -   the museum of  Eretz Israel .
For tourists who are on their second or third visit to Israel - and they're planning a trip to the university or one of the many museums nearbye ,  Gimmel shopping center - could be a wonderful break to eat and get a sense of the weirdness of Israel from a less touristy point of view.

There are a lot of coffee shops,  high end bakeries and other food options for the locals.  So Hummus might not be the first thought on the minds of tourists visiting this area.
They usually go into one of the nicer ( if you can call it such) restaurants, pizzerias, French bakeries etc...
But the locals... they love their hummus as can be seen by the packed Hummus joints.

There are  3 places I'd like to recommend but things are extremely fluid in this shopping center. Rent is extremely high and many stores open and close just as fast including most of the restuarants there, so things might change also in the Hummus scene there from the time you read this to the time you actually visit this shopping center.

The three Hummus joints I'd like to recommend in Shuster shopping center - or Gimmel shopping center - as some call it - are : 

Ask different residents and they'll swear only one of them is  great and the others suck. 
As someone who's eaten at all of these joints many times,  I can attest they're all really good, clean and recommended.


Mifgash Gimmel is the oldest and has been there for years. It's run by a few brothers that all work there  diligently  Some of the brothers are religious - so the place is perhaps the one that feels the most Kosher which it is.  It's probably the most successful of the three Hummus restaurants, as it's the oldest so the locals know and love it .

During lunch it's packed also with kids after school,  who's parents maybe sent them there to buy lunch when the parents didn't feel like cooking. It's kid friendly and has a lot of options for kids.
The owners are always on premise joking with the adults and kids and letting everyone test new dishes they've made in the store.
The joint has a 1970's feel to it - like the old Hummus joints of past. 
But don't let the decor fool you - this is a very high end food place run in the best of ways.
During the busy hours - there's always huge lines - but no matter how busy the place is - you'll get your food in probably under 10 minutes.
The Falafel is always fresh and people love their Shawarma.
They also have a large assortment of plastic boxes with homemade food to take home with popular dishes like Schnitzel ( Fried Chicken in bread crumbs) ,  Rice with lentils etc...
On Fridays, before the Sabbath kicks in, many residents rush to that place to buy fresh food for their family's Shabbat dinner.
They claim to make all the dishes in their restaurant. I've tasted a lot of their dishes and they do taste fresh and have a homemade taste to it - not like a generic supermarket made dish made in a factory.

The Hummus is very good. I won't stay outstanding but it's very very good.   Their Falafel on the other hand is outstanding. One of the best in Tel Aviv. Also, their Pita Bread is outstanding - maybe the best of the three restaurant joints in the Gimmel shopping mall and I've seen many residents sometimes just buy the pitas there.

Their falafel  in a pita is always super packed and you'll probably have leftovers to take home. Another thing I love about their falafel is that it's ALWAYS and I do mean always fresh. Even if you come in the hours between lunch and dinner when the place is relatively empty - they'll probably make you some fresh Falafel balls just for your pita so it'll be fresh and hot. I guess that's why they've managed to survive in this cutthroat shopping center where so many hundreds of small business owners came and went  not figuring out how to cater to the high net residents of this neighborhood  - These brothers  treat every customer like a king regardless how they come dressed. 

Mifgash Gimmel is near the supermarket and has seating.

Caspi according to their website was intended to be a local Hummus restaurant.  It opened it's first restaurant in 2011 by Chef Yaniv Caspi.
Since then they became a chain and now have 13 Hummus restaurants in Israel aiming to maintain a local vibe to their restaurants. According to some websites it's operated both by the Caspi family as well as by the Cafe Cafe group - which is a national chain of coffee shops similar to Coffeebean or Starbucks in the US.
If Cafe Cafe are still a partial owner it could mean there's a lot of money behind this chain as it's affiliated with a larger Israeli food corporation.

As Caspi have become a Hummus brand - it was only fitting they also open up a local Hummus restaurant in Ramat Aviv Gimmel .

Of the three excellent Hummus restaurants in the Gimmel shopping center - it is my number 3 option.   While I like it a bit less - I can't say it's not great hummus. It's still very high end hummus and if this was the only Hummus joint in this shopping mall I'd still highly recommend it - but in my personal opinion it's a bit less than the other two hummus restaurants.

That said - many local residents swear by this restaurant and love it and buy only  there a lot of Hummus for their home and lots of locals are always sitting there.

Of the three hummus restaurants - this one has a bit more of an upscale feel. Not sure why. All three still feel more like a small local joint than a full restaurant - but Caspi did make a bit more effort to make their place look a tad nicer.

Caspi  is trying to bring higher end Hummus to the masses via franchising so that's an interesting venture that could change the Hummus scene in Israel.
I guess a lot of people who've visited their other locations - feel more comfortable going back to the familiar taste of Caspi.

CASPI's Hebrew only website:

Abba Ahimeir Street 29 Tel Aviv

Tzipora is one of the newer restaurants in the Gimmel shopping center so it's hard to say if they'll have any staying power.
According to their website - they are also a chain with 6 restaurants across the country.

Their other branches have nicer seating but Tzipora has glass casing so it'll probably be a bit warmer to sit there in winter.

I personally love their Hummus the most in this shopping center so I do hope they will succeed and stay as I do believe 3 similar and competing restaurants help all three stay relevant and supply the best customer service and give the most to their clients.

Tzipora based on research online is mostly focused on their Grill menu. They have a lot of options for meat lovers.

It seems they have deals with all the major local delivery services so I guess an important part of their business model is delivering food to the residents who don't feel like climbing down from their ivory towers and eat at the disgusting shopping center downstairs.

While they seem to be focused on meat - I've tried a bunch of their non meat items and I can attest it's all very high end.


All three Hummus joints are high end. Taste is subjective so I guess it's best to taste all three and make your own opinion. Share your thoughts if you've ever eaten in one of these.
In a random polling of my family - I loved Tzipora's Hummus the most. I think it's in a league of it's own. My sister and her family love Caspi the most and my mother and father swear that Mifgash Gimmel has the best falafel in Tel Aviv and are extremely loyal to it and so are also byassed about it's Hummus. So here you have it - even in one family - the reviews are mixed and different family members are loyal to different restaurants in the same shopping center.

Best Falafel in Ramat Aviv
Also, Best Pita bread
And Best Food for home takeout especially to feed kids.

Best Hummus in Ramat Aviv Gimmel

CASPi: 8.5
High end hummus chain with high end hummus that's destined to grow.
Best in person seating  in Ramat Aviv Gimmel if you want to sit on site and eat in a more restaurant feel.



A Wine Bar in Ramat Aviv Gimmel Schuster Center

Ramat Aviv Gimmel's Schuster center is Israel in a nut shell.
High end Wine Bars, French bakeries and expensive fashion stores docked amidst a run down shopping mall that looks third wall at best.
New generations of kids from the top 1% of society run around in this shopping mall and grow up learning to not look at their surrounding and focus only on the here and now and only on the little beauty tucked away amidst the ugliness all around.

A society cannot exist for long - if they accept ugliness as a way of life.

A society cannot exist for long if they accept that corruption is so deep that even the 1 percenters have a shopping mall they attend to that looks so awful and dilapidated and no one stands up against it.  Why don't the residents boycott this locale? Why doesn't the city force the shopping center to fix this eye sore?

A society cannot exist for long with generation after generation of people living without caring about anything going on in the streets under their homes.

A society cannot exist for long if the residents only care about what they'd like to buy next but don't care about the place that is their neighborhood, their childs growing up environment, their meeting grounds with their friends, neighbors, families.

And when you see that this is the shopping center of the 1% - this is the shopping center of the influencers, the thought leaders, the celebrities,  the CEO's, the doctors, lawyers, politicisans and ome of the most powerful people in Israel you ask yourself - what about the other 99% - How do they live? What do they accept as normalcy?  

You realize there's a problem under the surface of Israel that will probably eventually explode to the surface and who knows it's ramifications. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 11, 2021


There's a new king in supermarket Hummus in the US and it's... ( Drum roll) ... Holy Hummus.
WOWA WEEWA it is good. 
I bought it randomly in the supermarket in LA, one day when they ran out of the other bigger brands I tend to buy.
There's nothing very special or inviting in their packaging.  It looks like all the other generic supermarket Hummus brands -but wait till you taste it...

They have 4 flavors: Homestyle Hummus with olive oil, Jersualem with Tehina , Nazareth and Classic.
They're all really good. 
The best in my opinion is their Homestyle Hummus which has lots of chickpeas and feels coarse and fresh like restaurant hummus in the middle east.

Their second best in my opinion is Jerusalem Hummus which is much creamier and also excellent.

Their last 2 flavors are Nazarath and Classic. Two flavors that are still really good and no one will ever complain about - well no one except those that already tasted their Homestyle Hummus.

 The main difference between the four Hummus isn't that much the taste but rather  the texture.  While the Homestyle seems to be the coarsest, the Nazareth somewhat coarse and the Classic the creamiest.
For those who love creamy rather than coarse - you will find everything you are looking for in the Classic.

The hardest thing in making supermarket hummus is figuring out how to ensure it doesn't have that "plastic" aftertaste of preservatives and other ingredients which make it feel somewhat generic.
Some of the Hummus companies place a lot of garlic or garlic flavoring that hides the fake aftertaste, 
while others simply place more focus on texture than on taste.

To get additional flavors that taste a bit different and don't have the same aftertaste and garliccy flavor - some larger supermarket chains have started experimenting in recent years in distributing creamed veggies made from other ingredients not chickpeas yet still call it Hummus - even thought hummus based on my understanding has to be made from chickpeas.
It's like calling a butter made from Cauliflower - PEANUT BUTTER - knowing people prefer butter made from peanuts over butter made from Cauliflower.

Maybe Cauliflower cream is interesting - but peanut butter should be made from peanuts or it's false advertising.
Hummus is made from Hummus - i.e. chickpeas in Arabic and Hebrew. 

Because of Covid 19 - a lot of restaurants have closed and many people prefer buying supermarket hummus that feels safer and has less potential for Covid 19.
That's why it's super important to choose the right one.

It seems that Holy Hummus is still a small label and isn't available in many supermarkets and even in the ones it is available it tends to run out very quick as it's possible the word on the street has already spread about the uniqueness of this tasty hummus.

I purchased this hummus first time at the Israeli supermarket - Samy Makolet on Fairfax blvd in Los Angeles, CA . Sammy Makolet is one of the most famous specializing Israeli supermarkets and I understood it's also sold in the other famous Israeli supermarkets in LA.

Samy Makolet also tend to run out of it quite fast and I had to follow up to figure out when they get more supply to purchase more of it. 
From the Holy Hummus website it seems it's a NY based company so they might already be available to purchase all over the nation or at least in large cities from LA to NY.

Because of Covid 19 - I couldn't do blind tests with friends - but I did recommend they all purchase it and let me know their thoughts and they did - and they were all blown away by the taste that is quite unique for a supermarket hummus.

Bottom line - I hope with Covid 19 and the fact many people aren't shopping in smaller supermarkets only buying from large retailers like Costco, Amazon, Whole Food, Krogers etc ... that people will still discover this new company that is still mostly sold in smaller supermarkets and is mostly sold out.
Unlike the large Hummus brands - that tend to occupy the majority of the Hummus Fridge even in smaller specialized markets - this Hummus tends to hide in the corner.
If not for Covid and shortage of supplies - I probably would've never discovered this brand myself and stuck to the large brands I know.

I also hope this brand slowly make their way into the larger retail chains - cause their taste - is ready for the mainstream spotlight .
But as they make it to the larger retailers - I hope they will not compromise their unique and unbelievable flavor that tastes as good as many restaurants and will help educate Americans to the real taste of Middle Eastern Hummus.

Their website:



DR. SANDWICH has been recognized by a lot of middle Easterners as having the best Hummus in LA and in Beverly Hills ( They have two restaurants).  It also has unbelievable Pita bread - that tastes fresh and is very different than any other Pita's one purchases anywhere in LA. Unlike the American Pitas that are bought in Supermarkets and in many Middle Eastern Restaurants that are very thin and usually somewhat hard - Dr. Sandwich's pitas are thick, fluffy and are so fresh - they feel like they just came out of an oven.

Their Falafel is also great with a perfect taste and texture and so are other dishes they serve.

There's always a large line of people waiting to purchase their hummus - as there are a lot of middle easterners and middle eastern food lovers and the secret has been shared by all of them about this restaurant.

Now with Covid 19, there's a lot of people picking up  and rightfully so.

SO why the - BUT...

The but - is because it is relatively expensive to eat Hummus at this restaurant and they do small things that truly ruin the experience.

1. The most annoying thing is that a Hummus plate costs $10 - and it comes with a relatively small amount of hummus on the plate and only ONE!!! PITA bread.
Who ever finished a whole hummus plate with only one Pita bread? 
Most people eat 2-3 pitas with their plate - which hikes the price of a hummus plate to about $12 as they charge extra for each pita.

They will give you pickles if you ask - but those too come in a very small plastic dish. The dish is about the size of small dishes inwhich people get ketchup in other places.
Middle easterners love pickles with their Hummus - and most places are very generous about the pickles and throw also olives and other pickles vegetables to show their generosity.

Dr. Sandwich gives you pickles only if you ask - and also - in a very small portion and will fill it up if you ask.

If you want a small salad or pickled white cabbage dish which a lot of people love to eat with their Hummus that will cost you extra. Relatively a lot more extra. 
Some restaurants give these two for free if they charge an expensive price for their hummus - and other restaurants give an option to order small side dishes of these two as sides.
But this restaurant doesn't do that and forces you if you want these a salad and pickled veggies that aren't pickles- to buy them as full side dishes.

I get it - that this restaurant is in Beverly Hills - and everything is more expensive also for them - when they need to maintain it in a 90212 area code.
But usually in Beverly Hills - if you want to justify high prices - one has to look the part - and this restaurant looks far from a high end place.
The restaurants decor is very basic. It doesn't have the feel of a high end restaurant. To me it felt like a pedestrian fast food diner inside a gas station in Israel - who's main clientelle is truckers stopping for a fast food meal on their way from Beer Sheva to Tel Aviv.

I loved their Hummus - and I do hope this place will survive and continue thriving.
Seeing so many middle eastern restaurants come and go in LA - I know how hard it is to keep a restaurant alive in a city where people love change and aren't loyal to even wonderful restaurants.
Because of their great hummus - they have huge lines snaking around the place - but unless they figure out their pricing scheme - and what they offer for their expensive prices - they might find themselves fighting for clients in the future and once some people will be tired of paying so much for so little food and without getting the full Middle Eastern experience - with several Pitas and a plate full of Pickles - they might one day discover that customers are leaving and never coming back.

I truly hope the owners of this wonderful Hummus restaurant realize they have the momentum right now and do the needed changes in their menu and servings to ensure their customers will realize it's not just wonderful Hummus but also a great deal that is worth coming back to again and again.

Only time will Tell - if Dr. Sandwich becomes the HUMMUS CLASSIC in LA - like PINK's is to HOT DOGS - or if it will be a fad - and a wonderful memory of a wonderful restaurant that vanished over time - like DOUGH BOYS was on THIRD STREET.

Regardless of what happens to this place in the future - I do hope everyone tastes their hummus - so that they will be able to say - LA had amazing hummus that could compete with any middle eastern restaurant in the middle east!