Monday, December 13, 2010


End of the year, and so it's time to make a list of the best and worst Hummus places in LA and how did they hold up this year.



The winner for this year is Chapa on Wilshire and Crescent. Their Hummus might not be magical like I would want it to be but it is good working man's Hummus that is always fresh and always served in large quantities with free pickles and lots of olive oil. All for a logical fit for all price that makes this my winner for best hummus in LA.

That said, in my last two visits I've noticed they've reduced the amount of Pitas they serve with the plate from two to one which is very annoying and disrespectful to their Hummus loving customers. 
I hope they will not try to immitate their competitors that lowered the quality of their Hummus while raising prices and giving less for more $$$.

I also recommend their Falafel which is amazing and gets my two thumbs up easily beating many of their competitors.


The list for awful places is long and plenty. Sadly both Israeli and Arabs from all nations in the middle east have no problem opening places that serve awful Hummus  that doesn't taste fresh, is served in small quantities and is extremely expensive. 
It's sad that so many middle easterners feel that they can con their brothers and sisters in LA with Hummus that's expensive and simply disgusting and they are helping give middle eastern food an awful name.

I guess Hummus is a very personal thing and to each person there's his own taste buds. But that said, talking to my friends - there's quite an agreement among them that the winner for the WORST HUMMUS RESTAURANT in LA for 2010 is AROMA CAFE.

Aroma wins not just because of it's awful Hummus but for the overall experience. Expensive food, disgusting waiters and waitresses that treat customers like dirt, are mean spirited, slow, unhelpful and seem to have the backing of their bosses to be as evil to their customers as possible.

For those going to Aroma, all I can say is that you deserve the attitude and high bill you'll get there.  Aroma brings out a lot of negative emotions from me.
So even before their awful Hummus is served - the overall attitude of everyone around makes me sick.

Happy holidays everyone and enjoy the Hummus of the new year!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A friend took me to Chapa, a new place a few months ago in a small strip mall on Crescent Heights and Wilshire.

For those not familiar with LA, Wilshire is one of the hubs of the business area in Los Angeles and so finding a small Israeli place there is kind of wierd.
That said, the Israeli consulate, the Jewish federation and Nu Image, the Israeli owned production company that has already produced hundreds of successful features with many Hollywood stars are all located there so it's an area that has a lot of Israelis that will appreciate a great hummus place.

The place looks uninspiring. I went back there with an American friend to see how a local will react to the food and ecor and he didn't understand it.  But for Israeli's this place reminds them of many famous Hummus places in Israel that have that grundgy run down atmosphere.  It's like for a New Yorker to come to Los Angeles and enter Canters or Jerry's deli... and be reminded of Carnegie Deli or 2nd Avenue deli.
It feels authentic and real. For others it might just look run down and greasy...

The food is really tasty. Try their Falafel, it's superb. The Hummus is very Israeli style.
They give large portions and are very generous with all their food. The pitas were fresh.
The chicken Shawarma, according to some is a little too greasy.  I didn't try it - but an Israeli friend who tried it claimed it's just like in Israel in any Shawarma Joint.

Prices were great and unlike many of the other places I've reviewed - were logical and made me want to come back.

If I have one complaint about the place it was that because it's so packed during lunch- you have to stand in a long line and wait and also it takes awhile to get the food.
Guess, I'm not the only one that discovered how good the food is here.

Since in past reviews of new places, after the initial newness of the place faded and the owner started serving small portions of unfresh food - this time I waited and visited the place three times before writing this review and it was always great - only the lines to buy the Hummus got longer and longer - proving that some people can be suckered some of the time- but most people- especially middle eastern food lovers can't be suckered all the time.
A lot of people are fed up with the expensive price of mediocre food they get in other places and so the rumor of Chapa's wonderful food and cheap prices has spread fast and people are going there to curb their Hummus craving.

This place isn't meant for a romantic middle eastern place for a date. But if you already have love and want to treat her to good food or ...
If you're on a love break and just want great Hummus in the meantime -
This Hummus place will do the job perfectly.

I wish Chapa a lot of success and hope they won't be influenced by their competitors and raise prices and lower the quality and quantity of the food once they get a little more established.

In the meantime - all I can say for lunch: CHAPA IS FIVE FALAFEL BALLS in my blog!

6256 Wilshire Blvd
Los AngelesCA 90046
Neighborhood: Mid-City West
(323) 936-2460

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Itzik Hagadol - Encino, California

OVERALL RATING: * ( 1 star out of 5)
TASTE: * ( 1 star out of 5)

Itzik Hagadol is an Israeli restaurant across the street from the Encino Town Center shopping mall. A great location for a restaurant in Encino that holds so much potential. It shares the same name as a popular middle eastern restaurant in Israel.  From their website it seems that the two restaurant are connected:

Currently this is the most expensive Middle Eastern restaurant I've eaten in the united states - and unfortunetly the price doesn't justify the experience.
Even their lunch menus are super expensive. 
An average meal is between $30 - $50 per person and when you think what you get in return - some  Hummus and a little bit of middle eastern food -you ask yourself are people crazy for agreeing to pay that price?

As for the taste:
The Hummus is mostly bland and uninspiring just like most of their salads.
That said, their Pitas are baked on the premise and are wonderful and fresh. 
Their lunch 10 salad special is a scam. It's not only expensive (about $10 per person as a main dish and about $6 for a side dish and everyone at the table is forced to pay it regardless if only one person orders it or if everyone orders it) They bring to the table those salads that are the least inspiring. They don't give Hummus, Tabulleh or any of the salads that are what people usually desire and expect when they crave for middle eastern salad.

During lunch when I was there, the place was packed which proves that perhaps some people don't mind paying a lot and getting very little. 
Nearbye there are a lot of middle eastern restaurants. One of them even advertises a full buffet meal for $9.99. So it make one wonder about the logic or rational of Hummus lovers.

Here is their address for those not caring about price or taste. 
17201 Ventura Boulevard
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 784-4080

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What the...Hummus?

After Lebanon broke the world record with the largest Hummus plate ever, it seemed that it was just a matter of time before an Israeli would try to retaliate with his own Hummus world record.
It's the middle east, after all, and everyone wants to retaliate - right?
An eye for an eye, a hummus plate for a hummus plate...

So now,, a Hummus blog reports that they themselves had decided to take the challenge and created the...
Yes you read it right - the smallest Hummus plate.
Yes. It does sound kind of bizarre, but then again perhaps not more bizarre than the largest hummus plate. Here's the official link: claims that :
"39mm hummus plate, containing 14 grams of hummus. 300 Lebanese chefs were needed to break the record for the largest hummus plate. We only needed ONE!"

Based on images on their blog it seems that the hummus plate was smaller than a quarter.  Check their website for pictures. Guess, We'll have to wait for the official Guiness confirmation to see if their claim is legit.

I'm delighted that Lebanese and Israeli's have found a positive area in which to compete.
Maybe instead of a war, they could just create a Hummus olympics. It will probably be cheaper, tastier and I'm sure the people on both sides will enjoy it more.

Go Hummus teams, go!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bruno and the World’s Best Hummus

    Here's an interesting article I recently stumbled upon in the Jewish Journal. It's about Bruno and the World's Best Hummus.It's a great article and I urge you all to log on to the newspapers original article that also has pictures and all..
This article was originally writen in the LA Jewish Journal.

I know some of you may raise eyebrows about the source and wonder what could a Jewish American newspaper know about Hummus.
But I must say that in recent years under the leadership of Rob Eshman this old publication has truly reinvented itself.. The free LA JJ has become a hip LA newspaper read by both Jews and Non Jews dealing with issues that are relevant to all Angelenos about food, love, dating, politics, enviroment and yes... Also Hummus.

"If you can get past the thousand swinging penises, bare bottoms and endless dildos that fill most of the screen in Bruno, you can appreciate creator Sacha Baron Cohen’s genius for wrapping biting social commentary in fully-realized comic moments.  What I’m talking about is hummus.
About 100 naked penises into the movie,  fabulously gay Bruno decides he must do something major to become famous.  So he jets off to Israel to make peace in the Middle East.  Cut to Bruno/Baron Cohen sitting between former Mossad officer Yossi Alpher and Palestinian negotiator Ghassan Khatib.
Bruno takes advantage of their kindness by purposely confusing hummus the dish with Hamas the Palestinian terrorist organization.
A lot of stories quote a line or two from the exchange to show how Cohen duped the former Mossadnik, but the entire scene, in context, shows Cohen managed to make a much more important point.
“Why are you so anti-Hamas?” Bruno asks. “I mean, isn’t pita bread the real enemy here?”
“You think there is a relation between Hamas and Hummus?” Khatib asks.
“Hummus has nothing to do with Hamas,” Alpher responds “It’s a food. We eat it, they eat it.”
“You think there is a relation between Hamas and Humus?” Khatib asks.

Bruno looks confused. “Was the founder of Hamas a chef? He created the food and got lots of followers?”
Alpher begins to lose his patience.  “Hummus has nothing to do with Hamas. It’s a food, okay?  We eat it, they eat it—”
—“It’s vegetarian, it’s healthy, it’s beans,” Khatib says.

Then Cohen goes in for the kill: “So you agree on that,” he says.
Underlying these cultures,  both locked in a vicious war, is a commonality that is perfectly symbolized by a bowl of “healthy, vegetarian” beans.
Cohen, you have to understand, has an Israeli mother. (His dad is from Wales, which I guess doesn’t lend itself to as many funny food scenes).  When I met him two years ago, we spoke almost entirely in Hebrew.  He lived on a kibbutz for a while, and he has a degree in political science from Oxford.  I’m going to posit that in a serious conversation about the Palestinian Israeli conflict, he would astound Alpher.
But by playing the hummus card, he made one of the most powerful points he could about Jews and Arabs, and about food.  People who share the same food usually share the same fate. That’s true whether they know it or not, whether they act as if it’s true and learn to cooperate, or strive to ignore that truth, and turn their knives on one another.
The columnist Tom Friendman has famously written that countries with McDonalds never go to war with each other.  His point is that spreading democracy and free markets spreads peace. But Friedman’s McDonald’s theory begs a question: how can people who eat the exact same foods kill one another?
They can and do.
On an unmarked street in the Christian Arab part of the Old City of Jerusalem, find Lina’s.  I go there on every visit to Israel.  Seven tables, no fan.  The owner stands in an alcove by the entrance, pounding a wooden pestle into a simmering vat of garbanzo beans.  He pours in fresh ground tehina, he sprinkles in lemon salt and garlic, and all the time he keeps moving that stick-sized pestle,  until the mixture is smooth and almost white, and fluffed with air. There’s no menu.  You sit, a young man puts a slice of onion, a pickle and a tomato wedge in front of you, some warm pita, then the owner ladles some warm hummus onto a plate, drizzles it with olive oil, and sends it over.
It’s not 100 percent safe for anyone who looks too Jewish to get there—Jews have been attacked walking the Old City alleys, and Israelis will tell you it’s too dangerous—but there are always Israeli Jews inLina’s.  If you want the best hummus in Israel—I believe it’s the best I’ve had in the world—you have no choice.  So what does that mean?  Israelis will risk their lives to eat hummus with Arabs—they just can’t seem to make peace with them.
When I returned from my last trip to Israel, I decided I needed to recreate Lina’s hummus, or a close facsimile, in my kitchen.  Rule number one is: no canned chickpeas.  To make good hummus, you need to soak your own garbanzo beans.  For great hummus, make it and serve it warm.
Almost Lina’s Hummus
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 cup good quality tahina
2 cloves garlic
1 T. plus 1 t. baking soda
1 t. cumin
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 t. salt
1/4 c. olive oil
Paprika and Chopped Parsley
1. Rinse beans well and cull any dark, broken ones, and any pebbles, too. Soak beans overnight in water with 1 T. baking soda.  Drain beans, soak in fresh water for an hour.
2. Put in saucepan with water to cover by two inches, with 1 t. baking soda.  Bring to boil, skimming foam, then simmer and cooking til very soft, about an hour.
3. Remove from pot (do not drain away cooking water) and place in blender or Cuisinart with a 1/4 cup of the liquid, the garlic and cumin. Blend until smooth.  Let cool 5 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and enough of teh cooking liquid to make a very smooth mixture, the consistency of soft sour cream (it hardens as it cools). Taste for seasoning.
4. To serve, pour onto plate, drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley, and serve with warm pita bread.
5. Now go make peace."