Showing posts with label middle eastern food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label middle eastern food. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2012

BEST HUMMUS IN NEW YORK CITY ( NYC) 2012, Based on Village Voice


The Village Voice a publication that's always ahead of the pack published it's list of 10 best Middle Eastern Restaurants for 2012. 
The Village voice - is one voice I always listen to so I wondered what all of you think also of their taste buds not just their voice?  Their article got only 10 comments which might mean that their readers might love hearing a strong voice - but sadly aren't strong on their love of Hummus.
 I didn't want this voice forgotten - so I decided to help and share their conclusions:

Here's the link to the full article:

Here's their top 10 and the reason they'v chosen it:"

1. Kabab Café -- Not only does this Egyptian café in Astoria offer an outstanding meze platter, it's one of the most intimate, relaxing spaces in the entire city. If you come during the day, there will be no written menu to choose from, the owner and chef of the restaurant's minuscule kitchen, Ali El Sayed, will simply ask you what you'd like to eat. Your order must absolutely include baba ghanoush, made with intensely smoked eggplant and lime, stuffed eggplant (if available), and the place's truly distinct fava falafel -- the daintiest, crispiest fritters you could ever hope to find outside the region. 25-12 Steinway Street, Queens, 718-728-9858

2. Cedars Meat House -- The juicy meat skewers at Cedars will make every other kebab you've had in this city pale in comparison. Order the platter so you can really taste the deep seasoning and perfect char of the lamb shish kebab and the spicy beef kufta kebab. They come with plenty of accoutrements: two dipping sauces -- a potent garlic sauce, and one with hot pepper flakes; a fresh chopped cucumber, tomato, and onion salad; hummus; and baba ghanoush. Then cool down your palate with some ayran, a sour yogurt drink often consumed with meat for digestive purposes in the Middle East. 41-08 30th Avenue, 718-606-1244

3. Tanoreen -- You can find some fantastic meze -- snacks meant for nibbling on while lounging for hours at an outdoor café -- at this Bay Ridge restaurant. Try some Arab classics: kibbeh -- raw, if available (fear not, it's like steak tartare), baked, or fried -- crispy lamb-filled sambousek, and tabbouleh salad. 7704 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-748-5600

4. Taïm -- This Israeli vegetarian carryout gets some serious points for boldness -- it serves three different flavors of falafel, a move that would be considered heresy in some purist circles. My favorite one features house-made harissa, a chili pepper paste common in North African cooking, which turns the balls' interior a vibrant orange color. The great thing is that when you bite into the harissa falafel you're not inundated with heat; instead you taste the flavoring's zest playing off the low, earthy notes of the chickpeas. 222 Waverly Place, 212-691-1287

5. Ilili -- A little more pricey and swanky than most other Middle Eastern restaurants in the city, Ilili serves some outstanding lamb -- made into makanek, a typical Lebanese sausage, or simply seared as chops and served with a sauce made with za'atar -- which makes putting up with the loud music and weird décor worth it. 236 Fifth Avenue, 212-683-2929

6. Taboon -- The kitchen of this spacious Hell's Kitchen restaurant riffs on classic Middle Eastern dishes using Mediterranean -- often Greek -- flavors. It's a great place to go for brunch, especially for its freshly baked, crusty bread stuffed with feta cheese and soft-boiled eggs, or ground lamb and tahini. 773 Tenth Avenue, 212-713-0271

7. Alfanoose -- This restaurant got its start as a food truck that quickly won over the lunchtime crowd in the Financial District, where the street food competition is fierce. Here the falafel, which is not always super crispy but has a lively cumin-coriander flavor, is at its best when bundled up tight in a large pita (for tidy eating) with beets, tahini, lettuce, and tomato. 8 Maiden Lane, 212-528-4669

8. Tripoli/Damascus Breads & Pastry -- Located on an Arab restaurant-dense strip of Atlantic Avenue, Tripoli has an endearingly old-school feel -- the walls are covered in dark wood, the ceiling is painted to look like the sky, and the menu specializes in Lebanese home cooking. Make sure to try the wara'anib, tight cigars of grape leaves stuffed with ground lamb and rice served warm with a bit of lemony broth. Then for dessert, head across the street to Damascus Breads & Pastry, a Syrian bakery, and pick up some first-rate walnut or pistachio baklava for the road. Tripoli (156 Atlantic Avenue, 718-596-5800), Damascus Breads & Pastry (195 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-625-7070)

9. Moustache -- Much has been written about this West Village restaurant's flatbreads, but the best dish on the menu is also the most ordinary sounding -- grilled chicken over lentil puree. These are no ordinary lentils: They're softened and mashed until velvety and spiced with plenty of garlic and a drizzle of potent olive oil. Though it might be hard to resist the lamb sandwiches and fancy pitzas, this plate won't let you down. 90 Bedford Street, 212-229-2220

10. Gazala's -- At this Druze Israeli restaurant, located on the Upper West Side, you'll find the kitchen staff hand-rolling kibbeh at tables hidden in the back of the dining room, and freshly made bread that's stretchy, thin, and more like South Asian roti than the pita found in most Middle Eastern restaurants. Use it to scoop up lemony tahini and thinly sliced grilled lamb -- one of the best entrées on the menu. 380 Columbus Avenue, 212-873-8880"

Sunday, October 28, 2012


"East is East and West is West and Never the twain they meet"

So wrote the poet awhile back, and his words are so accurate - especially when we are looking at Hummus.

The success of food trucks in LA has led to a fusion of various cuisines - including Asian and Mexican.
And while some of these fusions do work and create a new hybrid that is interesting -
The combination of middle eastern and Mexican cuisine doesn't work in our opinion on any level.

There is no need for a Burrito - cause Middle Easterns already have the Pita.
There is no need for hot peppers - cause middle easterners already have Garlice

And there's no need for Guacomole sauce- cause we already have Hummus.

Thus I don't understand why people love this new cuisine and the fact that it's becoming so popular proves that at the end of the day - people don't really want to eat great food - but prefer eating dilluted food as long as it has a catchy name!

Both Mexican and Middle Eastern foods are wonderful - both are spicy both are unique both are very popular and both are healthy.

But the combination of both creates such a cacophony of different strong tastes that it becomes something incoherent and chaotic.

The texture of Mexiterranean is also a travesty as that too is inconsistent with either one of the two original cuisines that created it.


Mexiterranean to me is like a TIGON or a LIGER - a combination of a Tiger and Lion. Can it be achieved thanks to modern science? Yes. Is it good for the new hybrid animal? No. Does it create a totally deformed new animal? TOTALLY!! Is it dangerous? YES. It breaks the heart of anyone that loves Tigers and Lions and sees what science can do to destroy both breeds.

So perhaps the question of the day isn't COULD THIS HYBRID BE DONE but rather -

And to that my answer is a simple and very loud - NO!

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Habibi Cafe Westwood California

Every reviewer is always torn between his personal tastes and what he sees is the taste of the general public.  Perhaps that's why it's so hard for me to give an awful review to a successful restaurant that's always full of people. Maybe being a middle eastern myself  that causes my standards to be a bit high. Perhaps the crowd that comes to Habibi is less interested in the Hummus and more fascinated with smoking a Hookah close to UCLA. Habibi is  usually packed with college students wanting to mingle and smoke a Hookah.
But for those wanting a Hummus not a Hookah  I say - AVOID this place.

The Hummus tasted old and generic. I  felt it had too much garlic and I love garlic. So stating that something has a strong garlic after taste-  is not a comment I've ever used.

I also ordered their Falafel sandwich which comes in a small pita. There were about three Falafels in it overall and at the end I still felt hungry and unsatisfied. It costs $6.00 which is double what I would have paid if I would have ordered three one falafel in a small pita.
The Falafel came in the sandwich without hummus which was also dissapointing.

Their Falafel plate is $14 which I feel is robbery .

The Falafel is good but not great. I give it credit for being fresh - but the taste was nothing to write home about.  That said the way it was served was dissapointing. Tiny pita that doesn't really resemble a middle eastern pita - with a hole. It's more like a puffy Burrito or one of those things you get at a Greek restaurant. That contributed to the messy eating experience with this. It was also wrapped in an unusual way that made the entire meal uncomfortable and everything kept falling out of the sandwich.
If you're a college student on a date - don't eat the Falafel - cause you're almost guaranteed to look like a fool.

I wanted to check their take out as well and ordered a Hummus to go and got it in a paper box which was a first - Cheap paper that became soggy and added to the awful taste of the Hummus.
Also, they were extremely ungenerous with the Hummus. They served it in a very small quantity - oh and they dizzled some olive oil which helped make the box even soggier. This treat will run you $5.95 which for the size I felt was overpriced.

They don't accept Mastercard or Visa for under $10 - which means you can't just go in there and order a falafel sanwich . I waited to get the Falafel to go for over 20 minutes even thought there was no one there. The place has bad service and is very slow. Guess people who go there aren't in a rush.

If you're a college student and want to sit with friends to smoke a Hookah I'd recommend this place.
For food - I suggest go elsewhere.

This Hummus is one of the worst Hummus I've tasted in Los Angeles - and so I give this place a one star - only for the atmosphere.

AVOID. AVOID. AVOID if possible!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

THAILAND: Bangkok, Koh Samui Island, Changmai: Best Hummus

The following review was written by an avid traveller who has lived in Thailand for over a year.

"Being a huge hummus lover I've got to admit that there's no decent place for Hummus lovers to get a real Hummus experience in all of Thailand. It's strange cause there are so many middle eastern and Israelis travelling in this country every year. Here are a few of the places, that do sell Hummus- but they all got 1-2 stars in my book:


These Hummus restaurants are popular with both Israeli and other middle eastern tourists in Kawasan road in Bankok.

Non of these three places have great Hummus, but they will satisfy immediate Hummus cravings for those travelling for a few month and needing a quick fix of Hummus.

1. Israeli connection

2. LaMetayel

3. Shoshana

Rating: *


Ko Samui doesn't have decent Hummus, but there's a decent Falafel joint that has Hummus. It's located near Beit Habbad opposite Crystal restaurant.



Jerusalem Falafel on Moon Muang near Thapae Gate is probably best.
It gets mixed reviews some love it some hate it. But at least it's there.
35/3 Moonmuang Road
Chiang Mai 50300 Thailand
+66 53 27 0208

Rating **