September 19, 2008
Hummos in Israel (The Lunch of Choice!)
This week I was on business travel in Israel. As part of an internal reorg, I’m now responsible for a small development group in our Microsoft Israel office outside of Tel Aviv (in Herzeliya).
Food is an obvious connection when meeting new people – in business or personally. While we were working, we talked a lot about good food – both in Seattle and also in Israel. One of my new co-workers is a hummos fanatic – constantly searching out the best places to go, with awesome critiques of which places have the best salad, the best hummos itself, the best sauces – you get the picture.
Yesterday for lunch, he asked where we should go.
It was unanimous. He told us about his favorite local place. He described it as “The Hummos Nazi” – like the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld. I was more in than ever for this place! We set of on our hummos adventure for the Hummos Shack (my term, not his!) which was tucked in a small retail space in another office complex. (Its in the Ramat-Gan neighborhood)
The name of the place is “Parsley” in English.
When we walked up, there was a good size line – with members of the Israeli Army just in front of us. This is a good sign – the longer the line, the better!
The menu was posted on the far wall, all in Hebrew. It turns out that there is a “stack” that you can build:
– stewed beans (looked like some red bean variant)
– oil and chickpeas
– diced onion
– hard boiled egg
The menu basically describes that.
The prices are in NIS (New Israel Sheckel), and the rate is about 3.5 NIS = $1 USD. You can see then, at 7 to 8 NIS per plate, this is a good deal.
The ingredients are served from these trays, into your waiting plate.
You have a choice of sauces – the far left are whole jalapenos, the middle is a mango salsa, and the right is a red pepper mash (schug).
With the plate, you are served pita bread, as well as the ubiquitous Israeli salad – tomato, cucumber onion, parsley. (Some places add cabbage – this place did not.)
Basically, you mix and eat into as many combinations that you would like. This was an *awesome* lunch. The veggies were fresh – the sauces were crisp and fresh, and the bread was warm and clearly fresh baked.
Not only that, but this was an amazingly filling lunch. Lunch in Israel turns out to be a big meal (little to no breakfast), usually taken between 12-1, but then dinner isn’t until 8-9pm – and these are leisurely affairs. This lunch served me well to tide me over for more than eight hours until dinner.
One thing that just about everyone said though about Israeli restaurant service is that its brusque at best. To the point. Brief. This place was no exception. As we were finishing up, probably a little too slowly, one of the guys from the restaurant told, or “invited” us to leave in Hebrew – I guess we were taking too long!
Even with that, I’d go back in a second… it was amazing.