Saturday, October 25, 2008


Chickpea is a popular Mediterranian ingredient. Its high protein content make it 'the meat of the poor'. Chickpea is the main ingedient of hummus (seasoned chickpea paste) and falafel (deep fried chickpea balls), two Mediterranian staples. Both go well with [pocket-like] pita bread, tahini (sesame paste) and overweight people with tahini dripping from their pita, via their chin onto their prominent bellies.

'Connoisseurs' travel long distances to get their favorite 'best' hummus or falafel, usually served in tiny bad-neighborhood stands. Last week I had really good hummus in the famous Abu Shukri restaurant in Abu Gosh, Israel's hummus center, because I was in the neighborhood with my son, Dan, who insisted there is no such thing as being in Abu Gosh and not having hummus. But usually, bourgeois like myself buy hummus in a supermarket or even make it at home.

Knowing we'll be in remote Pardes Hannah around lunchtime the other day, we looked up a nice fish and seafood restaurant in the area. But when we finshed our meeting with Motty, a smiley Kurdish Jew and owner a busy carpentry workshop at the edge of Pardes Hannah, Peter, my husband, decided it is best to ask the 'natives' for culinary directions in the area. (This way you are supposed to find cheap authentic food, not the fancy type advertized on websites.) After making sure we are OK with simple food like hummus, Motty recommended the Blue Bus, a nearby hummus joint frequented by both local and far away customers for its renown hummus.
The Blue Bus consists of a decades old bus wreck, loosely combined with leftover construction materials, plastic tables and chairs, plastic tablecloths and glasses, stupid handwritten limericks on the 'walls' and hummus as the only item on the non-existing menu. The place was packed and looked promising. The hummus came topped with coarsly chopped yellowish parsley and sprinkled with an unreconginizable condiment. The promise vanished with the first bite. After the rest of the bites, came the concrete ball feeling in my stomach and fatigue that neutralized us for a couple of hours.
So friends, when in an unknown place in a not too adventerous mood, do your stomachs a favor and leave the sound-good-in-principle authentic food to others.

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