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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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The Hummuses of Brooklyn

Not a children's story about talking food containers or a trendy family that changed its name, The Hummuses of Brooklyn is a short and stupid list of the ones readily available to me, in order.

7. Trader Joe's
This is not so bad, but it's also not so good. Gritty and knockoff-ish, it tastes like they scrimped on some key ingredient. Which might be because their regular kind is lighter and less creamy than the current average, except their creamy kind isn't so great, either, although I might have eaten enough of the Cilantro & Jalapeno variety that I ruined it for myself.

6. Tribe
Tribe is so boring that it hurts to try to think about Tribe — the absence of thoughts about Tribe is like an ache, or I guess a vacuum. Touch Me Where I Have No Thoughts About Tribe. An accidental hole into another dimension. But to be fair it's pretty good.

5. Sabra
Sabra's like the friend in middle school you did everything to impress, but then 10 years later it seemed like she had some shitty life, and you felt all smug and superior, but then 10 years after that, you realize you're the one who sucks.

4. Wakim's
If a hummus doesn't have a website, does it even exist? Wait, what was that? ... Hmm, I guess it was nothing. Wait, no, there it was again! Omg a hummus container just flew out of my closet and into my bathroom!

3. Damascus
Everything from here is perfect, including the hummus. It is a beautiful store, and their only mistake is that among all the sweet and savory freshly made treats and natural juices from around the world is a disgusting little rack of Red Bull, which I buy, every time.

2. Stinky Bklyn
Stinky Bklyn's homemade sriracha hummus WAIT NO, no please — okay, thank god they let me off with a warning, but the Insufferable Sentence Police (who actually spend a lot of time arresting one another, especially during social introductions) almost took away my computer after I started typing the beginning of this one, but OH MY GOD no what, I wasn't saying anything can you just give m

1. Sonny & Joe's



123 Comments / Post A Comment

frigwiggin

Hummi?

Alli525

@frigwiggin MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY.

Genghis Khat

@frigwiggin Generally uncountable, certainly not Latin. Maybe hummusoon if it's a sound plural.

stonefruit

@frigwiggin No no no, hummusim (if in Hebrew), and hummus ... what's the Arabic plural ending?

shesaidshesaid

@frigwiggin Ahaha close but no cigar.... seems like you're well-meaning, although hummus is Arabic, the word doesn't have a Hebrew root/origin. As for the answer to your question: 'hummus' is the singular and plural, like 'deer,' and refers both to the paste and the individual chickpeas. There is also no Hebrew plural...

If you're really interested in hummus politics, I believe this blog alerted me to May 15, Nakba Day, also being Israel-declared International Hummus Day. Also the Lebanese and Israelis are in fierce competition to make the largest hummus. And now I think 2 of my 3 comments on Hairpin ever are hummus-related. Great. Time to leave the Middle East.

FYI Hummus sucks, it's all about mushawshe (that's the Hebrew, I think in Arabic it's musabakh), which is creamier, saltier, and served hot.

frigwiggin

Whoa dudes, I was making a joke by picking an obviously incorrect ending. I'm much better informed now, though.

Genghis Khat

@frigwiggin I knew it was a joking joke, I'm just so pedantic I had to comment anyway, but don't worry, I get jokes!

Reginal T. Squirge

I'm just gonna hang out here until Melis shows up.

Faintly Macabre

@Reginal T. Squirge I think [evil] Melis is busy smashing Edith's keyboard with a can of chickpeas.

evil melis

@Faintly Macabre I can't tell Edith how to live her life.

Ophelia

Have you tried Abraham's? I've only seen it in Union Market, which means I only buy it when I've reconciled myself to spending $20 on cheese, but it's pretty good. Not sure how it'd stack up vs. Damascus/Stinky, but it definitely beats out Tribe and Sabra.

FromTheFuture

@Ophelia you can get Abrahams at Whole Foods and Fairway and IT IS MY FAVORITE (the babaganoush too....)

Ophelia

@FromTheFuture Ah, I will totally look at Fairway! Must've missed it! I probably won't get to a Whole Doods until they clean up Gowanus, so.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

But what respective positions do the hummuses take on Israel/Palestine??

Lisa Frank

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll When you fight with hummus, everyone wins.

Ophelia

@Lisa Frank Make hummus, not war.

theotherginger

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Ottoleghi's new cookbook (he's Jewish/Israeli, his business partner is Palestinian/Muslim), Jerusalem actually talks about hummus as a vehicle for peace. I take this as a sign that if I eat more hummus, I will bring about world peace.

ColdFinger

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Yes, I was expecting to see more of that! Sabra=bad. But it tastes good. It is an ethical conundrum.

noReally
I smell burnt toast

@noReally I did not know until this moment that I wanted my hummus to be ethereal.

NotFace

Wait, I need more information re: Sonny & Joe's. Otherwise I might have to open that tin of tahini that's been sat in my pantry for two years at least and make my own damn hummus and I really don't want to do that.

NotFace

@NotFace Never mind -- I'm going to go peel some chickpeas and do it. Somehow the added frisson of OCD activity makes it seem more fun.

Daisy Razor

My old boss is in Israel for a month and is eating hummus at every restaurant he goes to, in an attempt to find the best one in the country. I am so jealous I could cry.

SarahDances

@Daisy Razor I am finally just now, one year post-Israel, feeling like I am in a place where I can once again stomach shoving more hummus in my face. Holy hell, people. SO MUCH HUMMUS. Between that and falafel, I think I ate my body weight in chick peas in a mere 10 days.

Ophelia

@SarahDances I lived in Ramallah for a few months, and at first I thought I'd get sick of hummus, but I was WRONG. MOAR HUMMUS.

down the rabbit hole

@Daisy Razor @SarahDances a friend of mine moved to Jerusalem for 3 years of grad school and then found out that she was allergic to chickpeas. LIFE.

yrouttasight

This post reminds me that I'm out of hummus. Goddamn it.

lindsayishere

Damascus but no Sahadi's? Not that Damascus isn't great, but everything at Sahadi's is like, oh, god, I want it right now. Except standing in line to buy bulk stuff no matter what time you go. I don't want that.

Trader Joe's has this three-layer hummus that's cilantro, regular, and roasted red pepper. That, and Greek hummus from Whole Foods rule my hummus life. I'm a Food Coop girl, but I make my roommates but those for me.

Ophelia

@lindsayishere mmmmm, Sahadi's! OK, time to go buy more hummus!

punkahontas

@Ophelia I logged in just to question the absence of Sahadi's in the list. Now I need some.

cheveux

@lindsayishere I think I like Damascus better? Or did I just never bother to wait it out at Sahadi's?

Nutellaface

@lindsayishere Definitely came down to the comments to post about Sahadi's. I moved to LA last year and it's one of the Top Five Things I miss from NYC. Also, has anyone been to Cook's Companion, the little store down the street? BEST STORE EVER.

Beatrix Kiddo

@lindsayishere THANK YOU. I just came here to yell at Edith for not going to Sahadi.

cwmilton

@lindsayishere Came down to agree with everyone. Sahadi's is the best. I like it spicy. I like it plain. I have never been able to not finish it in one sitting.

lindsayishere

@cwmilton I usually get one small container of plain, one spicy, and one baba ganoush, then also eat them way too quickly. But I assume they have no preservatives, so I need to, right?

Jennifer Way@twitter

@Nutellaface Sahadi's spicy hummus, but there's the line... Damascus' is also great, plus less waiting and the meat pies. Cook's Companion is dangerous to the budget, but I love it.

Kulojam

@Nutellaface Cook's companion! I used to live on State street right behind it and would go in just to look. And they let me! All the fiesta ware! The fun little gadgets! I miss that neighborhood lots. Even the crazy neighbor who never wore pants in the hall and told me about the legion of rats in the basement. Umm, thanks, Sheila?

kariface@twitter

sony & joes, ALWAYS. YES!

Bebe

Tribe is an abomination unto the hummus-loving world.

Sonny & Joe's is ahhhhhmazing, but I can't find it anywhere. A bunch of stores dropped them because they were being accused of wage theft, benefit denial, and "abusive management" by their (mostly undocumented immigrant) workers. So, delicious hummus, not-so-delicious human beings.

Miss Maszkerádi

Not to be contrarian, but Tribe "Forty Spices" flavor is freaking delicious. I like to dunk carrots into it....

sarah girl

@Countess Maritza Literally came down here to make this exact comment. Forty Spices 4 life!

KeLynn

@Countess Maritza - Oh god, I think we have to agree to disagree because that forty spices flavor is the worst hummus I've ever put in my face.

BUT I love Sabra more than anything so I clearly have pedestrian tastes.

Miss Maszkerádi

@KeLynn *shrug* all the more for me then. I kind of doubt there are actually forty spices, too, but - still yum. However I am a notorious and lifelong spice junkie.

lisma

I like Sabra because it's soooooo smoooooth.

maginot_line

@lisma YES. I am really confused by this post's anti-Sabra stance. Ever since Trader Joe's started carrying Fage, the only reason I need to go elsewhere for snack foods is their lack of Sabra. Every time I try another hummus I hope it will be as good as Sabra and it never is. I tried the new TJ's hummus that comes in the Sabra-like discus, and it just made me sad.

lisma

@maginot_line yeah. The one TJ's hummus I do like is the Mediterranean one that has pine nuts on top. Sabra though, especially the garlic one. Yummm.

martinipie

@maginot_line Mehhh, I will take Sabra if there is no alternative, but I think it's kind of related to my preference for chunky PB: I want chunky hummus! Like possibly with parts of chickpeas still visible!

simone eastbro

@lisma THE MEDITERRANEAN ONE IS THE BEST

Alli525

@lisma Tahini hummus is definitely the best. I dunk ALL the baby carrots!!!!

lavender gooms

@lisma Has anyone noticed that the spicy Sabra flavors have gotten about 1000% more spicy lately? Not that I mind, but Supremely Spicy and Jalapeno are for real spicy these days, not "spicy for Americans."

lisma

@lavender gooms This interests me. I am annoyed by foods that claim to be spicy but are only "spicy for Americans."

OhMyGoshYouGuys

Please donate to my Kickstarter: Hummina, Hummina, Hummus!

iceberg

we tried giving the kids hummus on crackers, but only the one we nicknamed "Cram-It" will eat them, the other two won't even touch them once they realize it's not peanut butter. I also hate hummus.

Ophelia

@iceberg I love that you nicknamed one of them "Cram-It"...what are the others?

iceberg

@Ophelia heh thanks! well they all have multiple nicknames, mostly related to their names, but The Boy is called The Boy, Boise Idaho, Wingnut...

Cram-It (not her only nickname) has a... special... way of delivering food into her mouth from her tiny fist.

Diva is the one that has the worst tantrums.

Megasus

@iceberg wait are these human children or animal children?

iceberg

@Megano! depends on how close to naptime, but mainly human.

City_Dater

It's so easy to just make hummus, if you like hummus, especially since most of the supermarket brands are bland and weird. Or way too full of tahini (whyyyy?)

theotherginger

@City_Dater yes. so much garlic in my homemade hummus. delicious.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@theotherginger What about if I like tahini in my hummus but don't know how to purchase tahini?

theotherginger

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) i just get mine at the regular grocery store. it is always best if you go to the part of your city where middle eastern people live, and then the regular grocery store will have a greater selection, but it should work regardless. if not, you can probably order online.

martinipie

@City_Dater I agree, no hummus has come close to as awesome as the stuff my friends and I have made together! All the tahini and lemon and garlic YEAH!

NiceDress

@martinipie Agreed that homemade hummus is the best! I don't know what it is, but no matter how you make it, it just tastes so much better fresh! Almost equally good is the kind from the prepared foods bar at Whole Foods, I suppose because it's fresh as well.

The best store-bought, in-a-container hummus I ever has was when I lived in Cape Town. The major grocery store chain there, Pick ' Pay, had a peppadew hummus, as well as a cucumber hummus. You can buy peppadews here, so I might have to do some experimenting one day when I own a food processer.

Beatrix Kiddo

@City_Dater Seriously-- store-bought hummus almost always has preservatives and other weird things that hummus should not have. But I reserve the right to put tons of tahini in mine.

honey cowl

But Sabra "Luscious Lemon" really is The Best Hummus, unless there is another kind of Lemon Hummus That I Am Missing? This assumes, of course, that one removes the gloppy red gross WHATEVER thing in the middle, because, ew.

Hollye

Trader Joe's has this Spicy Hummus stuff, which doesn't resemble actually hummus once you stir it up, but it is like crack amongst snack dips. I don't know what the magical spice is- cumin maybe? Imagine if hummus and chili com queso had a baby. Whatever I can eat the whole thing in one sitting. Off of my fingers.

For real hummus I go Abrahams.

kate.m

@Hollye Yes, TJ's spicy hummus! I think it might be an attempt at harissa, I'm not sure, but I can't stop eating it. It's probably just MSG and dirt. So delicious.

perfect_cursive

Everyone go directly to Mimi's Hummus in Ditmas Park.....enjoy some mushroom hummus for those of us no longer on the east coast.

yeah-elle

I am not crazy about the regular stuff they carry, but Trader Joe's chunky olive version is diviiiiiine.

@serenityfound

@yeah-elle Yes yes yes. I was wondering why no one had brought this up. Their spicy and the chunky olive literally make up 90% of my work lunches. What is it about the regular TJ's hummus? It's so...just...I can't even put my finger on what is so awful about it BUT IT IS.

eraserface

The best kind of hummus is the kind you make yourself.
Because you get more satisfaction when you inevitably eat the whole thing.

mochi

@eraserface I have no idea why anyone who owns a food processor would buy it pre-made (ok, I do occasionally, but NOT THAT OFTEN, I swear). The main ingredient is beans, people, it costs like 30 cents if you make if from scratch. It takes about two minutes to make (however long it takes to open some jars, peel a clove of garlic, and squeeze a lemon). You can make a double batch and have enough to last for a couple of weeks. And it tastes 1000 times better than store bought. AAAAAnnnd you can add whatever you want so you can make all kinds of weird flavors.

purefog

Here in Portland, Oregon, the Food Capital of the World -- and maybe also in other locations -- there is a brand called "King Harvest" that comes in a number of flavors. I am particularly fond of the Chipotle Hummus, and the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus ain't too shabby either.

null

@purefog YESSSS. The balsamic one is my jam.

sbizzle

@purefog Literally every flavor is amazing. Even the spinach one. I used to live around the corner from them and why I never went in there I will never know.

Jewels and Binoculars

Good Neighbors? Anybody? Or I could just finish it by myself...

catalina

Yo Edith. I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Wegmans Caramelized Onion Hummus is the best hummus of all time. THE BEST HUMMUS OF ALL TIME.

Lady Humungus

@catalina Oh man, I haven't seen that in my Wegs, but I'm going to seek it out mmmmm caramelized onions...

HeyThatsMyBike

@catalina Cannot for the life of me figure out why Wegman's hasn't taken over the world yet. And why there isn't one in every town in America. Miss you, Wegman's.

Princess Gigglyfart

BOBBi'S !!!!!!

catalina

@Princess Gigglyfart GARLIC BREATH FOR MILES! But yeah, Bobbi's is pretty great.

lue
lue

You guys, do you dip quesadillas (cooked in a pan/griddle, not in the microwave) in hummus? It changed my life.
But, Trader Joe's hummus is my #1 favorite, so maybe I have terrible taste? Or maybe it's just because it was the first hummus I knew.

NiceDress

If I can go on a tangent related to pureed delicious spreads/dips for a sec, I was vaguely disturbed by something I saw last night while in Whole Foods. Next to the normal guacamole that they prepare in store (which I think very good, albeit too pricy to buy all that often), there was a sign drawing my attention to what they had deemed "kalemole." Yep, guac made with kale. I may be biased (I've valiantly tried to like kale, but I just can't get into it), but this seems not right to me. Any thoughts?

Dirty Hands

@NiceDress When I worked on a farm where there was constant kale overload to the point of our not knowing what to do with it but freeze it, I used to make kale pesto with some added basil and walnuts or pine nuts, salt, and olive oil. And I found it rightly tasty, though different from plain basil pesto of course. Process that stuff to mush, get a pita, you're set.

On the topic of guac, though... I'd have to try it, the thoughts of kale texture plus avocado texture are turning me way off.

NiceDress

@Dirty Hands Hmmm, I'll have to give the kale pesto a try since I do like pesto -- thanks! I haven't completely given up on kale, but I eat it reluctantly at best, despite enjoying a good assortment of other leafy greens, and wanting to like it because I know how good it is for me. I think part of what turns me off is indeed the texture, which I can't imagine being non-disruptive in guac.

I wonder if a lot of farms have an overabundance of it... it seems like it's everywhere, at least in NYC, so maybe that's why...

Ophelia

@NiceDress Seriously, it grows like nobody's business. When the apocalypse happens, kale is going to be the next life-form to take over the planet.

In actual response, I'm not a huge kale fan either, but I also make it into pesto and other sauce-ish things, since it seems to hide the kale-ness pretty well.

Susanna

In Berlin, it's Sababa. Also, their Love Bomb. Persian lamb (a dish, not a coat).

halfheartedyoga

omg seriously. if you're not actually going to move to the middle east...anywhere...and just eat at the syrian restaurant all the time... then move to the UK and buy TESCO HUMMUS (or don't move to the UK and buy fresh and easy HUMMUS in America because its the same), it clearly has the creamy goodness that TJ's gross bean mash is missing.

NeverOddOrEven

No, no, you're all wrong. Well, except that Sabra is terrible.

Holy Land. I think its just in MN though. So move here.

And actually, the Kirkland brand giant double packs from Costco are pretty damn good, and you can't beat the quantity or price.

highjump

@NeverOddOrEven Holy Land hummus and the actual Holy Land restaurant(s) and the Holy Land STREET FAIR STANDS omg I miss the land of my ancestors so much sometimes. The food culture of the Twin Cities is pretty amazing. When I visit for holidays I provide my mother with a list of things to buy and constantly stuff my face until the moment I leave.

Inconceivable!

@NeverOddOrEven
Holy Land! YES. I used to only buy Sabra because I was young and naive and didn't know any better, and then I went to a Super Bowl party and one of my friends brought Holy Land and my life was changed.

PistolPackinMama

@NeverOddOrEven YOU READ MY MIND. Oh, Holy Land Hummus, you are so good. So, so good. As is their spicy pepper sauce. Mmmmmm.

parallel-lines

When I first moved to NYC I was obsessed with hummus. Literally obsessed. Schmearing it on bagels and everything.

Trader Joes hummus, man....it's just. I dunno. I can never quite articulate what's wrong with it but it's not good. It just never hits the spot. Is there no tahini in there or something? So many flavors, trying so hard, all failing.

Tribe's dill hummus is a once and a while treat, it's good with those flat pretzel crisps.

Punk-assBookJockey

@parallel-lines I don't like trader joes plain hummus but I really like the roasted garlic kind. With some everything pretzel thins. Yummmm.

mochi

@parallel-lines The dill was great... I don't know if make it anymore though. I haven't seen it in the store in a long time.

anachronistique

@parallel-lines ACTUALLY YES. Some of the TJ's hummuses have no tahini! Which is CHEATING! And EVIL! And WRONG!

parallel-lines

@anachronistique Are you serious? That's just chickpea puree then. I'm calling shennanigans on that, no wonder why it's so gross!

anachronistique

@parallel-lines 100% serious. If you get one of the ones with tahini I think it's okay, but I'm also not picky at all with my hummus.

whizz_dumb

@Punk-assBookJockey That is the winning combo, right there, it bears repeating: everything pretzel thins dipped in TJ's roasted garlic hummus. Alternate with bites of manchego cheese and I tastegasm.

PistolPackinMama

@whizz_dumb I never thought things I like so much could be so... oh my god tummy urp please no... in my imagination. It's a taste vortex gone wrong.

But yet you all say it's so right, so maybe I should give it a shot.

mustelid

So my boyfriend asked me if I'd ever ever dipped Doritos in hummus. And I was like ew you're disgusting! But it turns out this is actually good.

mochi

I am so into this review. I will try to find some of these Brooklyn hummuses on a trip to nyc next month.
Ok, so worst hummus ever: Cedar's, Joseph's, or Good Neighbors?

Alli525

@WILLOWW Actually, many of these hummuses (hummi?) can be found in any borough at a grocery store or deli/convenience store! If you're not staying in Brooklyn and don't have any other reason to go there (which, I mean, I usually don't, as I live in Queens and work in Manhattan and have maaaaaaybe 5 friends in BK) you can save yourself the trip.

Not to say Brooklyn isn't great! There's lots of cool stuff to do/places to eat there! But, you know, if you're rushed for time.

mochi

@Alli525 Thanks for the tip! Staying in Manhattan and it's a day trip so we will indeed be pressed for time. I'll see what I can find in the deli fridges.

nonvolleyball

wait, NO ONE ELSE was delighted by the "Insufferable Sentence Police" reference? well, I was, Edith--I was.

(also I have a great hummus recipe if anyone waaaants it...nonvolleyball at gmail dot com.)

mustelid

Also, the hummuses I like best I like are not on this list: Asmar's (especially extra garlic) and The Wild Pea hummus. Which now, upon googling both of them, are both local hummuses so maybe that is why they are not on this list.

parallel-lines

I have never had the patience to stand on line at Sahadi's but I imagine that must be the best, like, ever--right?

Beatrix Kiddo

@parallel-lines It is.

KatPruska

@parallel-lines Have you been there since they remodeled? They took over the next storefront over and things seem to be more streamlined these days. (Granted, I haven't stood in the deli or bulk line yet either, so what the heck am I talking about).

calamity

I'm in DC, not Brooklyn, but Cava's red pepper hummus is the. best. hummus I have ever had the glory to taste. They sell it at Whole Foods, plus in their take-out joint around the corner from me (albeit at a markup there). That hummus, paired with their Mediterranean bowls of deliciousness, is probably my single favorite meal in my area. It's almost embarrassing how often I go there - more than once I have had to restrain myself from going twice in one day. (The very first time I tried it I actually failed at this, but the guy at the counter recognized me EVEN THOUGH I made sure to change clothes. So that was a pretty good deterrent from trying it again.)

I have a lot of feelings about hummus.

formergr

@calamity Cava is down the street from me, and is amazing!

Theda Baranowski

See, I wasn't missing New York that much until this post and now.

Sigh.

Okay, hit me: where is the best hummus in Chicago. I'm already depressed that the nearest Indian restaurant is FIVE MILES AWAY (I might have lived in Little India in NY)

faustbanana

@Theda Baranowski My favorite is from Salam, 4636 N. Kedzie (next to the Kedzie Brown Line stop.) They also have excellent falafel and baba ganoush. But really, their hummus is sublime.

I also like the house-made hummus at HarvesTime Foods, on Lawrence just west of Rockwell. It's more garlicky than Salam's but the texture isn't as good. Man between this and the Ethnic Groceries post on the Billfold today, I am big-upping my neighborhood like never before!

cupcakecore@twitter

I'm going to vote for Trader Joe's Garlic Hummus. It comes in a big container and it's yummy and garlicy. Hummus on tj's rustic pane (or whatever it's called) is just wonderful. *sigh*

trixila

In my family, we call it 'humm-ass'. Not tough to figure out why.

peach

So about Trader Joe's hummus-I would have agreed with you until recently, when I tried their "Mediterranean Creamy and Smooth" version. It is amazing! Very smooth and flavorful. It comes in a large tub with herbs and oil on top. So glad I tried it since I had given up on all of their other varieties.

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