As I stood in the truck watching my food being made, Chef Dice-K (of Pizzeria La Sorrentina) stopped by to get hummus for his wife, Amy. Hummus Hummus sold out of hummus the night before and Dice-K wanted to make sure he secured some of this tasty chickpea, tahini, garlic and lemon juice dip before it sold out again. He playfully scolded me because he told me about Hummus Hummus months ago and I had finally showed up. Why did it take me so long to get here? How sad that I spent all those months without this Syrian soul food.
My food was finally ready and I headed into Brothers Cascadia for a Best Day Ever IPA (almost got the Crazy 88 Asian-Style Lager because any beer that references the movie “Kill Bill” is worth trying). Once again, the Syrian feast before me took up the entire table. Where to start? I first tried the chicken shawarma and the lamb shawarma. The chicken was tender and juicy. The lamb had a nice chew to it and was grassy and fresh (not gamey). The emerald green parsley leaves sprinkled on top of both meats added a nice herbiness. What are the 15 spices that coat these delectable morsels of meat? I tasted cumin, paprika, possibly coriander and maybe cinnamon. The mysterious 15-spice recipe is a code I may never crack but will continue to research.
Then, I turned my attention to the veggie combo platter. Vegan friends, prepare to lose your mind over this luscious mezze platter which includes olive oil-slicked grape leaves wrapped around tender rice and herbs; tender, moist flavorful falafel; silky smooth hummus; smoky velvety baba ganoush; and a house salad bathed in a light dressing of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. The hummus and baba ganoush are sprinkled with a bit of cumin and paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. The hummus gets its satiny texture by painstakingly removing the shells of the chickpeas after they soak.
I grew up in the Detroit metropolitan area, home to Dearborn, Mich., which, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, has the largest percentage of Arab-Americans in the United States. I ate a lot Middle Eastern food during my 20-some years in the Motor City. Based on decades of research, I must say that the food at Hummus Hummus is extraordinary. Everything is fresh, made to order and bursting with the cornucopia of spices that make Middle Eastern cuisine so addictive.
Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @couveeats.
If You Go
• Hummus Hummus, 9811 N.E. 15th Ave., Vancouver, 360-932-5811. Hours: 3 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Also at the Vancouver Farmers Market when it opens March 17.