I know my posts as of late have been somewhat on the heavy side, emotionally. Lots of ups and downs here – fieldwork is an intense experience, no doubt, and added to the fieldwork intensity is the pure insanity of being in the midst of Tel Aviv, in the midst of Israel, in the midst of the Middle East, etc. etc.
Let it be known, however, that I manage to escape the intensity of fieldwork for the intensity of other, more pleasant experiences [not that there aren’t pleasant aspects to my fieldwork – there are many]. For instance, culinary experiences. For instance – hummus.
Yes, hummus, the food which has sparked numerous arguments in this country about the best location, the best hummus restaurant, the best hummus, etc. [hmm, I guess even hummus causes conflict here…]. Anyway, after at least two months during which it somehow never worked out, my roommate and I finally made it yesterday to Ali Caravan/Abu Hassan, touted by many as the restaurant [if you can call it that!] serving the best hummus around the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area. The owner actually has 3 locations now, but we headed to the original location – a small, very crowded storefront not too far from the port:
The choices at Abu Hassan are few: first, you decide if you want to sit in the restaurant [line on the left] or if you want to take your hummus with you, either as take-out or in plates, to be eaten on a wall nearby [line on the right]. Once you’ve made that decision, the all-important choice awaits: plain hummus, hummus with ful [fava beans], or masbacha [similar to hummus, but less processed]? My roommate and I both went for the hummus with ful, which came with pita, slices of raw onion, and some sort of pickle-sauce we couldn’t quite figure out:
It took very little time until our meal was complete:
…and it was delicious, although next time I might just get the plain hummus. The creaminess was overwhelmed a bit by the hot ful. Not that I’m complaining 🙂
To help digest the meal, we decided to head back to our apartment via the beachfront boardwalk, which was recently expanded and now reaches all the way to southern Jaffa, further south than where we were. As we walked through the port and north to our little corner of Tel Aviv, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was really in Israel:
Clearly I needed more than a walk, though: as soon as I got home I lay down and promptly fell asleep -I took a good, long, afternoon nap, something I hardly ever get a chance to do. Definitely a great way to start the weekend. And visitors coming my way [yes, Neil, I’m looking at you!!], don’t worry, I promise you’ll have a chance to experience this, too…
*there’s a limit to how “light” a plateful of ground chickpeas, eaten with bread, can really be…