The BEST Hummus in Tel Aviv?

The line after I ate. Triple the size when I first got there.I've worked in travel and media for a long time now so have grown wary of the word "best." If I cover the BEST in a city, then there's nothing left to cover! I admit that I still overuse the word, especially when it comes to food. When I asked around for the best hummus in Tel Aviv, they all pointed me to Abu Hassan in Jaffa, which has been open since 1966. I punched the address into my phone a few times - the one that finally worked was simply "HaDolphin Street." The street is so small so you can't miss it. When I arrived, all I saw were swarms of men in two lines. The line on the left is if you want a seat and the line on the right is for take-away. I didn't get this until I got to the front of the sitting line but they let me order right there. And then I saw another girl! There were 85 loud men, me, and one other chick clambering for hummus. Here is how it went down.

Me: "Shalom. English?"

Hummus Guy: "Ya, ya."

Me: "Um, one original hummus please?"

HG: "No, no, no."

Me: {Goofy American smile and questioning, nervous eyes}

HG: "Hebrew, Hebrew, Hebrew" - shouts to men in the back, plops two spoonfuls of hummus in a bowl, one totally smooth and cold, one warm with chunky chickpea bites. "Try."

Me: "Mmmmmm." {Point to warm/chunky version}

HG: "Ya, ya."{Wraps up my hummus}

I later learned I got the masabaha version. Definitely delicious. Was it the BEST? Depends who you ask. For me, Taim in the West Village serves the best falafel and hummus in the world (and they're Israeli!). Other tips - there are three sizes. A small is more than enough for one person, and comes with two huge, warm pieces of pita bread, and some pepper dipping sauce. Bring shekels!

And then I wandered through old Jaffa, and came upon this view. The crashing waves and blue water never gets old.

I Found My Gourmet Grocery Shop in Tel Aviv

Actually, I found two. Ok, three. I seek these places out like water in the desert. They make me feel at home in a foreign city. I had lunch at Delicatessen, which even had Ina Garten cookbooks on display. Here, they serve a great menu, but also have delicious take-away. I ducked into Neroli Health Food Store on Shabazi Street, which has organic juices. And I bopped around Kitchen Market, which has several stalls set up as well as a restaurant, in the Tel Aviv Port area. 

Kitchen MarketI walked for miles, took copious notes, and ate strawberries that tasted like summer from the Carmel Market. I feel like I have a much better grasp on the city after tackling it on my own.

I rented my own car in Tel Aviv, so I zoomed around today. Parking is terrible, and I got a parking ticket (at least, I assume it is a parking ticket - it is all written in Hebrew so I need to have it translated). Still, it gives me a freedom that I love and more time in the day that is mine.

Tel Aviv PortOutdoor lunch at DelicatessenCute shop on Shabazi StreetTel Aviv Port View

Welcome to Tel Aviv

Flying into Tel Aviv is so beautiful - blue & green everywhere. I'm told the bright colors will soon be gone and the heat and humidity of the summer will take over. But for now, it is lush and gorgeous and I'm loving the sunshine. We ate at Hahultziym 3 in the Florentine neighborhood and I am dreaming of the next time I can eat there for hunks of parmigiano-reggiano, bruschetta, and challah bread stuffed with crumbled pork. I'd go back this week but the chef/owner is closing up and going on vacation to Italy. Aside from my lost baggage, which has since been returned to me, I love Israel already.

View from Old JaffaA tour with National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu SarahWonderful dinner at Hahultziym 3