G’s mum is visiting. He graduated a couple of weeks ago and she was in NY to attend the convocation ceremony. They also planned a trip to the west coast for soon after.
I met them for lunch one afternoon at Hummus Place in East Village. The good part about Hummus Place is that it is entirely vegetarian. That gives vegetarians a lot of options to pick from. G’s mum is vegetarian too. And I’m glad she enjoyed lunch that afternoon.
I think Hummus Place is one of the first places G lunched at when he started attending school at NYU. That makes more than one reason for him to love the place with the conviction he does.
109 Saint Mark’s Place
To start things off, we ordered the appetizer combo – your choice of three appetizers for $10. Labane, Roasted Eggplant and Stuffed Grapeleaves.
Possibly the best grape leaves I have EVER had. Every time I’ve had them before, they have been served cold. Here, at Hummus Place, they were hot. And served with a mint-yogurt chutney.
The eggplant was pretty awesome too. I’ve come to enjoy eggplant, living in USA, you know. When I was little, my mum used to buy smaller sized eggplant and cook them with the stalks and try to convince me they were chicken legs. No kidding. This eggplant was served with a tangy lemon dressing and some Tahini, which added extra texture and a contrasting flavour to the charred skin of the eggplant.
The Labane was great. G has had it before and insisted we order it. The description said it was strained yogurt cheese. It had a smooth, velvety texture and was plain. I had almost expected a slight sour flavour, owing to the yogurt. Also, it was served with Za’atar (which is a blend of herbs, sesame and salt) and olive oil.
The pita bread kept coming. Fresh baked. THIS is what good food is about.
We were also served some hot sauce (yes, they could tell we were Indians and they probably wanted to please our palettes) which was everything that a good Maharashtrian thecha is.
For the main course, G and I shared a Shakshuka Halumi. It was a stew of tomatoes, red and green peppers, onions and eggplant. Halumi meant that we got chunks of sheep and goat cheese in our stew too. This was served with two eggs broken over the stew and cooked, while the stew was brought to a boil. And that’s exactly how it was served to us too. In the pan. Hot to the extent that we burnt our tongues. The stew, in itself, was almost like good, rich tomato soup – only thicker. The eggs were almost as if poached over a tomato-based sauce. The cheese was crazy awesome. Creamy, gooey, fresh as ever!
We ordered the Hummus Fava for G’s mum. We asked the waitress to leave the egg out. The dish was essentially a whole lot of hummus, topped fava beans, Tahini, olive oil and spices. And served with some more pita.
We thought dessert would be good too. So we got their special carrot cake and some Malabi. Malabi is a vanilla-rose flan, topped with roasted almonds, coconut shreds & grenadine. It wasn’t as good as most flans are. The carrot cake was drowned in dry fruits too. The cake in itself was pretty good. G’s mum thought it was a tad dry. But that’s how I’ve always had carrot cake – dry and not too sweet. I relished it.
G and I fought to pay the bill. I think he paid about $50 for all of what we ate – which is fairly reasonable, when you think of it.
$50 for a meal for three, all inclusive
I finished off with Turkish coffee. Served with the little cezve pot. That last touch was truly MY most favourite part of lunch. There’s something about Turkish Coffee that simply makes my world better.