Oh hummus, now we have performed you so mistaken. The staple of Center Japanese delicacies, made with humble chickpeas, olive oil and tahini, by no means deserved to be made into “brownie batter” taste. However the many, some ways hummus has entered into our on a regular basis lives additionally has introduced us nearer to different flavors of nations like Greece, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Iran and lots of others.
As soon as all however inconceivable to seek out in Sonoma County — or actually even exterior massive cities or pockets of immigrant communities — spices like saffron, sumac, cinnamon, cumin and turmeric have gotten extra frequent in native fare. Tzatziki sits subsequent to onion dip at Dealer Joe’s. Pitas are simply as well-liked full of peanut butter and jelly as they’re with falafel.
With the looks of a number of Center Japanese restaurant newcomers on the native eating scene, it appeared time to honor a few of our favourite haunts for hummus and the numerous different dishes of this huge culinary panorama. And whereas lumping collectively the wealthy cuisines of every area and nation below a single banner is as foolish as saying American meals consists solely of hamburgers, scorching canine and apple pie, all of it has to begin with a typical thread that’s universally understood.
So we’ll plant a flag with hummus and go from there, as a result of everybody loves an excellent hummus. Along with some finest bets, every restaurant will get a hummus rating from 1 (not nice) to five (superior). And we promise, no brownie batter hummus shall be included.
Boro Baba: In April, I waited for almost two hours for a style of this pop-up restaurant’s “fashionable Persian delicacies,” virtually giving up because the night time grew colder and colder. It was so price it. Kebabs are their signature, and our favourite was the Joojeh kebab, with saffron- and yogurt-marinated rooster with basmati rice and roasted tomatoes. What actually introduced it dwelling, nonetheless, had been the edges, like Shirazi salad with cooling cucumber, tomato, pickled crimson onion and herb dressing; or attempt the feta with spicy fennel salad and pickled child almonds. No hummus on the menu. Look ahead to upcoming pop-ups at eatborobaba.com.
Grill Santa Rosa: Ignore the boring title, as a result of there’s heaps to like right here. We managed our expectations for this current addition on the Santa Rosa Plaza (the previous Rubio’s), however we had been stunned by the well-crafted dishes. Go for the chilly mezze plate, a sampling of hummus, baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip), tabbouleh, tzatziki, dolmas and crisp falafel. It’s lots massive for sharing. Strive the lamb gyro as effectively. Hummus: 4. 1016 Santa Rosa Plaza, Santa Rosa, grillsantarosa.com
Falafel Hut: This longtime San Rafael favourite simply opened in downtown Santa Rosa (within the former Gerard’s Paella location). The falafel is off-the-charts tasty, and we liked the kibbie (floor lamb and bulgur wheat with a delicate cinnamon spice). Issues are nonetheless getting up to the mark, so we received’t be too powerful on the beautiful good rooster shawarma that might be improved with extra seasoning. Hummus: 3. 701 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, falafelhut.co
King Falafel: This hidden gem might be one of the best falafel spot in Sonoma County. It’s precisely the sort of no-frills eatery that focuses on what it does finest — falafel. Go for the King falafel the place you’ll be able to select toppings together with pickles, eggplant, tahini, crimson shatta, tzatziki or tabbouleh. Hummus: 4. 100 Brown St. 150, Sebastopol
Sam’s Mediterranean: You received’t hit upon this out-of-the-way deli until you spend quite a lot of time cruising quiet workplace parks on the lookout for hole-in-the-wall lunch spots. Fortunately, I do, and this charming little place is a Center Japanese treasure. Their panini-style rooster shawarma wraps are a scrumptious entry level, with gently spiced meat and melted cheese. It comes with garlic and scorching sauces and a Greek salad. Hummus: 4. 613 Martin Ave., Suite 111, Rohnert Park, samsmeddeli.com
Actual Doner: Right here’s one other stunner that has stood the take a look at of time. We’re particularly keen on the doner wraps — lengthy rolls of lavash bread with sliced meat or kebab snuggled inside. We additionally love the Pink Sultan, a roasted beet and yogurt dip. Hummus: 5. 307 F St., Petaluma, realdoner.web
Greater than Center Japanese
Fourth Road Market and Deli: This native sandwich store makes a imply tabbouleh, and it’s the one spot I’ve discovered for mujadara, an addictive lentil and caramelized onion dish. Hummus: 4. 300 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, fourthstreetdeli.com
East West Cafe: I’ve typically given this native charmer quick shrift after a few long-ago disappointments. Currently, although, I’ve been actually impressed with the rooster shawarma and vegetarian mezze plate. Hummus: 4. 557 Summerfield Highway, Santa Rosa, and 128 North Fundamental St., Sebastopol, eastwestcafesantarosa.com
Stockhome: The Swedish delicacies right here additionally contains influences of Turkish avenue meals that’s frequent in Sweden, however a part of the menu units apart meatballs and lingonberries for kebabs, pita-wrapped falafel, fattoush salad and saffron rice. The eggplant dip is out of this world, and the grilled halloumi pita is equally wonderful. Hummus: 5. 220 Western Ave., Petaluma, stockhomepetaluma.com
Pearl: This chef-run restaurant takes inspiration from the flavors of the Center East and turns them into memorable meals. Dishes change up, however the picnic plate with tabbouleh, hummus, labneh and contemporary pita is required. We additionally love the Persian meatball tagine with herbed yogurt, lamb burger and shakshuka, a brunchy dish with spiced tomato stew and eggs. Moroccan rice pudding is an ideal, perfumed ending. Hummus: 5. 500 First St., Petaluma, pearlpetaluma.com
Grossman’s: This Jewish-style deli focuses on all kinds of dishes, from latkes to zhug. We love the nuanced falafel that don’t hit your abdomen like a bomb, child artichokes with labneh and sumac, quinoa tabbouleh and, sure, I’m going to say it once more as a result of I eat it a lot, the Sabich platter with fried eggplant, falafel, tahina and amba, a sauce made with pickled mangoes. Hummus: 5. 308 Wilson St., Santa Rosa, grossmanssr.com
Editor’s Observe: Journey, eating and wine tasting will be difficult proper now. Use our inspirational concepts to plan forward in your subsequent outing, be it this week or subsequent yr. For those who go to eating places, wineries, and different companies throughout the pandemic, keep in mind to name forward, make reservations, put on a masks and social distance.