Going to Palo Alto’s annual Festival of the Arts has been something of a family tradition; every third or fourth weekend in August we find ourselves taking a stroll up University Avenue to check out the food, music and art booths lining the street. This year I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it because over the past few years I’ve felt that the Festival was just more of the same old thing.
Boy am I glad we went to the festival after all. Truth be told, it was pretty much the same photographers and sculptors that we’ve seen in years past — but we did discover a wonderful new place to eat on University Avenue. Oren’s Hummus Shop opened in June of this year and it’s already gathering rave reviews on Yelp and other review sites. We had never eaten at an Israeli restaurant before, so we decided to try it.
The restaurant has a limited number of menu items, focusing on what they do best: hummus, grilled entrees (chicken, beef and veggie kebabs), salads, and a few Israeli favorites. We opted for the hummus topped with mushrooms (other toppings include fava beans and grilled meat), and this dish rocked our world! Even my daughter, who doesn’t usually like hummus, admitted that it was way better than anything I’ve served at home. I guess freshly made beats a plastic tub from the grocery store every time. They serve the hummus piled high on a dinner plate; one order is more than enough for two people to share.
You can also order tiny side dishes, tapas-style, to accompany your main meal; choices include Israeli salad, beets, carrots, tabule, falafel, and a smooth, lemony, garlicky, out-of-this-world babaganush eggplant that makes me want to eat a whole plateful. Everything is accompanied by warm, fluffy, whole wheat pita bread like I’ve never tasted before. Even picky eaters will want to gorge on this bread!
I’m not sure I can go back to those store-bought tubs on hummus after eating at Oren’s, and fortunately they also sell their hummus and other dishes to go. Even better, their prices are as fantastic as their hummus; our family of five gorged ourselves to the gills for just $35. We can’t wait to go back to Oren’s Hummus Shop!