Note to snooty party hosts: Hummus is a perfectly acceptable potluck option. Even though the garbanzo spread populates potluck tables in a close second after chips and salsa, there are simple, good reasons for it: 1) People like it. and 2) It tastes good. (Same goes for chips and salsa, frankly.) Here's how hummus from two great local delis compares, and here's to pissing off the host of your next potluck:
Holy Land Deli has like 900 different types of hummus: Jordanian hummus, jalapeño hummus, guacamole hummus, spicy hummus, red pepper hummus, and more, and it produces its hummus on a grand scale, lining its refrigerator case with all the impressive options. Its original hummus is smooth and thick, sort of like a more textured peanut butter. The dominant flavor of the pale beige spread is of tahini, followed by a lemon kick that settles in. A 14-ounce tub costs $3.99.
Emily's Lebanese Deli sells but one hummus, which costs $5 for half a pint at its little spot on University in Northeast Minneapolis. The spread is wetter and more textured than Holy Land's and has a golden hue, approaching the color of an actual bean. You feel like someone in back may have just poured it out of the blender, which might well be the truth. You can readily taste and even feel the garbanzo beans in each bite, but this hummus's real bite is in the garlic punch it packs.
The Winner: Hummus sort of isn't hummus unless you walk around all day with a body-sized halo of garlic after eating it, the hummus at Emilly's Lebanese Deli has enough garlic to interrupt what you eat for the rest of the day. But it's not a rude interruption. It's more like a friendly reminder. Emily's hummus also has a nice, homey texture and a great sesame and lemon flavor balance. It costs quite a bit more than Holy Land's, but if you really want the greatest chance of party fouling at your next party there's really no other option.