CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hummus is one of those spreads you've seen everywhere - in grocery stores as well as Middle Eastern restaurants. But our Hungry Hound says there's a guy who shows up at the Wicker Park Farmer's Market every Sunday, with some of the best hummus he's ever had in Chicago, thanks to his commitment to making everything himself, and then preparing it fresh, to-order.
There are several vendors who show up every Sunday at the Wicker Park Farmer's Market. Some are farmers, selling produce; others are entrepreneurs, like Yosi Alhadif, selling bowls of hummus, graced with chickpeas, falafel and either cooked chicken or beef, at the LaShuk Street Food stall. But before he and his crew show up here on Sunday, he spends a good part of the week in a Highland Park commercial kitchen, prepping.
"It's a big passion. Israeli food, that's what I like to eat and I miss it from home. Unfortunately I couldn't find a product that was good enough and satisfied me," said Alhadif.
He mixes up dough then rolls it into balls for what will eventually become his pita. He cooks chickpeas with baking soda and water, constantly skimming the pot, and once they're cooked, drains and then cleans each one, removing the skins.
He has to marinate and rub chicken thighs, grilling them off; adding a spice blend called baharat to ground beef, eventually cooking it with caramelized onions and garlic. Even the tahini is assembled here: water thins it out, but he has to season with salt then add acidity with fresh lemon juice, mixing it thoroughly.
"We make everything fresh on-site; that was my first and main goal, to bring the food that I want to bring the way that I want to bring it," he said.
At the market, the tahini and the chickpeas are blended to-order, resulting in a silky smooth, deceptively intense hummus. It's spread around a bowl, then garnished with your choice of those cleaned-and-cooked chickpeas, or freshly-made falafel, the chicken or even the ground beef. Then he adds a few finishing touches.
"Olive oil, tahini, green tahini, we also put some cumin and paprika. And we finish it with chopped parsley or cilantro," said Alhadif.
"Everyone that tastes either the hummus or the falafel smile...unfortunately in America it's very hard to find freshly-made food on-site; that was something that I wanted to bring, and we did. We can't be more happier than this," he said.
So for now, the only place you can find LaShuk Street food and this fantastic hummus is here at the Wicker Park Farmer's Market every Sunday, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. or until the chickpeas run out.
LaShuk Street Food
Sundays at Wicker Park Farmer's Market, 8 am - 2 pm
1425 N. Damen Ave.