Village Hummus [ Menlo Park ]

I love the nice juicy fresh onions I get with Chicken 65 ( or Meen Fry or any similar dish ). It’s a great adjunct, a bite of fresh pungent onion, a bite of Chicken 65.

Yeah, I agree most Americans don’t.

If a restaurant is going to bill itself as “authentic (of some region)”, and have a dish called “Jaffa Style”, and in jaffa they serve with raw onions, I WANT MY DAMNED ONIONS.

Even if Oren’s is an imitation I was told that its very popular with the local Israeli crowd and that Oren’s for them is the closest thing that they can get here that resembles what they have at home…

Well! After all this time, I walk in and there’s someone there. Sure I have to shout in the back, but a person comes out.

I say “I’d like some food”, and she says “What kind?”, like I had asked her for some abstract art. “Well, you’ve got a sign outside, with some food, like that?” “Oh, how about some hummus?” “Sounds great!” “Maybe with chicken? or beef?” “Chicken sounds great.” “And some nice warm pita? It comes with?” ( this is the longest negotiation I’ve had about a plate of hummus ever ). “Sure”, she says, “I’ve got a few things to do first, then I’ll whip that right up for you.” As if, somehow, she’s not running a food take out operation, maybe a shoe store, with a sideline of hummus.

I step outside to enjoy the fine free flowing air, and keep an eye on the counter, but she’s vanished again. 5 minutes, seems like longer, and I poke my head back in, and she’s putting some food in a bag. She then points at things, as if I’m some kind of idiot savant, “hummus!” “chicken!” (it’s cleverly concealed on the hummus) “Pita, nice and warm!” in a paper bag.

I ask if there’s a menu ( one of those small things we tend to have in restaurants ), and she says, “no not really, I mean, almost, but we’re getting them printed”, as if the boba tea menus weren’t just printed on a color printer and laminated to the counter, an operation that takes an hour. “Just getting started, you know.” “Oh, I live around the block”, I said “Happy to have a new place for lunch. What will the name be? Probably not cup o tea, maybe village hummus?” "Village hummus is one of my other restaurants, " she says “this one will be myTastee”. I welcome her to the neighborhood and take my hard won hummus and chicken home.

Speaking of authentic, I’d be a little furious if she had made any sounds about authentic. Her accent and general size and shape reminded me of India, southern, or perhaps areas that the indian dispora have landed, like indonesia or singapore. The hummus wasn’t of any of the sorts we’ve discussed, it was pretty fresh and pretty light, but could have used a little zing, like some fresh lemon or a bit of garlic. The chicken, on the other hand, was a very tasty curry, which reminded me more of singapore. It had nothing to do with any chicken I’ve had in israel, in any case, wasn’t quite indian, but could have been; much more like singapore. The sauce was fairly good, the chicken was simmered boneless thighs, my new favorite.

There you have it… “myTastee”, not really open for business yet, could be a very nice addition to the neighborhood, for anyone jonesing for a true hawker stall experience ( not like oak-town hawkerfair at all! ).

As of today, the place might be open - opening weekend! - the owner seems to be fairly lackadasical in terms of hours and the meaning of “open”, but there is a new sign, a proper open sign that’s lit, and someone inside. I worry about the owner’s ability to profit given the peculiar circumstances of the last few months, but … the one dish I’ve had so far was tastee indeed, thus interested in a few more data points.

Wait, a month or two ago I went to the drink place during a weekend. It looked to be permanently closed. I thought that’s the end of Village Hummus as well. You are saying now its back? Is it still the drink place or is it now fully Village Hummus?

Ok. That was the oddest takeout order call ever. First I called Cup O Tea. No answer. Then I called Village Hummus in San Mateo, and asked them about their Menlo Park location. The first lady said they are opening Monday. Some other lady in the back heard the conversation and grabbed the phone. She told me I could place the order and she’ll deliver to my house because shes coming down that way. I said I can just pick up at the Menlo Park location.

She told me to look at the menu on the DoorDash page, which I did. I called them back after looking at the menu. And I told the first lady that the second lady said I could order and pick up in Menlo Park. First lady said no. I asked to speak to the second lady. Its all Mediterranean stuff, and I ordered a few things. And then I asked her about the Indian / SE Asian stuff. She said they have an egg roti wrap that’s really good. I got that.

She told me to wait for her to call and I will go pick up. So I guess I will be going to Village Hummus in half an hour…!

Yeah, they’re odd.

Since they’re the closest restaurant-ish thing to my house, I drive by constantly, and I see an open sign on a closed store, or hours that are a fantasy, or even some kind of pop-up shade structure blocking the sidewalk unpleasantly. The name of the Menlo Park operation is My Tasties ( possibly MyTastee? ). Doordash and Google has them as My Tasties, but in my mind’s eye, the sign is different.

My experience getting food there months ago was like yours. I walk in, there’s no one there, I hear some banging in the back, and when I say “Hello?” a woman pops out and asks me what I want. “Food?” I say, and she considers, as if I’m asking for a muffler. I begin to explain there are a number of signs on her store promising food, and it’s lunch time, and I live in the area, so I thought perhaps buying some food from her was a plesant idea. She says, “You like chicken? Chicken and hummus?” “Sure!” I saw. “Ok”, she says, “A few minutes. I’m doing something else right now but will be right on it.” I step outside for the fresh air, and keep peeking in. Finally I see her at the counter again, and we exchange money for food.

What I got that was pleasantly SE Asian was a “chicken hummus”, where the chicken was some kind of curried thing which had nothing to do with any part of the Mediterranean. I have absolutely no idea if they would ever make it again. I hope so, it was addictive.

This afernoon, “open” is on the door, it’s an open hour according to the door, the open light is off, and there’s no one inside. They’re not going to have much business if they keep saying they’re open when they’re not.

This has got to be one of the craziest sounding businesses ever… I will have to cruise by just out of curiosity!

The oddity didn’t stop with the phone call. So later I went to pick the order up. I parked across the street in strip mall lot. Checked and she hadn’t arrived yet. So I waited in my car. Eventually she rolled up in a bimmer SUV. Invited me into the cafe. She then told me she didn’t think the register work, and told me to just pay her next time.

I asked her if she had Venmo or Paypal, as I thought restaurant operators needed all the help they could get, especially these days. She had a Venmo account. Just when I was about to pay her via Venmo, she figured out how she could take payment at the register. So I just paid her the ‘traditional’ way.

I asked her if she’s Indian given her name (which I learned about when she told me her Venmo account). She said yes. She seemed more of a Valley entrepreneur given the way she talked.

I will save my impression of the food for another post.

It’s still not open. The “opening monday” is clearly a fiction. The “open now” sign is inside the store, the open light is off, the open sign on the front door says open, and there’s a pile of mail inside the front door. The only sign of progress is the large “HELP WANTED” sign. I think it’s time to give up on these jokers — I’ll post if they seem to have regular hours that are regularly open.

She told me she would text me the menu before they opened. If and when I get that text, that means they are open then. Assuming she even wrote down my number, that is.

Got their tumeric chicken rice bowl.

Chicken hummus

The chicken in both the rice bowl and the hummus were the same, which had a light coating of curry on it. Definitely not Mediterranean, but this weird Indian/ South Asian accent on the Mediterranean dishes were actually pretty tasty. The rice bowl and the hummus themselves were fine.

Fluffy pita bread. Nice.

I asked the lady on the phone if they do any Indian food. She said they had this Indian breakfast egg wrap that’s really tasty. So I got one. And its tasty. I think its stronger than their Mediterranean offerings.

Dolma. Pretty decent.

Lentil soup. Pretty good.

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Yeah, looks like they’re doing that chicken (turmeric) the same way they made it for me. In some sense very simple, a really nice light spice mixture, in some ways very compelling. Not worth a trip but maybe worth a walk around the corner.

I will file that “indian egg wrap” thing. I’m not a big breakfast person, but will keep an eye out.

The menlo park circus of open and closed and who knows continues. They’ve at least gotten good about either being OPEN or CLOSED based on the signs on the store, but I haven’t seen them OPEN very much, and certainly not on anything like a regular schedule.

Doordash seems to be accepting take-out orders for them right now, and they are claiming 8am -> 4pm hours on doordash. Will NOT take a walk over, don’t have the time today… :slight_smile:

My Tasties is not able to reliably be open, even still.

Doesn’t look like they ever want to.

So you are saying they are actually open some time?

no, i didn’t mean that :upside_down_face: . i haven’t seen them open in weeks. at least they have taken down their signs claiming to be open, or be open ever…

They are now open more often than not. i have seen them closed during the ‘lunch rush’, or opening late. I did get the same chicken i got before, and even through they had accepted the Google order, when i walked over they said that google has lost the order (nope). Anyway the chicken dish was only ok and same with the hummus. Not a contender.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold