Mimi's in Manhattan and All the Weekly Dish

Hummus Empire

Mimi’s Hummus, the six-year-old Brooklyn charmer that won a Forward taste test for the Big Apple’s best Israeli-style hummus, is crossing the pond.

Owners Mimi Kitani and Avi Shuker will open two Manhattan outposts this summer. One will occupy a stall inside the new Vanderbilt food hall near Grand Central Station; a second will take root on East 14th Street, according to Eater.

Midtown’s Mimi’s, set to debut first, will feature an edited menu of hummus creations and sandwiches. The downtown spot, set to open later this year, will mimic the mothership’s menu — think hummus, sandwiches, salads and a few larger plates at dinner like lemon chicken meatballs, brisket and the Middle Eastern rice and lentil dish mejadara, according to Eater.

Kosher Empire?

West Roxbury, Massachusetts, may become the birthplace of a new kosher-hotels brand, Boston’s UniversalHub reports.

Local developer Nissim Shimon Trabelsi told the site he’s talking to several hotel management companies — including the one that runs Jerusalem’s King David Hotel — about running the chain he hopes to start.

Its Glatt kosher kitchen would make the place a draw, a local rabbi told UniversalHub — as long as Trabelsi hires unionized employees.

At a town meeting, “a member of West Roxbury’s Jewish community said he is looking forward to a place… where he can get a meal that doesn’t involve a trip to Brookline or downtown,” the site says.

‘Illegal’ Juice Keeps Israel Buzzed

It may be banned Stateside, but khat juice is buzzing in Israel. That’s the report from Munchies, the food blog at renegade news site Vice.

Munchies visits Uzi Eli, a genial 72-year-old Yemeni juice purveyor known as the Etrog Man for his citron-based liquid remedies, including khat, the psychostimulant plant banned in the U.S. and much of Europe.

“The Etrog Man foisted another bunch of qat leaves upon me and entreated me to shove them into my mouth,” writes Ilan Ben Zion. “My cheek was already bursting with a wad of masticated green pulp comprised of cardamom pods, clove, almonds and raisins.” Khat’s effect, Ben Zion explains, “are similar to a strong cup of coffee, or a small hit of Adderall.”

Etrog Man tells Munchies: “It’s a social drug. You sit around in a group, chewing, talking, learning, telling stories.”

The Forward first reported on khat’s arrival in Tel Aviv in 2012.

‘Austin’s Best Pastrami’ Purveyor Shutters

Melvin’s Deli Comfort, which served what some called Austin’s best pastrami, has closed. The restaurant — also hailed as Austin’s King of Corned Beef — occupied a shiny red trailer. Owner Melvin Ennis told Austin360 he’s considering coming back to the food world in 2017 or 2018, possibly with a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Hungary for Jewish Food

The Jewish Journal this week drops in at Budapest’s Spinoza Café, “one of the few modern (nonkosher) eateries proudly announcing Hungarian-Jewish food.” General manager Imre Takács: “We make it like grandma used to make it,” referring to the cafe’s flodni, the traditional three-layered Hungarian-Jewish cake. The hummus recipe came from the owner of Jerusalem’s Link Café, a friend of the Spinoza’s owner.

Michael Kaminer is a frequent contributor to the Forward.

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