I HOPE Hummus

I was invited to visit Hope Foods, maker of the incredibly fresh and delicious Hope Hummus, in Louisville, Colorado. I’ve seen the name around for a few years now, but I can’t recall ever purchasing one of their products before. I knew that they started selling hummus at the Boulder County Farmers Market, and I knew they’d expanded and were on shelves in a number of our local grocers, but that’s the most I could have told you before last week. Now I could talk your ear off about what a great local company they are and how Hope Hummus should be your hummus of choice if you’re not making it from scratch at home. It will certainly be my go-to when I’m not following Chef Mike Solomonov’s recipe, which is a very traditional Israeli hummus. In fact, I was so inspired by my visit to Hope Foods that I’ll likely tweak chef Solomonov’s recipe the next time I make it.

~Inspiration to create new flavors of garbanzo bean spread~ That’s what came to me on our media party at Hope Foods. We were given two bowls of hummus, a “regular” or savory one and a sweet one that was sweetened with agave syrup. There was a table of ingredients full of spices, herbs, jams, nut butters, pumpkin, roasted peppers, lemons, limes, coconut flakes, goji berries…you name it and it was likely on a table for us to mix our own flavored hummus.

Hope Hummus

I added pumpkin puree, curry powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, lemon juice, fresh thyme and ground black pepper to my savory bowl. Then mixed it all together and scooped it into a Ball jar labeled for A Bolder Table, which was a nice touch :)

 

 

 

Next up was the sweet hummus, which I wasn’t really sure what I’d enjoy, so I kept it simple: Almond butter and blackberry jam.

Hope Hummus

This combination would go really well on toast, and I would have NEVER thought of sweetening hummus on my own, so I’m inspired to try a variety of combinations in the future.

 

 

 

 

After mixing up some unique spreads, we were given a tour of the 15,000 square foot hummus factory, and learned that Hope Foods doesn’t make a ton of hummus and store it until an order comes in. They make hummus to order, so there’s a two day turn-around time from when they make the hummus to when it’s loaded on a truck for delivery. That’s FRESH in my opinion. It’s also Cold Pressure Prepped, which means it needs neither preservatives nor high heat to ensure each batch is safe from pathogens, bacteria, and mold. Another important detail that sets them apart from their competitors is adding olive oil rather than canola oil to their hummus. In short, Hope Foods makes fresh hummus using as few ingredients as they can without skimping on ingredient quality to produce a large quantity of food. I can stand behind that.

An operation that started with a group of friends making hummus in a commissary kitchen and selling it at the farmers market now employs 30+ people and makes more than ten different flavors of hummus. In my opinion, this company is doing everything right, and I am proud to have them as a local producer here in Colorado. I hope they continue to spread good things.

 

 

 

 

 

The Boulder Passport: Riffs

As every single one of my tour guests hear, Riffs is one of my absolute favorite places in Boulder. After one of my cocktail tours, Sean and I got together for our third night (in a row) of Boulder Passport debauchery. Two of my cocktail tour guests had returned there for dinner as well, and they were fellow passport holders, so that essentially means they’re hip and have good taste :-)

Riffs is offering The Ruby Sipper, a barrel aged cocktail, that is finished with a flamed orange. Nice touch.

The Ruby Sipper

Sean, my chef (you all know he’s actually one of the best in town, right..?), was planning on cooking for us that evening as it was his night off from Zeal, so we got a couple appetizers.¬†We ordered their green pea hummus, which I get almost every single time I eat there because it’s one of my favorite bites in Boulder…

Green Pea Hummus

We enjoyed a seasonal menu item: Cornmeal Fried Zucchini. I loved this dish last summer, so I’m glad Chef Platt brought it back.

Cornmeal Fried Zucchini

And all of those former menus they place between plates and other dishes had been sliced by one of my favorite servers that afternoon. Reuse, then recycle. I like that, too, about Riffs.

After our snacks we were ready to visit two more places that evening…

Row 14 Late Night Happy Hour

Don’t get me wrong… I’m a good, loyal Boulderite.  I love this town and I love the dining scene, but when it comes to late night food, there aren’t many options.  I wish we had kitchens open til midnight or later, and that food trucks could park downtown at night.  But no.  One must venture down to Denver to have such benefits.  So venture to Denver I did…
Row 14 is right downtown in The Spire building across from my favorite blue bear at the convention center.  Big bonus right there.  They also have a late night happy hour from 10pm-midnight, so walking in at 11:30 pm I sampled…
The Pickled Seasonal Vegetables.  I order this dish now at every single restaurant I visit that has pickles on the menu.  I’m a big seasonal pickler myself, so I am always interested in comparing professionally made pickles to my homemade pickles.  The beets, turnips, and onions were great. Crisp, balanced, delicious.

Hummus and Grilled Flatbread.  Yes, Please.  This is an ideal late night dish for me because it’s filling and healthy (remember I’m a Boulderite, so, health starts here…), and Row 14 makes a perfectly creamy chickpea hummus.  

Crispy Calamari… let’s just ignore the fact that I only had my handy iPhone with me, so we’re obviously not looking at the most amazing photo here.  But, yum. I scarfed it all down, and washed it down with a unique libation made by up-and-coming mixologist Tyler French.

I told Tyler I like Rye and he crafted something for me that was spirit forward.  I like it strong sometimes.
If Denver weren’t so far away from Boulder, and if I didn’t have to stop at a hotel over night to break up the drive, I’d go more often.  But seriously. Boulder needs to step it up with the late night food offerings.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy what Denver has to offer.

Grilled Eggplant Pita

I love making different sandwiches with my leftover hummus. This one was great on a hot summer night.
Ingredients:
  • Grilled eggplant
  • Grilled yellow onion
  • Grilled pepper
  • sliced tomato
  • hummus
  • feta cheese
I sliced up some local eggplant, a yellow onion, and a green pepper, tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and threw them on the grill. When they were done, I stuffed them in a warm pita with tomato, some of my Roasted Garlic Sun-dried Tomato Hummus, and some feta cheese. Delicious.
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