Perhaps it's not a discovery worthy of the Harvard Kitchen Lab, but just in time for the possible passage of Proposition 19, there's been a recent breakthrough in late night snacking -- extensive research shows that most restaurant leftovers taste better dipped in hummus. The luscious creaminess and savory punch of the beloved chickpea spread adds moisture and zing to food made tired and sad by time's long march and the refrigerator's frosty chill. And the prep time is next to nil -- open take-out container, open hummus, and dip. No plate required.
So here are five doggy bag dishes that particularly benefit from the chickpea treatment. Turn the page...
1. Mutton with White Gourd Dumpling from FFY Noodle House:
It turns out that almost any cold dumpling is delicious when dipped in the garbanzo good stuff, but given lamb's natural compatibility with hummus, FFY's gamey mutton variety is the exemplar dumpling for dipping. We recommend forgoing politesse and double dipping to ensure maximum hummus and mutton contact. 18219 E. Gale Avenue, #A, Rowland Heights; 626-839-8806.
2. BBQ Pizza from Tomato Pie:
What's better than cold pizza? Cold pizza dipped in hummus. Folded in half New York style, Tomato Pie's thin crust becomes almost pita-like, enveloping the sweet barbecue chicken and caramelized onions. When bathed in the Middle Eastern spread, the whole thing becomes an oddly satisfying fusion chicken shawarma sandwich. 2457 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles; 323-661-6474.
3. Queso con Loroco Pupusa from California Grill:
Though it looses the crispy char of the griddle, the pupusa's flavors -- sweet, nutty masa and herby loroco flower -- pack an even stronger punch when devoured straight from the fridge. Though the cold queso filling (reminiscent of mozzarella on last night's pizza) and now chewy dough may present a textural challenge to some, the cool, creamy hummus lightens up each bite. 800 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles; 323-660-0427.
4. Thai Omelet with Sweet Turnip from Ganda:
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Any of Ganda's beautiful swirling pan-fried egg behemoths is well-served by a little night swimming in the hummus pool. With protein from the eggs and chickpeas, the sweet turnip version makes for a hearty vegetarian snack. 5269 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles; 323-466-4281.
5. Beef Roll from 101 Noodle Express:
Though the roll's famous textural interplay of crispy and chewy don't hold up so well with refrigeration, the flavors are still there, and the sweetness of the hoisin and the richness of the beef make fast friends with the hummus's earthy nuttiness. An added bonus, as it cools, the roll becomes quite sturdy, making it a perfect platform for dipping. 1408 E. Valley Blvd, Alhambra; 626-300-8654.
Pairing Note: Sabra's Classic Hummus is an excellent complement to any of these dishes. Locavores may also wish to try the offerings at Hummus Bar and Grill, Sunin, or Skaf's Grill for their dipping needs.