It all started when I was faced with a tiny tub of $4 hummous and a $5 box of pita chips at the Atwater's Farmers market. The hummous and other dips from the guys that sell at farmers' markets is pretty good stuff, but the prices seemed way too high. In a fit of pique, I drove over to Whole Food for Life market (3070 Los Feliz Blvd.), which seemed like the closest Middle Eastern market. They had the requisite pita bread for 70 cents or so a bag, and I also picked up a bag of maneishe bread and a tub of rich, oily, delicious eggplant salad. The next week, I wanted the full-on shopping-in-a-hectic-Yerevan-market experience, so Matt and I stopped in at Super King (2716 San Fernando Road). For $20, I got a pint of creamy hummus, a pound of marinated chicken breast kabob chunks, some 50 cent pita bread, and so many vegetables I haven't had time to cook them all. It's nice to see people actually buying vegetables at a supermarket, since at Ralph's they usually seem to concentrate on the potato chip and soda aisles.
But my family ate up all the pita bread, and I still had hummus left for lunch. A trip to Sasoun Bakery (5114 Santa Monica Blvd.) was in order. If you don't patronize Sasoun (there's one in Glendale too), you're missing out on one of L.A.'s best and most flavorful bargains. I got a wonderfully tangy spinach borek and two fresh maneishe breads, covered in sumac and thyme and sesame seeds -- much better than the pre-packaged variety -- all for about $4. A Middle Eastern tour of L.A. has got to be the best way to perk up some boring brown bag lunches. Next stop: the Russian delis of West Hollywood.