We were immensely enjoying the balila dip at Chadra Mezza & Grill the other day and chatting with co-owner Christina Elbitar about the Big Game a comin' when I got to thinking. Dips are usually the stars of the show -- at least on my Super Bowl party spread -- but I've never had a dip this good at my party before.
Essentially a bowl of mashed chickpeas atop mint yogurt and pita, Chadra's balila sports plenty of garlic and an olive-oil finish. Served with a platter of super-crisp pita chips, it's a mix of textures, kind of like a riff on the ubiquitous hummus, and absolutely delicious. In my playbook, it's the Super Bowl champion of local dips.
But here is a look at other area contenders. Call it my own personal Dip Bowl.
Hummus at Terra Mediterranean Grill
Speaking of hummus, this might be the area's gold standard. It's smooth and creamy, with a texture best described as whipped. This purée of chickpeas is excellently executed and is accompanied by the restaurant's stellar pita bread.
Queso Flameado at El Asadero
This queso is more gooey nacho cheese in consistency, but it is a unique and amazingly addictive take on standard queso. Studded with chorizo, it is served alongside tortillas.
Raita at Pasand Indian Cuisine
Typically referred to as a cooling agent, this yogurt-based dip features chunky pieces of diced cucumber, onion and tomato. I keep it at the ready after eating the restaurant's fiery lamb vindaloo, but this raita is so good, it would make a great dip for veggies or even skewered meat.
Love Dip at Central Market
With Valentine's Day approaching, this dip's a two-fer. People go gaga for this cream cheese and salsa concoction, as I am sure you know. As a recent convert, I can only attest that it's tasty, addictive and ridiculously bad for you. All hallmarks of a winning dip.