Monthly Archives: July 2013

Israel in 18 meals- part 9

I should have called this series Israel in 18 meals, of course our trip took 10 days, and we should have had 20 meals in that, but since the last day was a travelling day I can only report relatively sad food experiences from that, and only one from Israel, on the airport, in the wine bar. The salad was bad, the wine was good. So: eat as much good food before you start your way home, there is not much to expect from the airport food in my experience.

On our final day, we went to Jaffa again, to look at the little shops, and at the market. And of course, where to eat when in Jaffa but in Haj Kahil. It was a close finish though, we also seriously considered going back to the humus place, but then thought, in Haj Kahil we can also have good humus, and all the other nice stuff. Also, on the first night we went there, my girl did not get to try the cheese dish that David Lebovitch wrote about, so, there was another good reason to go there. I won’t repeat myself. Well ok briefly: it was again, delicious. More than enough food, it’s really a pity one cannot eat more. We did order the cheese, deep fried haloumi. It was nice, but for me not the main reason to go here, a little too salty to my taste. But never mind, all the little salads were wonderful, and so was the humus. Next visit to Israel, we will for sure go there again!

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And at night, we finally finally managed to go to Oasis. Our friend called them the day before to make a reservation, this is highly recommended! It is a very small restaurants with only a few tables (inside and outside) which is hugely popular. For good reasons, I can say. The restaurant is small, the kitchen, which is open, so you can see the cook in action, is tiny, which makes it all the more impressive what is being served. Service is kind, and attentive, prices are on the higher end (relative to what we have paid before in Tel Aviv), but I don’t consider it overpriced, since the food is really really good. See pictures.

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We got a small bloody mary as a welcome drink, after which the waitress came and explained the menu. We were a bit late, and so not everything could be made anymore, which is of course always a disappointment. But I also consider it a good sign, since it means that the cook doesn’t buy too much food and has to throw away a lot. We started by sharing a zucchini salad, which may sound a little boring, but it was in fact perfect: fresh and raw zucchini, grated and mixed with good parmesan and olive oil and some lemon. So simple, but with the best ingredients, a dish from heaven. After that I had a vietnamese fish dish. I don’t remember all the ingredients anymore, and I can also not tell how vietnamese it really was (this being the first time ever I ate something vietnames), but: I loved it. Again, very good ingredients, very fresh, with a combination of spices and herbs that made it taste like nothing I ever ate before. If I would live in Tel Aviv, I would most certainly go there more often and eat it over and over again. To drink we had an Orvieto, also highly recommendable, and very reasonably priced. We ended the meal with different desert s(since some were sold out already), I had a lemon ice thingy. Hmmm nice.

Despite all these positive words, it is not my favourite restaurant in Tel Aviv (I think this still is Orna and Ella). Not sure why, definitely not because of the food. It may have been the cook, who looked as if on uppers, and also the other people that worked there, had an attitude which didn’t make me feel comfortable. Not sure what it was. Maybe it was just the fact that this was our last night in Tel Aviv, which meant saying good bye to my friends and to Israel, which made me sad.

Well, for my next sabbatical we plan to go to Tel Aviv for one or two months, then for sure I can try Oasis again, and all of the other restaurants we’ve been to!

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Israel in 20 meals – part 8

Almost there! Just a few more meals to report.

In the last couple of years, I bought most of my summer cloths in Tel Aviv, (usually what I buy there, counts as winter or spring cloths, not summer… which leads to funny exchanges with the shop owners), so this time too, we had to go shopping, and monday was the day. But since shopping makes hungry and since it is exhausting, we needed a good breakfast before. And for a good breakfast, you go to Benedict, a restaurant that serves breakfast all day. You are being welcomed by a friendly ‘good morning’ at any time of the day. Nice concepts, it suits us. They serve both savory and sweet dishes, so, both my girl and me where happy. See below, pancakse, with maple syrup, bacon, nuts, as well as a burger, nicely spiced, on mashed potatoes, with pine nuts, and served with salad. Everything is made with fresh and good ingredients. Bring a lot of hunger, because portions are huge!

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After breakfast, we went to Sheinkin street, and there to Naama Bezalel, a small shop with clothes designed by, Naama Bezalel. Also a recommendation by my local friend. It’s a small shop, decorated in, 70ties style (I think, I don’t know much about that). Normally I buy my trousers there, but no luck this time. I either didn’t like them, of they didn’t fit. However, I bought a beautiful jacket in red (so red, that it seems to shine and back home, I already got lots of compliments) and my girl made me buy a dress in purple (yes, a dress, in purple, and I even like it!). After that we went to Cotton, a shop that sells  ecologically ok cloths completely made in Israel (which, I assume, makes them fair trade as well). Both of us were dressed several times by the friendly helpers in the shop, and hence, we left the shop with 11 pieces of clothing…and happy! Of course after this we deserved some more looking at the sea, as well as a good dinner!

Time to repeat ourselves. We wanted to go to Oasis, but this was fully booked already and we didn’t want to wait for a table there, hoping we would have a chance to go there the next day. Instead we went to Orna and Ella again, a perfect place to go to more than once during a visit. I keep repeating myself, by saying how wonderful our dinners were. But, truth is, they were. All of them. This night we started with vegetarian starters (lentils, grilled vegetables), and after that my girl had a cauliflower sinya and I had fish in tomato sauce. Both were very good, but the sinya definitely won. Very interesting combination of grilled cauliflower (I now really love cauliflower), with tahini, pine nuts and some tomatoes as well. At home, my girl tried to make the cauliflower sinya several times, with good results, but not yet as perfect as the one at Orna and Ella’s So any recommendations on good recipes will be very much appreciated!

 

Israel in 20 meals -part 7

In Israel, one should of course not only eat humus, but also: Falafel. Which, to my shame, I have to admit I’ve never done before. But on sunday the time was there! We did not have any specific plans where to go, we merely walked around and wanted to go to the beach, to sit and watch the sea and have a beer. But, before that, food. Of course one can find Falafel almost on every corner, but we didn’t want just any falafal, we wanted good falafel. It took some walking around, but then, we saw this here, completely crowded with a row. A good sign!

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And, as it turned out afterwards, even the Haaretz agrees is one of five best places to eat Falafel in Tel Aviv. Well done, and we found it all by ourselves (I am a little proud I have to say, we just walked around and went to the place that was most crowded and loud that we found, and it was Falafel Gabai.). Tasty Falafel, very loud, funny service (if you tip enough, they start singing for you!), a good place for lunch. Oh how I wish I had something like that just around the corner from my office. But alas.

To make our day completely vegan (well apart from the capucinno for breakfast), after our day at the beach we went out for dinner to Mezze, which was recommended to us by our local friends. And yet again, another good recommendation. Service is not too quick, but very friendly. It has a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. We had the three tahini variations with breath (with beet root, natural and with I think basil, something green in any case) very tasty, very yummy. As a main dish we shared a huge quinoa salad (not a good picture I know), with fresh herbs, pine nuts, again with tahini and I don’t remember anymore what else. It was fresh, it was for sure very healthy, and it was food that made me happy. Ever since we visited Israel we eat quinoa salad at home (for instance Yotam Ottolenghi’s with broad beans, avocado and radish). Delicious.  Too bad, that although it is vegan, healthy, and probably also ecologically ok, it is not food we should eat too often (see here).

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