Saturday, August 29, 2009


Mexican Food Cravings

One of the more "difficult" things about living in Israel, at least for someone who grew up in the US, is the almost complete lack of Mexican food, let alone good Mexican food. Only after you move to a country with no Mexican food do you realize how much you appreciate great salsa, tacos, guacamole, tostadas, etc...available everywhere.

For several years, after moving to Israel, I did not eat Mexican food even once until I was introduced to the great intimate and authentic Mexican restaurant Mezcal. Located in the trendy Southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Florentin Mezcal has the best (and only?) selection of high quality Mezcal and Tequila in the city and probably the country. I enjoy a good shot of tequila or its spirit cousin Mezcal, but for me the food is what makes Mezcal special.

Mezcal doesn't offer tex-mex cuisine, what most "Mexican" restaurants in the US serve, rather authentic Mexican cuisine. They serve corn tortillas, enchilades verdes (or rojos if you ask the chef nicely), tostadas, a great chile con carne (possibly Texan and not Mexcian), and my favorite dish Chicken in Mole.

Mole is a type of Mexican sauce that can involve upwards of twenty ingredients, and there are dozens of different kinds. The Mole used on on this incredibly tender chicken dish is a Mole Poblano, from the Mexican city of Puebla. This mole is fairly well known for its use of chocolate as a primary ingredient. The chocolate adds a very special dimension and creates an amazing complex flavor I'm not going to even try to describe. You just have to go to your nearest authentic Mexican restaurant, hope they have it on the menu, and taste it for yourself.

At the end of the night I was speaking with the chef about how he prepares some of his dishes and I asked where he gets limes from. For that don't know, you can't get limes in Israel. Once a year, magically, they'll show up in the market for a few days, and then they're gone...Keyser Soze style. After asking the question the chef went back into his kitchen and brought me back a bag full of limes, a truly special present for me. It's nice to know that when I get my Mexican food cravings I have a place to go.

Vital 2, Florentin Neighborhood
Tel Aviv


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