Friday, April 30, 2010

A Damn Good Sandwich

I hope everyone has a nice Shabbat dinner this week. Tonight Jodie and I had a heck of a good sandwich, and here's how we made it with some pictures.

Ingredients:
Challah roll
Red Onion
Avocado
Tomato
Rocket leaves
Parsley
Cilantro
Egg
Mayo - Hellmann's
Goat's Manchego Cheese
Lemon
Olive Oil
Salt Pepper

Instructions:
1. Slice the tomato and avocado
2. Carmelize the onion
3. Mix the rocket leaves with the parsley and cilantro. Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil. Salt and pepper.
4. Fry the egg!
5. Toast the challah roll and spread some good mayo on each side. Layer with the avocado, tomato, onion, slices of  cheese, green's mixture and fried egg.
6. Enjoy a great sandwich!








Unfortunately, its all gone. Cool place mats made out of banana bark from Uganda though. 

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Organic Oregon Wine

Its not related to Israel, but here's a great article about sustainability in my my native Oregon's wine industry. Stay tuned for my next post which will detail what I hope is the greatest veggie sandwich of all time!
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some Tech Updates

This isn't a food related post, so I'll keep it short. I added a new feature to the blog recently some of you may have noticed. Its a Meebo bar, and you'll see it at the bottom of the page. It allows you to share my blog posts and picture very easily on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz or by email. You can share individual pages, the whole blog, or even the pictures you see (like the one in this post) with just one click. I'm of course happy if anybody wants to share my blog on their various social media pages and I hope you all find it to be a convenient tool. Alright, enough of the tech info and I promise the next post will be about food:-)

Here's a picture of some figs I saw up north near Mt. Meron that appear to be months ahead of schedule.


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Jasquila

I was in the Upper Galil this past weekend with my Dad and my Israeli family. We went on some beautiful hikes in and around Mt. Meron and even in late April one can see a lot of wildflowers.

For dinner we went to a Lebanese restaurant that my Israeli family had been to several times and had fond memories of. They knew the restaurant as Jasquila, and enjoyed the homey atmosphere, complete with a fireplace. It was a family operation and the matriarch of the family would make special Lebanese specialties, primarily various stuffed dishes. Stuffed grape leaves, peppers, okra, zucchini, etc…

So we all went to Jish (Gush Halav) hungry and excited for some good home style Lebanese food. Upon arrival to where Jasquila has been we discovered that the restaurant has gone through a few changes. For one, it is no longer called Jasquila, rather Ha’arezim (Cedars). It is no longer has the home feel with the fireplace, but looks like any modern restaurant. While it is unfortunate the restaurant lost its identity and is not really distinguishable in appearance from newly renovated “modern” place, the food was still great.

I ordered the Molouchiya (a green leaf actually associated more with Egyptian cuisine) soup with rice. The soup was simple in composition, but tasty. The Machluya adds a little sourness and kick to the soup. They served us the gazillions of salads one receives at a typical Arab restaurant, all of which were really good. The olives were a step above everything else, though. A little spicy, very lemony, and really tasty. My Dad had the lamb shishlik, which was, according to him, “extremely well spiced” and “very tender and juicy”.

All in all, it was a really tasty meal and I would recommend to the place to anyone in the area. Its just a shame they thought they had to lose their authentic style, name, and partial identity to appeal to the masses, whoever that is.

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Ha’arezim (Cedars) restaurant. Formally known as Jasquila.

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I never knew children came in portions of sausage, schnitzel, or chicken skewers. Hmmm, which kid will I eat?

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Don’t eat me! I’m too cute…

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Excellent lamb shishlik

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Some of the best olives I’ve had in a long while

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Molouchiya, a kind of spinach-ish soup with rice.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blackout

My folks are in town, and last Thursday we went to dinner at one of the most unique dining experiences in Tel Aviv and probably the world as well. We had dinner at Mercaz Na Laga’at (The Please Touch Center). Na Laga’at is a center that puts on plays by actors who are both blind and deaf, a cafe run by deaf people, and a restaurant (Blackout) in pitch darkness run by blind waiters. The combination of these different elements involving deaf, blind, and deaf and blind people make it literally the only center of its kind in the world. Located in a renovated building in the Yafo port, it is truly one of the highlights of Yafo and the country.

The Blackout Restaurant puts forward a dining experience that makes you truly blind. A darkness is created in the restaurant that prevents you from seeing your hand an inch from your face, and you don’t ever adjust to it, no matter how long you stay inside. The most amazing part of the restaurant is that the waiters are blind as well. Using their knowledge of the layout of the restaurant and their acute sense of sound, the waiters are able to manage inside with no problem. Inside Blackout the tables are turned. Those who can see on the outside are at the mercy of those who cannot. The waiters lead you inside the restaurant with you grasping their shoulders as you adjust to not being able to see a thing. They bring you to your seat and culinary experience begins.

Eating while blind is an enhanced culinary experience, in my opinion, and by no means a drawback. There is an expression that you first "eat with your eyes". While this is true, people don't realize the culinary benefits of not being able to use your eyes while eating. Flavors become bolder, textures are more pronounced, and pouring your glass of water actually requires thought. I ordered the vegetarian “surprise”, meaning I did not know beforehand what I was going to be served, and clearly I couldn't see it either. The "surprise" ended up being an excellent ravioli with artichokes, peas, and jerusalem artichoke. For those that want to know what they’re eating beforehand you can choose from a set menu. Bibs are provided for those who worry about spilling food in the dark, but my experience is that you adjust quite easily and eat normally with only a fork.

Blackout is such a unique experience that I think it is a must eat location for anyone with some spare time in their visit to Tel Aviv-Yafo. However, as the restaurant is only open three days a week be sure to plan ahead and make a reservation.

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What your dining experience looks like
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Mercaz Na Laga’at located in the Yafo Port
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The entrance to the Blackout Restaurant
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The Blackout Restaurant from the outside
 
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Review of Tel Aviv's Culinary Scene

Check out this very well written and glowing review of Tel Aviv's culinary scene in the Washington Post my friend Liz sent me. One part, in particular, I very much connected with. The author mentions that even in your downtime from eating out you can watch cooking shows Friday evenings in your hotel room. I have family that I have dinner with on Friday nights a few times a month, and we often watch cookings shows before dinner. Whether it be Aharoni (named after Chef Aharoni), Te'amim (Flavors), or Shum, Pilpel, v'Shemen Zayit (Garlic, Pepper, and Olive Oil) watching parts of these shows is something I very much associate with Friday evenings and I was happy to see the article mention the programs as well.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Government Stole Our Idea!

Savor Israel is not the only organization that is trying to expose people to Israel's culinary achievements. The Foreign Ministry recently had a number of high profile food writers, restaurateurs and other food industry leaders come to Israel for a food tour. Check out the article below, written in the Jerusalem Post, and hopefully next time the Foreign Ministry will contact Savor Israel to lead the tour:-)


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