Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tel Aviv, Israel - We finally have some free time for lunch in Tel Aviv and we're out looking for a good place to eat. As we were walking around, I saw a trend of juice shops. Juice stands seem to be very common in Israel, so of course I can't turn it down. One of my favorite juices is mango and this was fresh mangos juice pressed right in front of you. It some pulp in it, so if you don't like that, I would recommend another juice, but if you don't mind, then man was it delicious. Fresh and cold mango juice, you can't go wrong.

Next we found a random place to eat as we were meandering through the streets of Tel Aviv. I wish I could remember the place of this restaurant because it is worth going back. I had a Feta and Eggplant Baguette. It came with a small salad with vinaigrette dressing. I love feta an the saltiness of the cheese compliments the eggplant beautifully. Excellent combination.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tel Aviv, Israel - This was our first morning in Israel and the hotel, Dan Panarama, had a very very large breakfast spread. Tons of choices everywhere. So, I decided to try their Shakshuka. Now in the previous blog entry, we went to Dr. Shakshuka's restaurant and I described how that was. The Shakshuka at the hotel, well, they only wished it tastes like Dr. Shakshuka. This is where I saw it for the first time, therefore, it wasn't bad, pretty good for the first time. However, after having it from Dr. Shakshuka, it's no contest. It was much dryer than the other place, so I would only get it out of necessity.

However, the two things on the plate that I would fill up on is the sweet potatoes in a cheese sauce on the right-hand side of the picture. Wow. It was so good. I could get a whole plate of it and probably die of a heart attack, but the cheese sauce went so well with the sweet potatoes. It was a very nice dish. On the far left-hand side is chocolate Rugelach. Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry and this was particularly delicious. Traditionally it is a pastry that has various fillings such as cream cheese, different kinds of jellies, etc... This time, it's chocolate and it was worth every calorie. I could also get a whole plate of this Rugelah and probably die of obesity. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tel Aviv, Israel - If there is one restaurant you try in Tel Aviv, it's Dr. Shakshuka. It is an alley way converted into a restaurant, so the atmosphere is very creative and most of the cooking is done right in the alley with you able to watch this amazing stove. When the chef removes the pan from the stove, the flames will reach three to four feet! The food is like nothing else. Some places try to reduplicate shakshuka, but it's nothing like Dr. Shakshuka.

Just like every Israeli dinner, it always starts with small salads. It started with a delicious assortment of dishes that included a green salad, tomato salad, hummus, carrot and radish pickled salad, and marinated eggplant.

Next course was a delicious soup. It was an outstanding potato and lentil soup that had such an impactful flavor that you didn't want to stop eating it. However, you knew there was more food coming. Along with the soup came freshly made couscous. I don't remember having such amazing couscous. It was extremely fluffy and complimented the soup perfectly.

The entrees started coming out and the dish on the left is stuffed potatoes with meat inside. The meat and potato's was cooked very well and basically melted in your mouth. The sauce was the kicker. We almost wanted to lick the dish. The dish on the right is beef that was boiled and served in a curry bean sauce. It wasn't my favorite dish so I moved on to the ones below.

This is why people come to Dr. Shakshuka. The dish is called Shakshuka, which is traditionally a morrocan dish. These are eggs fried into a tomato base. This is the highlight of the whole evening. It has a delicious sharp tomato flavor with all kinds of spices. This is the only dish that was completely gone by the end of the night.
Fish goes shakshuka style. I'm not sure what kind of fish it was, but it was similar to a whitefish. It's prepared shakshuka style, stove-top fried in the same tomato sauce, but they use a slightly different collage of spices to change it up.

The food just kept coming. This is chicken in the same tomato shakshuka flavor. If your a chicken fan, it was a very good dish.
This is one of my favorite dishes. It's a very close second to the shakshuka dish. This was beef, sausage and potatoes in a green pea shakshuka sauce. The best part of this entree, was the sausage. I didn't expect how much amazing flavor the sausage had. I was so full at this point, I still forced myself to keep eating this one.

Now they brought out desert. I couldn't eat more, but I had to take a bit to try it. It was a nice sweet raisin cake. I thought it was good, but I wasn't sure if I didn't want to eat it because of being so full or didn't care for it much. I only had a few bites.

Lastly, they brought out tea, a unique tea. One that I've never had before. It is served with a single peanut inside it. You can briefly see it in the picture, floating on top. It gave the tea a touch of peanut flavor. Very interesting


Monday, November 17, 2008

Nazareth, Israel - The restaurant Diane's was recommended to one of my friends and it was worth seeking it out. It was a very nice restaurant with excellent food and decore. Their freshly baked bread is served immediately out of the oven, hot and delicious. Of course, they bring out many many little side dishes. This is only some of them, but they were so good. The most memorable dish was this yogurt they made with something nice and spicy in it, but not sure what it was in it. Typically you eat yogurt when you're eating spicy food to help cool down your mouth. This is the beauty of the dish. The dichotomy of eating something spicy and immediately cooling your mouth off with the yogurt. Get it when you go there. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jerusalem, Israel - This is at a very small restaurant in downtown Jerusalem, that's very well hidden called, Tmol Shilshom Cafe. It is basically a restaurant and book store. But don't mistake it for a book store with a cafe. Very different than that. I think the food was good, but the ambiance was the best part. Dinner was buffet style, probably because we were in a very large group, with Salmon (prepared well, but with not a lot of flavor), potatoes (seasoned well), pasta with cream or tomato sauce (I choose the tomato sauce, which was very savory, but my friends said the cream sauce was better), and probably the best part of our selection, a portabella vinaigrette salad (excellent dressing complimenting the mushrooms).
Desert was chocolate cake, cream cake, and a latte. The cakes were okay, nothing really special, and the latte was very good. I would get the latte again for desert, sit back, and now read a book. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Jerusalem, Israel - Joy Restaurant

Just like any Israeli dinner, it always starts with small side dishes. We started with pickled carrots, an onion and tomato salad, ground lamb, liver pate, and sweet potato chips. I usually don't like liver pate, but I thought I would try it again to see if my pallet has changed. It hasn't. I enjoyed it as much as I remember. Having cooked liver, I can do, but liver pate, it's one I may have to stay away from. All the sides are absolutely delicious, one in particular that is not in the picture is their chicken wings. I rarely eat wings, but I could have had them for dinner her, it was so delicious. Therefore, when you're there, get a big plate of them. Lastly, the other side dish that was out of this world, was the sweet potato chips. The chips were very good, prepared very well, but what added extra flavor was maple syrup on top of it. It really helped to enhance the sweet potato flavor.

For my main entree, I had the lamb kabob. The meat was prepared well, however, I don't think they seasoned it enough. It was somewhat bland and the sauce on the plate was a very think strong peanut sauce. I ended up avoiding the sauce because I thought it was to over powering and actually masked the flavor of the meat completely. I would definitely try something else if I went back. I would just go for the chicken wings!

Chicken wings or desert, I could have continued eating those wings, but I had to save room for dessert. This is molten chocolate cake. Just from the looks of it, it looks good. It's as good as it looks. Of course, it's served warm and the middle just melts out when you cut it open. Definitely a keeper. Enjoy!