Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tiberias, Israel - The largest freshwater lake in Israel, sitting 209 meters below sea level, it is also the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. Tiberias has several excellent restaurants right on the water, which also includes a fabulous boardwalk for nightlife and shopping. We stopped at this restaurant, recommended by our bus driver. He was absolutely right, it was delicious. I wish I new the name of the place, but alas, it escapes me.

As every Israeli dinner, it always starts with the salads. This of course included hummus, pickled carrots, pickles, olives, a cabbage salad in a oil and vinegar dressing, eggplant with a tomato base, corn, and fresh pita bread. One of my favorite salads was the eggplant in a tomato base sauce. I hadn't seen this yet at any places and it was filled with flavor. Eggplant has a distinct flavor, and it was complimented with the sauce and spices.

For the main course, the restaurant sits adjacent to the lake, so what better dish to have is Tilapia caught that day. Several people didn't realize that it would be served whole, so they were taken back by the appearance. However, those of us who didn't mind seeing the whole fish, really enjoyed it. It is lightly pan fried and lightly spiced for additional flavor, but not too much to mask the flavor of the fish. It is served with chips, which were just standard fries, but when you dip it into some of the Israeli salads, the fries no longer taste like ordinary fries, I recommend doing this.

For desert, was fresh fruit. I'm not sure if they grow watermelon in Israel, so it might be imported, but I really don't know. It was nice to have watermelon given it was turning into winter at home and there was no chance to have it there. The highlight of the fruit desert was the dates. Usually, dates are dehydrated, when served, but these were not. These were served fresh and although they have the same flavor and texture as the dehydrated dates, they are much more juicy on the inside. It's not too much were it squirts out when biting into it, but it contains more moisture. Different and delicious.

After every Israeli meal, either tea or coffee is usually served. They offered us Turkish Coffee. Usually I don't drink coffee, but since I'm in Israel being served Turkish Coffee, I thought I would try it. I was pleasantly surprised! It was delicious. It was strong as Turkish Coffee should be, but they also sweetened it up. The coffee I've had in the past was bitter, so I'm not sure if it was prepared incorrectly the first time I had it or if this places prefers to prepare it differently, but I would rather choose this style any day. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jerusalem, Israel - I decided to go back to the hotel after a very long and exhausting day. I rarely get hotel food, unless I'm complete out of it. This is "Handmade Pizza" from the hotel Dan Panaram. It comes with basically the works, tomato, olives, mushrooms, spinach, onions, and not necessarily my favorite, anchovies. I asked for the pizza to be vegetarian, but apparently there was a language barrier. So, in the spirit of not having it go to waste, I ate it. It wasn't as bad as I remember, but it was still pretty salty. Overall, it was a pretty good pizza, better than I expected. Enjoy.