Monday, July 28, 2008

Everything But the Kitchen Sink - Israel Style!

And, I’m back! I have to start by apologizing to all my loyal readers for my extended absence. I have been out of town for about 4 of the last 5 weeks, and am finally getting back into the swing of things. Thanks for hanging in there. Definitely expect a lot more posts in the coming days/weeks…hopefully they will have been worth the wait!!

Now back to the good stuff…the food! I spent 2 ½ weeks in Israel, which were 2 ½ of the best weeks of my life. While I’m sure most of you don’t have a trip planned there in the near future, it wouldn’t be fair of me to deprive you of the great food experiences I had over there! Here’s a quick Israel dining recap:

Falafel and Hummus:
Falafel and hummus are to Israelis as pizza is to New Yorkers, cheesesteaks are to Philadelphians, and BBQ is to Southerners. In other words, calling it a staple doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Food establishments serving these two items can be found everywhere: in every neighborhood, at sit-down restaurants and at food stands, and even in mall food courts. Lucky for me, I LOVE falafel and hummus. A lot. I have them pretty frequently in NYC, but there is something about having the pair in Israel that makes them taste so much better. It reminds me of the Hebrew National hot dog slogan...it’s definitely because they “answer to a higher authority!”

Falafel served in a laffa instead of a pita at the mall:
Think fluffy burrito filled with falafel, hummus, eggplant, cucumber, and french fries (aka chips). Perfection!

It wasn't my favorite, but Abu Chassan is viewed as the best hummus in Tel Aviv/Jaffa:
Now, this was my absolute favorite of the entire trip:

Drooling yet?!

So, it may seem/look like all I ate for 2+ weeks was hummus and/or falafel. Well, it was close. I think I counted eating falafel 8 times. As for the hummus, I lost track. It was served at every meal I had except 3…including breakfast! But, I did have some other really good food while I was there. We had a great dinner at a sushi restaurant in Jerusalem called Gong. Can’t go wrong with delicious sushi served on wooden boats, endless sake bombs, and fantastic new friends.

We also went to a small chain called Burger Bar, which is very similar to a lot of burger concepts in NYC (Better Burger, goodburger, Five Guys, etc.). Of course, I didn’t have a burger, but they had fantastic chicken and veggie options, great fries and onion rings, and at least a dozen tasty sauces to go with the sandwiches.

I'm really sad that my 2008 foreign travels are over, but I have a feeling that dining out in NYC will help ease the pain. With all of the various cuisines, restaurants in this city can very easily turn a dinner out with friends into your very own world-traveling adventure!

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