Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AroundTheWorld: Norway

It was hard to say "shalom" to Israel and my friends. But, on my flights to Bergen, Norway, I was giddy with excitement for the 16 days of adventure that were ahead of me with my great friend DWB. I couldn't believe we were actually going to Scandinavia!

In the months of research we had done for the trip, I became familiar with what typical Scandinavian cuisine entailed: a ton of fresh seafood, earthy/hearty things like mushrooms, berries, and potatoes, and some interesting wild game meats (Reindeer?! Not Rudolph!). Yes, there was a lot of those, but I think we were both very surprised to see so many international cuisines (Thai, Italian, and even Mexican)...and so many fast food chains.

We started off the trip in true Norwegian fashion - lunch from the fish market sitting next to the water.
Incredible fish & chips

Open-faced lobster sandwich

Since the sun doesn't set until 11pm, we quickly realized that locals didn't eat dinner until at least 9 or 10pm. With so much daylight left, we decided to spend a few hours in a beer garden along the water at the historic port area in Bergen.

After wandering around looking at our options for dinner, we ended up at an Asian fusion restaurant of all places. Seemed pretty random, but turned out to be a great dinner with a waiter who was obsessed with Brooklyn and told us all about his vacation to NYC. Norwegians sure are friendly!

We rented a car and took a day trip exploring the incredible Norwegian fjords. We stopped for lunch while we waited for a car ferry in a tiny town called Kinsarvik for lunch. Check out that view!

Next, we were off to Oslo for a few days. Had some great food there as well, including dinner on the wharf. I could easily get used to dining waterside like this!

"Eat with a clear conscience." On this trip? No problem!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AroundTheWorld: Israel

I have been fortunate enough to visit Israel 4 times now, and each time I have had such incredible food. This most recent visit in May that kicked off my 23-day "AroundTheWorld" adventure certainly did not disappoint.

Here are a handful of the tasty highlights! B'teyavon (bon app├ętit)!

Abu Hassan in Yafo - Voted best hummus in Israel (and I agree!):
Hummus masabacha (hummus with chickpeas, paprika, and lemon tahini)
You may be wondering what those raw onions are doing on that plate. It's customary at Abu Hassan to dip the raw onion in hummus...I tried it, but stuck with the pita!

The best lunch combo on Dizengoff Street: falafel and Coke Light

Malabi - such a refreshing post-beach treat!
Milk pudding made with rose water and topped with sweet (and neon pink!) syrup

Vicky Cristina, gorgeous outdoor tapas bar in the old train station (Ha Tachana)

Mahane Yehuda Shuk in Jerusalem - Unbelieve produce in a country that is majority desert


Freshly baked borekas

Viennese Sachertort at the Austrian Hospice in Old City, Jerusalem

I could seriously make a meal out of the dips and spreads in Israel!

First time ever having mujadarra - so good (rice with lentils and carmelized onions)

Without exaggeration, hands down THE best rugelach EVER. If you've been to Marzipan Bakery, you know what I'm talking about!

Lunch with a view

Last meal in Israel - Shakshuka from Aroma Cafe at the TLV airport
Probably not the wisest choice after a night of drinking at a wedding and pulling an all-nighter for a 4am flight!

Although I am already missing Israel (and my friends there) so much, I am thrilled that an incredible, Israeli falafel place has opened half a block from my office. They even serve malabi - first time I've ever seen it in the US!! An authentic taste of the Holy Land definitely helps ease the pain. Until the next time...