The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Culinary Israel

March 6, 2013 , , ,

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Written by Pitasushi

When people think of culinary destinations they think of Paris, New York, Shanghai, but they definitely don’t think Tel Aviv.  After a 10 day culinary tour exploring the food of Israel from bottom to top, I can say with confidence that Israel knows what delicious is.  Oh, and by the way, the food in Paris kind of sucks.

Within hours of landing from the 10 hour flight I was plopped in the middle of Mahane Yehuda Market  in Jerusalem.  Lingering plane hunger lead me to go insane buying stuffed grape leaves, dried dates, a bag of paprika, pistachio halvah, persimmons, and filo pastries in record speed.  The realization that I had 9 more days to travel and a bag of stinky spices was definitely memorable.

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Three days and countless foodie snacks later we were waking up at 6:30AM to drive to a Druze village.  It was a pretty sexy experience to watch this woman make steaming fresh whole wheat crepes and slather them with labneh (soft cheese) and za’atar.   Our second breakfast was served with some homemade olives and coffee spiced with cardamom.  I miss second breakfast…

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Day 6 and countless bus hours later we were at our desert farm, Shvil Hasalat or Salad Path to see (eat) tons of fresh produce.  It was made apparent by this time in the trip that Jews can figure out how to move water anywhere, anytime so a farm oasis was not a huge surprise.  What was a surprise was how amazing the cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries were in the middle of winter.  Negev desert territory means summer whenever you want it.  One of the top things I miss about Israel…

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The last place the tour brought us on day 9 was Tel Aviv and Jaffa.  The sun was shining, the Mediterranean was blue, and the food was plentiful.  After a stop for the BEST HUMMUS IN THE WORLD at some magic green awning-ed restaurant, we headed for a “demonstration at Mizlala”.

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The demonstration quickly turned into plats after plate after plate of food coming out for us.  The food was incredibly decadent and included charcoal roasted eggplant paste, tempura fried soft boiled eggs on fresh corn polenta, and peanut butter ice cream sandwiches in chocolate mousse.  It ended with a complex dessert which involved liquid nitrogen from the chef Meir Adoni’s other restaurant Catit

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Five hours later I was starting a 7 course gastronomic tasting menu at Catit.  I mean, how often am I in Tel Aviv? The menu included things like langoustine broth trapped in a fried ball, a jelly tent over my fish course, and so many things in the dessert the waitress almost passed out describing it.

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Eating all of the above plus countless pastries and second breakfasts, I only gained a pound from this trip.  Everything was so fresh and vegetable packed that even when I was being bad, I had made up for it by being good.  Salad for breakfast is an Israeli concept but definitely something I can see myself embracing, especially if it means I can pig out otherwise.

Israel really exceeded my expectations especially when it came to food.  Of course there’s politics and history and lots more I learned on this trip, but let’s be honest this blog is for food.  In the end it’s sad to be home and back at work, but at least I have fond memories and a really stinky spice cabinet to remind me of my trip.

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comments

Ah, great post! Takes me back. I’ve missed that hummus so much since, there’s nothing like it here…

I’d eat that hummus every day if I could…

pitasushi

March 8, 2013

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