Eating In Jerusalem With Dvir

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Eating In Jerusalem With Dvir

“Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer “Unknown

I am a foodie. Foodie is a cutesy word to describe the passion I feel when eating something wonderful. I particularly love the street food in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem.

The flavors are strong and the ingredients are the freshest.Eating on the streets of Jerusalem involves all your senses. You see, hear and smell the food being made.

Fate and the Internet connected me with Dvir Hollander as our guide in Jerusalem. It turned out that Dvir was also passionate about street food and knew exactly where to go and when. (hollander2000@gmail.com)

We met at lunchtime and we were hungry. When Dvir recognized that we were kindred spirits about food, he described himself as a “ friendly dictator” when it came to where we should eat. We walked through the New Gate and entered the Old City in the Christian Quarter. Immediately we were on the Via Dolorosa listening to the Muslim call to prayer. Our lunch was vegetarian at Lina restaurant. In Israel, the chick pea is clearly the most important legume and the main ingredient of hummus. Everyone has their favorite hummus place in Israel but to me, eating it in the old city is always the best. There is freshly baked pita. It smelled like it came right out of an oven nearby.

Everything we ate at Lina was amazing and we followed Dvir like sheep when it came to food from that point on.

We stop for some halvah near the seventh station of the cross. Halvah means sweet in Arabic. It is a tahini based candy made from sesame butter. I have to admit that I had grown up on packaged halvah and hated it. One trip to Turkey changed my mind about halvah and I loved this fresh one from Al-Amad with its dense, flaky texture and nutty sweetness.

We needed caffeine and Dvir took us to Abu Mussa in the textile market for some thick grainy sweet Turkish style coffee with cardamom. I forgot how much I love that coffee. The taste brings back the memories of being here for the first time with my college friends Susie and Kiki.

At Dvir’s recommendation we have dinner at Chakra. Chakra is a trendy seafood inspired restaurant with fresh-baked focaccia off King George street.

It is delicious. I was hoping to go to Machneyuda the celebrity chef restaurant in the Machane Yehuda Market but even the best concierge and tour guide can not get you in that week so make reservations before you go.

Our second eating day started at Jaffar Sweets for freshly made Knafeh. It is neon orange shreds of phyllo dough drenched in syrupy sugar rose-water and filled with gooey, salty. warm goat cheese.

Knafeh is a favorite at Ramadan and now also a favorite of mine. It’s a must eat in the old city.

I had a blood sugar drop so we stopped for quick, incredibly delicious lamb kabobs from A Shaab.

Kabob is taken seriously in the Arab Quarter and each restaurant has their family recipe for preparing it.

I was not leaving the old city for Yad Vashem and the Israeli Museum without falafel. Israelis feel as strongly about their falafel as they do about their politics. We get falafel and hummus from Abu Achmed. The falafel which is made of chick peas is right out of the fryer – hot and crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Of all the falafel I have eaten in Israel, these are the most special.

The hummus (because you need chick pea sauce to put on the chickpeas) is outstanding. It comes with a lemon tahini sauce that would be great with anything. The taste of the freshly baked pita bread makes everything even better.

We drink fresh pomegranate juice and more cardamom Turkish coffee from Haj Faraj. We relax for a few minutes and enjoy the coffee and his hospitality and more sight-seeing.

It’s clear that in a few days I have become addicted to roasted Arabic coffee with cardamom.The scent of coffee from the Sandouka  brothers shop is overwhelming. I buy some to take home.

The fragrant smell of spices wafts through the air as Dvir takes us to Sea of Herbs. Sea of Herbs is run by two Palestinian brothers Isaac and Jacob. They sell spices, herbal teas, health and wellness products and natural remedies. As we watch Jacob expertly mix the spices, we are brought into his world of remedies and flavors and buy many things to try at home.

Today’s lunch is at Arafat. Everyday this tiny restaurant serves up a surprise meal. It is a no choice, simple, delicious menu. When the lunch is ready, queues appear out nowhere. When they run out of food, lunch is over.Today’s meal was lamb meatballs in a tomato broth (kefta in Greek) vegetables, rice and hummus. It was filled with local people and in the know tourists.

Summers in Greece when I was young have made me a bit of baklava snob but I am alway hopeful. it is the world’s most famous middle Eastern/Mediterranean dessert. Many countries take credit for baklava. It is filo dough drenched in sugar syrup or honey. We stop at Alaseel Sweets for a bite of the delicious pastry on our way out of the old city.

There is much conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis. The links between food and peace are easy to see with people living in conflict areas. Traveling, eating fresh, local food in the Arab market and looking in the eyes of people who prepare the food makes you believe that human beings do have the capacity for peace. Thank you Dvir for including all this delicious food in our visit to Jerusalem.

Fly safe,
JAZ

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Things I Have Learned In Israel

Things I Have Learned In Israel

“Israel is slightly smaller than New Jersey. Moses in effect led the tribes of Israel out of the District of Columbia, parted Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, and wandered for forty years in Delaware.” P. J. O’Rourke

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world. It has the highest rate of entrepreneurship among women and people over 55 in the world.

Israelis love to surf.

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The first antivirus software for computers was created in Israel in 1979.

Eilat is a southern Israeli port and resort town on the Red Sea, near Jordan.

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Its beaches are noted for their calm waters, like Dolphin Reef. Eilat is known for snorkeling and diving.

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In regards to its population, Israel has the highest ratio of college degrees, museums and start-up companies.

Since 1951 all homes, residential buildings and industrial buildings in Israel are required to have bomb shelters. The shelters are the architecture of an existing threat and come in all shapes and sizes. You must enter a shelter as soon as you hear a siren.

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If you are in Israel the week of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashonah) everyone from the taxi driver to the salespeople and the pilot will wish you Shana Tova. It means good year. Israeli Arabs and Barack Obama will wish you Shana Tova.

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. Period. People can easily float in the Dead Sea due to its unusually high salt concentration. It’s almost impossible to dive into it.

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Motorola developed the cell phone in Israel.

Voicemail technology was developed in Israel.

Israeli banknotes have braille markings on them.

Rosh Hanikra or Hanikra (Hebrew: ראש הנקרה, Arabic: رأس الناقورة, Ras an-Nakura) is a geologic formation in Israel, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Western Galilee.

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It is on the northwest border of Israel and is a few meters  away from Lebanon.

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A white chalk cliff face opens up into spectacular grottos.

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The cable car down is one of the steepest in the world. I’m glad I did not know that before i went.

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Israel has two official languages: Hebrew and Arabic.

Israel published more books translated from other languages than any other nation in the world.

The food in Israel is a combination of North African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Eastern European. Foods you have to try include Falafel, Hummus, Schwarma, Shakshouka  and Labneh.

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Ice cream is everywhere and pistachio seems to be a favorite flavor.

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Israeli breakfast is one of the best things about Israel. It is usually served buffet style with an array of European, Israeli and Mediterranean dishes.

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It is the biggest breakfast buffet I have ever seen. There are fresh, seasonal, usually dairy, healthy and unhealthy choices.

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During the early days of Israel, it was common on the kibbutz  to have a light snack and work in the field and then have a large mid morning meal.

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In the nineteen fifties, the Israeli hotels decided to incorporate this tradition in a hotel stay. You can eat like you work on a kibbutz all day long without leaving the comfort of your hotel.

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Israel was the first country to ban underweight models.

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Stores , businesses and public transportation close in Israel from Friday afternoon till Saturday evening for the Sabbath.

Israel is one of two countries that started the twenty-first century with an increase in trees.

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The Sea of Galilee — located .212 km below sea level — is the lowest freshwater lake in the world (and the largest in Israel)

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-5-31-16-pmFly safe,

JAZ

Things People Like To Do In Tel Aviv, Israel With A Little Help From My Friends

Things People Like To Do In Tel Aviv With A Little Help from My Friends

“In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles” David Ben-Gurion

I like TA for the reasons I like any big city. I like to start at one end and just walk around and walk and get lost and learn a new neighborhood with each turn. TA is as varied as they come. And last time I was there, I got introduced to NAMAL, the sports center which now house restaurants and pubs,tons of music each and overnight of the week and has enough for little kids to do as well. They host an oneg shabbat apparently that gets thousands of people each Friday night. And you can spend time there, walk down the beach, through the gay area, down past the fancy hotels, where you might find Israeli Dancing and then keep on walking through ice cream spots for tourists and down right into Jaffa. A mass of odd delights and history. MA

Go to this gallery:  http://www.alonsegev.com/
Stay at the Hotel Diagalev if you can. Go to a concert or ballet at the big performing arts center. IT”S AMAZING THERE. SH

Shopping in Neve Tzedek.  Cute trendy stores.  I bought great sandals there.
Also there are fabulous museums.  The Palmach Museum is interactive.  Don’t know how far it is from Tel Aviv. JL

Though Tel Aviv has a number of attractions, sitting in an outdoor restaurant at the seaside eating fresh fish is one favorite. Also going to the flea markets and seeing what treasures I can find. HM

Falafel falafel falafel oh and hummus. it never tastes the same anywhere else. JZ

Tel Aviv is the most special city! I did a Bauhaus walking tour. I think it started from the Bauhaus center/bookstore/museum on Dizengoff Street. I also liked walking around Jaffa and visiting the different markets. Of course, the beach.RA

The Hacarmel market is a large lively market selling fresh produce, fish, meat, cheese, flowers and souvenirs. It gets very crowded with locals and tourists so go early.Its fun to pick up food and head over to Hayarkon Park for a picnic lunch. GP

I loved going to HaTachanah, the Ottoman Train Station. It is a delightful place to spend a day. I loved walking on the promenade at the beach at sunset/twilight.There are very cool restaurants like Hazaken v’Hayam for a great lunch (dinner, too, but we loved lunch there). Messa and Deca are both very hip and very cool spots! LOB

Tel Aviv has amazing beaches. There are more relaxed local beaches to the South and fancier beaches near the five-star hotels. SL

I love old Jaffa. There are artist’s workshops gardens,
restaurants, cool stores and flea markets. Tel Aviv is one of the best party cities in the world. There are so many clubs, bars and restaurants to try. EC

Fly safe,

JAZ

Last Ten Things I Googled

Last Ten Things I Googled

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” Neil Gaiman

Weather in Petra, Jordan.

What is apple cider vinegar good for?

How are the teams shaping up on the Voice?

Did the brother kill JonBenet Ramsey?

Best things to buy in Portugal.

Are there Starbucks in Jordan, Israel and Portugal? (for my collection not for the coffee)

Guy who asked me out in Lisbon.

Best stain removers.

How much water has to leak before you have mold?

Fernando Pessoa quotes.

Best falafel in Tel Aviv

and that was just this morning.

Fly safe,
JAZ

First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit A Country

First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit a Country

“Like I said before. Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”Anthony Bourdain

 Japan Sushi at Tsukiji Market, any dessert made with yuzu or green tea.

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 Turkey Pide, fresh pomegranate juice, anything with eggplant, and any dessert made with semolina.

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 Croatia Fresh tuna and bean salad, grilled calamari and swiss chard.

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Cambodia Fresh coconut water and amok (I loved Cambodian food).

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 Greece Avgolemono soup, baklava and Greek salad (feta, tomatoes and olive oil don’t taste the same anywhere else).

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 Italy Pizza, pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil.  (My dream is to go to Sicily and eat pizza).

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South Africa Biltong (Im not even a meateater and I love it).

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Israel  Falafel and Hummus.

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Colombia Guanabana juice and Arepa con Quisito.

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Spain Churros, hot chocolate and real gazpacho.

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 Panama Sancocho soup.

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Netherlands Pofferjes and poached egg on brioche with smoked salmon, (first time that I have had that).

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Brazil Tacaca with shrimp and fresh acai ( not the watered down sugary stuff we get here) in the Amazon.

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 Thailand Thai iced coffee.

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 Peru Ceviche with giant corn.

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Argentina Alfajores from Havanna.

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Mexico Tacos, guacamole, mole or really anything in Oaxaca. (except not a fan of the crickets every day)

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USA When I come home I want a turkey burger from Golden State in LA.

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Fly safe,
JAZ