Countries I Have Been to With The Best Food So Far

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Countries I Have Been To With The Best Food So Far

“I was at this restaurant. The sign said “Breakfast Anytime.”So I ordered French toast n the Renaissance.” Steven Wright

My food experience when I am traveling totally impacts the experience I have  in the country. Sometimes I make trip destinations  based on food. Other times, it is a complete surprise how much I love the food. Here are my favorite countries for food so far.

Japan applies the same precision to their food as they do to their engineering. You can get a lavish multicourse kaiseki meal that presents the seasons in a spread of visual and culinary poetry..

I dream of the sushi bars in Tsukiji market and the tofu restaurants where everything is made from tofu.  You can eat something random in a train station or risk your life and try Fugu (poisonous blowfish – delicious). I love yuzu and green tea desserts. Cold soba noodles is my go to Japanese lunch. 

It is impossible to eat badly in Japan.  This country is officially one of the best culinary destinations in the world. 

Spain has long been characterized by eat, drink, sleep, work a little bit, eat, drink, sleep. They munch on snacks throughout the day (tapas, pinxtos) with intervals of big meals. The food is different from the Mediterranean sea to the Pyrenees. 

Paella, churros and chocolate, gazpacho and anything from the Basque region (pinxto bars to Michelin starred restaurants)  show how much the Spanish love good food.It ranges from the Medieval Jamon Iberica  to the insane molecular gastronomy of Feran Adria and his followers.

The food is timeless and modern.

It’s impossible to write a short list of Turkish food. It is a combination of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine and any other conquering nations. It was a big surprise to me that Turkey turned out to be one of my favorite countries to eat in. Turkish food is about the freshest ingredients and technique. There are meze – small dishes that start the meal based on seasons and locale.

Some of my favorite foods are pide (boat shaped flatbread with fillings), pastirma (ancestor of pastrami), borek (small filled pastries),kabob, hummus, eggplant cooked many different ways, any dessert made from semolina, fresh halvah, pomegranate juice, fish cooked with olive oil and lemon, simit (Turkish bagels), ayram (drink made with yogurt ice and salt), fresh cheese ( beyaz peynir) and honey, kofta (meatballs), (mincemeat pizza) and just about anything  I have eaten in Turkey

I’m not even a huge fan of lamb but in Turkey it is delicious.

 The food in Israel is reason enough to visit the country. Israel is a young country, but its food goes back thousands of years. The cuisine is a melting pot of North Africa, Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and its Middle Eastern neighbors.

It is healthy and delicious. There is freshly made hummus with hot pita bread, falafel (made from fava beans or chick peas), tahini, schwarma, kebob, shakshouka, salads, and labneh,(yogurt cheese.)

The food tastes so much fresher than anything that I’ve eaten at home.  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.- They are the biggest breakfast buffets I have ever seen.

This is the country that gave us pizza and cappuccino. Italy’s simple comfort food  has become the food of every country. Each region has specialties that they are very proud of. The best pizza is found in Naples and Spaghetti Bolognese does come from Bologna.  Parma ham and Parmesan cheese come from Parma. Olive oil is the only real Italian condiment.Wine and coffee vie for being the national drink. Freshness of Ingredients is very important to the Italians.. Dining in Italy is always a delight for your taste buds. 

 Olive Oil is the most Greek of all the Greek food.  A Greek salad is very simple with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olives. It will never taste the same  way here. I have it every day in Greece and it is always amazing. Greeks do it better. There are many high quality ingredients to choose from in Greece that we don’t seem to be able to recreate here. I have spent a few summers here and figs, honey, olives, lamb, seafood, fava beans, tiropita (cheese pastry), tzatziki  (yogurt dip) Avgolemono soup  (lemon chicken soup) and baklava are always delicious. 

I love seafood and except for Iceland, no one in Europe eats more of it, than the people of Portugal. If you love tuna and sea bass, this is the place. The national dish is bacalhau – dried, salted cod. The Portuguese have been obsessed with it since the early 16th century.  Sardines, mackerel, lobsters, shrimp, oysters and crabs are plentiful. The ‘arroz de marisco” is a delicious seafood rice.

Other national dishes are “cozido à portuguesa,” a thick stew of vegetables with various kinds of meat, “leitão assado” Roast suckling pig and tripe with beans. young Portuguese chefs are making a name for themselves with their more modern approach to the classics.  Pasteis de nata is my favorite dessert – Small custard tarts with cinnamon are found all over Portugal The most original recipe comes from Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon a pastelaria that dates back to 1837. I was lucky enough to go there.

Portuguese cheeses are delicious and should be more well-known and for a small country, they  produce a number of varieties of very good wine. 

Mexico is a go to country for delicious cuisine. There are  moles, tacos, tamales, enchiladas, guacamole, tostadas, flan and Mexican chocolate.

Lime and salt go with everything. 

You will not get bored with the food in this country. It is a fiesta in your mouth. 

Cambodian food is delicious and often overlooked but should not be. Insects are always on the menu in Cambodia. Beef with red tree ants should not be missed.

Tarantula and deep-fried scorpion are not my thing but you see a lot of people eating them. 

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk, Khmer  spices, turmeric, garlic and ginger,

It is served in a banana leaf and is my favorite lunch with fresh coconut juice served in the coconut.

Khmer beef salad, Khmer noodles,  Khmer curry, fried crab and grilled squid are a must try in Cambodia. There is always rice. Try the pork and rice which is only served for breakfast. 

Street food is the attraction in Thailand. The complex  combination of spices and flavors  can  make your favorite dish be spicy, sour, salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy and slippery. With influences from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, ,Myanmar and a royal culinary tradition, Thai cuisine is the best of many worlds.. Thai coffee with condensed milk and mango with sticky  rice is my favorite dessert. The various curries, soups,  noodle dishes, rice and salads encompass the unique flavors of Thailand.

The food in Viet Nam is insanely good.Traditional Vietnamese food is all about the balance of fresh ingredients, intense flavors, and ease of cooking and preparation.

.Many of the dishes have  a rich history and represent a regional specialty.

The most famous street food is pho which is a bit different in the North and South.  It is rice noodles and slices of beef cooked in   a beef bone broth with complex flavors. It is the most popular food for breakfast and lunch.

Banh Mi is my favorite street food. This sandwich can also be traced back to the French colonial period, even through the roots of the name; Banh is pronounced similarly to the French word for bread, pain.Today the typical Vietnamese banh mi consists of mayonnaise, pate, sliced ham and pork, pickled vegetables, coriander, and hot sauce.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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My Favorite LA Breakfasts

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My Favorite LA Breakfasts

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

The good news is we have finally gotten the message that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The bad news is many of us eat it on the go. Millennials are fully engaged with breakfast. Me too. It is my favorite meal of the day to eat out. More and more restaurants are serving all-day breakfast. I think we are living in a breakfast boom. I don’t know why but I like spending money on food that I actually know how to cook at home. Here are some of my usual places in no particular order.

The food at Gjusta is delicious but it is also a complete Venice scene. If you live in the neighborhood (as I now do), you know to show up right before lunch or after two and to avoid weekends.

You take a number and wait on line behind some hipster or famous actor. Seeing the fresh smoked fish in the case always gets to me. It is pretentious but worth it. https://gjusta.com

I like sitting outside on the back patio of the Rose Cafe in Venice for breakfast. It is both inviting and trendy. I went with the Neroni style eggs this time and was not disappointed. They don’t take reservations for brunch on the weekend and lines are long so plan your day accordingly. The later you go, the more scooters you will trip over at the entrance. https://rosecafevenice.com

Republique lives up to the hype. The old Campanile restaurant space is still beautiful. It is the place most likely to spot that actor that was in that thing – what’s his name again?

I come for the shakshouka which is of North African origin. Shakshouka is popular in the Middle East and is becoming a national dish in Israel. I’ve had it there often. It is showing up in hip restaurants all over the United States. Shakshouka is a one-pan dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. https://republiquela.com

Nate N Als has a long history in Beverly Hills and is supposedly sold. It has been around since 1943 and is a local landmark. The unglamorous delicatessen is filled with locals, tourists and celebrities. It was at Nate N Als where one of the waitresses who had been there forever tied a bagel around my baby’s neck. She told me to put them in the freezer for teething. It was a big help. The food is surprisingly good and I am a fan of the potato pancakes, chicken soup, hot dogs and lox. https://natenal.com

I love all things Melrose and West Third Street.  My kids went to school here for many years. I enjoy breakfast at Toast any time of day. They have all my favorite breakfast foods and cook their eggs in butter – no matter what you ask for. I add turkey bacon, avocado and fruit which is my usual breakfast. It is always crowded and fun and I like sitting both inside and outside with my dog. http://www.toastbakerycafe.net

It is believed that Eggslut has the perfect breakfast sandwich – brioche, cheese, salty meat and an egg. It is simple and beautifully prepared. This sandwich has been the most instagrammed sandwich for a few years.

My favorite thing is a cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar served with slices of baguette. It is the best comfort food. http://www.eggslut.com

Farmshop is a very Brentwood restaurant which is better for breakfast than dinner. It is located in the Brentwood Country Market and is part take-out food and pastries. They are known for especially delicious french toast and shirred eggs.

You are probably sitting next to a celebrity with school-age children if you are there on Sunday. http://farmshopca.com

New York Bagel in Brentwood is a neighborhood place. It is dog-friendly and when I got my first dog Basquiat, we came here often. The bagels are crunchy and chewy and don’t need to be toasted. Their pumpernickel raisin bagel is my favorite and tastes of New York.

The servers are friendly and your dog’s water bowl is never empty.

When my daughter was two we used to take my son to school and then go out for breakfast. She was an à la carte orderer. The breakfast specials did not work for her. Her favorite breakfast was one pancake with a side of bacon and fresh fruit.  Walter’s in Beverly Hills, would do that for her in a reasonably cost-effective way and so we mostly ate there. They moved several years ago and I did not start going again until recently.

Some of the same people still work there. It’s totally old school with some healthy options. They refill your coffee cup. The ketchup comes on the table with the eggs. You don’t have to feel embarrassed to ask for it.  Eating breakfast there, I become oblivious to the passing of time.http://www.walters2go.com

Special thanks to my breakfast buddies – Nancy, Chris, Cindra, Elaine, Mary Jane, Neile, Banksy and Ellen.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

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