Tag Archives: Israel

Zahav, a taste of modern Israel

israelWhen we are traveling, there is nothing we like more than checking out the top spots in all the towns we visit. We drove to New York this fall, and on the way we stopped in Philadelphia. And as we heard, the top place to go when in Philadelphia is Zahav (237 St James Pl, Philadelphia, PA). Zahav has gotten a lot of press recently for chef and co-owner Michael Solomonov’s innovative take on Israeli cuisine. It is notoriously hard  to get a reservation at Zahav, though if you are willing to eat at 5 pm (as we did at the last minute), you should have a little more luck.
Zahav

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A Giant Jelly Donut / Sufganiyot Cake for Hanukkah

israelHanukkah starts tomorrow – so it’s about time to start prepping some holiday treats. One Hanukkah treat we detailed in years’ past was sufganiyot, the Israeli jelly doughnut associated with Hanukkah. However this year we can do one better – how about a huge sufganiyot cake? Food 52 has an inspired recipe for the sweet Hanukkah treat that’s perfect for sharing with the whole family.

Sufganiyot cake by Food 52

Sufganiyot cake by Food 52

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Holiday Eats Around the World: Sufganiyot for Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah in America is often associated with latkes, however, an equally delicious treat is popular for Hanukkah in Israel – Sufganiyot – a type of a jelly doughnut. There has long been a tradition of associating fried foods with Hanukkah due to the importance of oil to the holiday, and Sufganiyot is a mash-up of North African and European traditions. Here is a recipe for Sufganiyot, with a classic jelly filling – though you might find them with any manner of exotic fruit or cream fillings. For another twist, try these Sufganiyot-inspired cupcakes.

Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot for Hanukkah- by Avital Pinnick

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Portugal: Joshua’s Shoarma Grill

Joshua’s Shoarma Grill
Vasco de Gama Mall ( Various Locations in Lisbon)
Lisbon, Portugal

We finally made it up to the Parque das Nações in the North-East of Lisbon, home to the city’s superb Oceanarium (we highly recommend it). When approaching the Parque das Nações from the metro you will encounter the super-modern Vasco de Gama mall, which was appropriately decked out for the holidays. At the top of Vasco de Gama is a food court, with tapas, stir-fry, a Brazilian kilo restaurant and some Portuguese chains, including  Joshua’s Shoarma Grill. We actually read about this restaurant in our copy of Cozinhas do Mundo em Portugal (“World Cuisines in Portugal”), and we figured it would be a good stop on our quest for Middle Eastern food in the heart of bacalhau country. Joshua’s Shoarma Grill is a basic fast-food endeavor, with a selection of beef and chicken shewarma, falafel and some Mediterranean-inspired salads.

For about 7 euros apiece we each ordered a combo platter with a small drink and fries. True to type, M got the chicken pita and L got the falafel pita (we are creatures of habit). The funny thing about foreign fast food is that small fries and drink really does mean small (maybe 8 oz) – as opposed to an American “small soda” that is really 24 ounces. Very interesting. L enjoyed the falafel, though you can tell that they were not perhaps freshly cooked. M though his sandwich was way too greasy, unfortunately. The fries were a little limp and sad. A redeeming grace was the garlic sauce. Like Ali Baba Kebab, one of our recent finds, Joshua’s is a good place for a quick Middle Eastern fix. Overall L liked the falafel at Joshua’s better, but M decided Ali Baba Kebab was a better pick for carnivores. If you are in the vicinity of the Parque das Nações, prices tend to be a little inflated, so Joshua’s is a great pick for bargain hunters.

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The cross-cultural Sabich

Cross-cultural food hybrids are some of our favorite eats – so we were very interested to learn about the Sabich in Saveur – an eggplant sandwich that is a product of cultural exchange between Israel and Iraq.

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Israeli Falafel in Paris: L’As Du Fallafel

L’As du Fallafel
34 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris

One of the few repeat destinations we visited on this small trip to Paris was L’As du Fallafel. We remember being impressed with the falafel four years ago, so we were excited when our friends that lived in Paris suggested we visit there again. As you might guess, the specialties at L’As du Fallafel are falafel, shewarma and the like. Approaching the restaurant you know it must be good, because even at an odd time like 3 PM – it was completely full, with a line for both take-out and restaurant service. One famous celebrity fan is Lenny Kravitz – a fact of which the owners are very proud – and there are photos and quotes of Lenny Kravitz plastered over nearly every wall and also on the outside of the restaurant. You can see evidence of the popularity below, a huge line to get in, even at 3PM (note also the Wikipedia article).

However, the line is not for nothing, L’As really delivers. The specific type of falafel at L’As is Israeli, which happens to be one of our favorite types, and one we have tried extensively on all of our travels and back in Chicago. Each falafel sandwich (€7.50) came with grilled eggplant (delicious), cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, and was doused in tahini sauce. As you can see below – this was no paltry sandwich. Though we had to wait for over ½ hour to simply sit in the restaurant – our food came out lightening-quick. The falafel were fresh and perfectly spiced, and arrived piping hot. We can’t imagine how many falafel they turn out in a week – at least several thousand, we’d bet. The crispy fries were nothing to scoff at either and the chicken shewarma (€9.50) was freshly carved off of the spit. We think perhaps that L’As du Falafel has grown in popularity since we were there last- we do not remember nearly as big of a crowd – maybe it is all of the Lenny Kravitz fans swamping the place? If you are craving some good, relatively cheap falafel in Paris, this place is certainly your best bet.

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Israel: Mekupelet

Thank goodness for the internet. I recently was the recipient of an assortment of snack-sized Israeli chocolate bars, and none of them, and I mean none had any sort of roman letters. Since I don’t read any Hebrew, and I was curious as to what type of log-like confection I was eating, I turned to Google. All I typed into Google was “Israeli candy” “chocolate” and “log” – but somehow I still got directed to the right place! The candy I had was Mekupelet, a famous Israeli candy similar to the Cadbury Flake bar – milk chocolate specifically extruded in a flaky form to look like a log. Markos Kirsch attempted to compare the two, but they were pretty much running neck and neck, with no clear winner.

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