Saturday, December 26, 2009

What They Wore... Red and White, Basel St. Tel Aviv

Some more of the park

Took a walk.

This morning we donned our sneakers and took a walk through Yarkon park. It's been ages since we came here and we breathed some much needed fresh air. The further west you go, the
more remote it gets. Next time we'll bring the picnic basket.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Issawiya, A Jerusalem View from Mt. Scopus

Hafatzim, Tel Aviv

We bought some new wine glasses at the old timer Hafatzim store in Neve Tzedek. The furniture prices at this place might be a bit over the top, but the occasional sale on houseware is well worth a peek.

Hafatzim, 27 Shelush St., Tel Aviv tel 03 517 8744
Also on 13 Ben Shetach St. Jerusalem tel
02 623 3240

What you can get for 9.99?

We went to our neighborhood supermarket for the first time and found some intriguing phenomena:

Chulent in a can.

Ina and a mango.

We might need to find a new supermarket.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What They Ate... Toto, Tel Aviv

Another Friday night dinner out with A&L (G tagged along), we decided to try another TLV establishment. As you already know it's hard to please us. Toto did, with wonderful local twists on Italian dishes.

We tried some exciting starters. Grilled eggplant with black tahini, anchovies with yogurt and black lentils and roast beef over egg salad. They were all delicious with quality ingredients.
The mains were equally satisfying. The seared sea bream over yogurt and olive tapenade was delicate and the sauces complemented the fish well. But without a doubt, the most successful dish ordered was the onglet with caramelized carrots and onions which had a deep strong flavor and will not be forgotten.


Roast beef

Sea bream

Our creme brule with whiskey sorbet.

Toto, 4 Berkovitz St. tel: 03 693 5151

What They Ate... Cafe Batia, Tel Aviv

This excellent Jewish European restaurant has been around for the past 68 years, but we went there yesterday for the first time. When was the last time YOU ordered gefilte fish and borsht without grandma? The food there is what you know from Savta's kitchen, but much much better. They also have a Saturday chulent special (and takeout) for those who need their fix.

The menu on paper

Clear chicken noodle soup with cold borsht

Kidney beans and tomato soup

Cafe Batia, 197 Dizingof St. tel: 03 522 1335

New Buildings, Tel Aviv

Let's be honest, Tel Aviv is not a city filled with architectural wonders, but every once in a while we find a design that is a bit more relevant. The new building of Asuta Hospital in Ramat Hachail by a local architect we've never heard of, Marcelo Brestovisky, stands out as modern chic. We haven't yet to venture inside but the complete structure looks intriguing. There's a boutique hotel across the street for those tourists seeking a cheaper nose job.

Asuta Hospital, 20 Habarzel St. Ramat-Ha'chail

Another find is this luxury high-rise under construction, Rothchild 1. It's the usual with "the spirit of urban luxury" (a direct quote from their website) and such, but surprisingly it fits in to it's surroundings (Neve Tzedek/Rothchild Blvd) and the base has a nice white hue. We like.

The Flea Market, Jaffa

Our search for new furniture led us to the flea market in Jaffa. We were surprised by the relatively high quality fun pieces and fair prices. BTW some great stuff can be found on the roofs of some of these stores, so don't hesitate to climb the stairs. We will post some of our finds once they find their place in our new home.

What They Ate... Beta Caffe, Ramat Aviv

While waiting for our new stove to arrive, L was kind enough to take us out to lunch at her favorite local cafe. "I'm gonna order the Beta salad" she said grinning (she always does). As the waiter sat us down at a cozy side table L got a bit more risky: "I want the fish". So she ordered both and we got a chance to share it.

The Beta salad is a fun twist on the famous Israeli salad. The simple mix of chopped cucumber, tomato, red pepper and red onion is combined with al dente rice and black lentils. It's tossed with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice and an extra lemony tehini dressing is served on the side. It's fresh, simple and excellent.

The grilled sea bream on baked butternut squash sprinkled with coconut flakes was served over black lentils and topped with red basil. It was also very well prepared.

Beta cafe is located 10 minutes walk from the University at the old commercial center of Ramat Aviv and is a quiet comfy place to sit over a cup of coffee with lunch or dinner (with extra room for your laptop or dog).

L was very satisfied, and so were we.

Beta Salad

Grilled sea bream on baked butternut squash

Beta Caffe
Brodetsky 17, Ramat Aviv tel: 03 641 2285

More on where to eat and what to do in Tel Aviv!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Are Moving

We are knee-deep in half open boxes and bubble wrap. Promise to post soon after we settle in.

The jewelry is out!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bird Migration, Zichron Yaakov

We went to visit the family up north for a day and noticed flocks of storks and pelicans swirling above our heads. We continued to watch them all day as they migrated south. These birds are seen over this area from August through mid-December so go visit before they move on.

What They Ate... Rokah 73

Following good reviews, we went out Friday night to dinner with A&L at Rokah 73, a seafood restaurant on the tennis courts in front of the Yarkon park.

We had reservations for a table on the "patio" which turned out to be flooded with green light and cheap furniture. This never works well with food or faces. We felt like we were attending a very distant cousin's tacky wedding (the crowd in particular completed this picture).

We followed the recommendations of the aggressive waitress and ordered some of the restaurant's specialties. The "renown" crab bisque with brandy was reminiscent of a cream sauce served usually over steak. It was heavy, creamy, the portion too large and generally unrefined. The following dishes were also quite disappointing. Rena's bouillabaisse was a giant serving of mild and boring broth, but with a generous amount of good quality seafood, the mussels in particular were done well. Tom's sea bream drowned in yogurt, zaatar and pine-nuts had a floury texture and was overly sour. The meal was topped of with a bland tiramisu with the restaurant's name stenciled in cocoa powder. Were they joking?

All in all we think it's about the context. A lunch on a weekday might have been the way to go. But for a pricey Friday dinner this was unacceptable. We will not be coming back.

The menu.

Heavy crab bisque.

Where's the fish?

The giant bouillabaisse.

73 and tiramisu.

Rokah 73, 73 Sderot Rokah, Tel Aviv tel: 03 744 8844

A New Haircut

Got a new haircut. Then found these expired photos taped to a shop window. Retro-active inspiration?

Photo by Yaniv Lenman

Random Cafes, Tel Aviv

An apartment hunt is never complete without the many coffee breaks along the way. Lucky for us the city is absolutely crammed (and overflowing...) with cafes. An old favorite in our former neighborhood, Neve Tzedek, is Dallal which serves one of the best coffees around. The fresh cakes, pastries and breads are baked on the spot in the attached beautiful kitchen. Even though the menu has changed a bit in the last year to accompany a more popular taste (they now sell chocolate rogalach and simpler eclairs) the result is still excellent.

Mind you, do NOT confuse the bakery with their sister restaurant next door. The last time we ate there the food was disastrous and the decor, unacceptable.

Yummy pastries at Dallal.

Dallal. 7 Kol Yisrael Haverim, Tel Aviv tel: 03 510 9292

Cafe Yoel is another corner cafe where we stopped for a quick caffeine fix. It's a relatively new place that serves the usual coffee, sandwiches, breakfast and baked pastries. In addition, they have a cute selection of imported meditteranian deli products. Their coffee was ok and we didn't try the food, but the location on Albert Square across the Pagoda house is charming. It's a good option if you're in the area.

Cafe Yoel. 1 Meltchet, Tel Aviv tel: 03 620 4545

The Old Municipal Building, Bialik Square

In our wanderings around Tel Aviv we happened to stumble upon the Old Municipal Building and its new extension. We were pleaseantly surprised. If this was Switzerland we wouldn't look twice. But this is Tel Aviv, where Unesco conservation policy reigns and pastel plaster are considered "uber contemporary". So 1992?
The building is destined to house the Museum of the History of Tel Aviv - Yafo, and is schedualed to open in 10 days. We haven't been inside, but a quick peek through a window revealed some potentially interesting exhibits.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009