Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hamentaschen for Purim

It's Purim and hamantaschen have started popping around town already for a few weeks. This year it seems the bakeries raised the bar on fillings, spanning from the traditional poppy seed to marzipan and indian-spiced dates. We found the real twist this year with these flavorful treats at Lehamim Bakerywhich together with a large variety of sweet fillings, also sells a choice of savory ones - beet, cheese and herbs or potato. Interestingly, these are also very tasty.

Happy Purim everyone!

Beets in your hamantaschen anyone?
Cheese and herbs

Lehamim Bakery
99 Hachashmona'im st.
tel 03 5618111

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tzadok Ben David, Outside the Museum

A late Wednesday morning we passed by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The line for the Tzadok Ben David exhibition extended through the whole square, confirming the great hype surrounding it the past few weeks. Not to say the installation isn't worth the wait, but it definitely shows the power of good PR. This is the first time we've seen a line like this in Tel Aviv.
The exhibition, by the way, closes tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hora, Bat-Sheva Dance Company

Last Saturday we went to see Hora, a Bat-Sheva Dance Company performance, and enjoyed all 60 minutes of it. The curtain opened to a stark stage surrounded by neon green washed walls, with only one long wooden bench. A beautiful setting for a moving performance. The choreography and dance execution were immaculate. Strong movements, some almost acrobatic, were delivered with strict accuracy, sensitive to space and time. All this was enhanced by the minimalist lighting design which changed the stage with every nuance.

Hora, by Ohad Naharin
Performed by the Bat-Sheva Dance Company

Photos from the Bat-Sheva website

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pink in Yaffo

Took a stroll through Yaffo (Ha'armon st.) and found this interesting architectural phenomenon. A flat and simple elevation with a laced wall -mashrabiya- creates an inner courtyard used for circulation. Cool, no?

Sachlab, a gooey delight

We topped our lunch with a quick desert break of malabi and sachlab at an unnamed stand on Jerusalem Blvd. Sachlab is the perfect dessert comfort food and a great winter treat. It's a porridge of milk, cornflour and sugar topped with cinnamon, coconut flakes and crushed pistachios.
94 Jerusalem Blvd., Yaffo

Lunch at Abu Al-Abed

This Saturday we did something we hadn't done in a very long time. We joined some friends for lunch at Abu Al-Abed in Yaffo for, what we truly believe to be, the best authentic Arab restaurant in Tel Aviv. This place embodies everything we like about family-run Middle Eastern joints. It has the same decor and ambiance (do-it-yourself kitsch architecture) and the same order-eat-and go method, but their menu is much more extensive. In addition to the regular hummus/pita/salads trio, you can get yourself acquainted with some local Jaffa specialties and wonderful choice of grilled skewers. Things we like to order here are: fried shrimp, kebabs, siniya (a baked ground meat and tehini dish), cauliflower with lemon and garlic and kubbeh . Their salads and hummus are also excellent. It's well worth the long wait outside on a Saturday afternoon.

Abu Al-Abed
92 Yefet st., Yaffo 
tel 03 681 4665

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yoezer Bar Ya'in (Yoezer Wine Bar), Tel Aviv

This weekend we did dinner at an old Tel Aviv establishment, Yoezer Bar Ya'in, an Alsatian (French-German) restaurant that serves mostly meat. The food tasted very good. The meat was of high quality and everything was hand-made (sausages and cured meat). We ordered a dinner for two consisting of a starter of cold cuts and a main dish of choucroute garni (sauerkraut with sausages, potatoes, and other salted meats). Both dishes were enormous and hard to conquer as they were cholesterol-charged. Luckily we ordered beer, which helped. We managed to finish half of our main course and took the rest to go. For dessert we had a small plate of marzipan, which was delicate and not too sweet.

We enjoyed the food. We really did, but we have some complaints (quelle surprise). First and foremost, they must update and balance the menu- the portions were waaaay too large and heavy and the plating unappealing- piled high sausages do not look good (this is not the middle ages). Secondly, they must renovate. Old establishments must raise the bar with time.

Yoezer Bar Ya'in
2 Yoezer Aish Habira St., Clock Tower, Jaffa
tel 03 6839115

Gordon Street Happening, Tel Aviv

On Fridays we often take walks around Tel Aviv, each time in a different neighborhood. This Friday we ventured south to Gordon street where a street happening -Shitut- was in full swing. We had some very good frozen yogurt at Tamara and then continued to some galleries which were politely speaking, not as good as the frozen stuff. About the galleries, in general they were an incoherent mish-mash of  mediocre art. These galleries have remained the same for years and continue to disappoint. The street performances, on the other hand, were a lot of fun. We like seeing neighborhood initiatives. Go Gordon!

96 Ben Yehuda and the corner of Gordon St.
tel 03 5234449

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Breakfast for Lunch, Hamitbachon, Jerusalem

Hamitbachon (The Kitchenette), is one of our favorite local Jerusalem hangouts and a known meeting point for the poor architecture students of the adjacent Bezalel Academy. Assaf serves up a simple, no nonsense menu of hummus, shakshuka, soup and sandwiches, made daily in a little shack on Narcis street.
Breakfast includes hummus (made by Assaf every morning), eggs the way you like them, israeli salad and 'cafe botz'.
A little shack on Narcis St. (off of Shmuel Hanagid), Jerusalem
Opening Hours: 12pm-12am

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Child Dreams, We went to the opera

We loved loved loved "The Child Dreams", an opera adaptation for a Hanoch Levin play by Gil Shohat. It's an expression of despair, escape and hope woven through a story of mother and son during WWII. The post-modern musical score, although newly written, was a bit dated for our taste. But, the performance of the orchestra and opera singers left us satisfied.
The visuals, by the Austrian-Irish artist Gottfried Helnwein, were a whole other story. They varied through the opera from the traditional to the hyper contemporary with elements of sci-fi.
Above all were the sophisticated dialogues which kept us glued to our seats with our eyes wide open (a rare occurrence for us as we often tend to dose off during less intriguing performances).
You can't go wrong with Hanoch Levin.

Photos taken from Gottfried Helnwein's website

"The Child Dreams" is an Israeli Opera production, performing at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Haircut!

Got a haircut at Yossi's. He's the best. We always let him do his thing... and are always happy with the results. More details at The Queen Likes.

Yossi Maman
234 Ben Yehuda St.
tel 03 5440191 / 03 5441737 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What They Ate... Messa, Tel Aviv

We made reservations three weeks in advance for a Friday dinner for a table of four. This was probably unessasary, but we had very high expectations from, what we had been told, was one of the best restaurants in the country.
It is not that we were disappointed. Messa is one of the best restaurants in the country. The food is superb, the design, decadent and the service, satisfying. We were, however, looking forward to something more intriguing, considering that this restaurant supposedly serves high-end dishes with a touch of molecular cooking methods.

For starters we had caramelized goose liver carpaccio with raw tehina, date honey and black sea salt flakes which was surprisingly excellent but also heavy and too large to conquer, a delicous dish of  vanilla flavored grilled shrimps on polenta and lightly scorched tuna sashimi on eggplant mouse. The starters were all very good, but were all sweet. This was a surprising choice for the begining of a meal.
We then recieved complimentry creamed onion soup in small metal shot glasses. It was refined and aromatic.

The main courses were seafood couscous, a generous portion of seafood in an excellent broth of crab, lemon and thyme with a portion of regular couscous on the side, a heavier dish of caramelized salmon over coconut risotto and eggplant cream, which again was excellent but sounded more interesting than it was, and a special of grilled makarel served with a nice and casual sweet asian dressing.
Our shared dessert on the other hand, esspresso cream with sugered almonds, was sadly unrefined, overly sweet and looked like a giant brown blob.

In conclusion: beautiful, tasty and well conducted, but could do more.... What can we's very hard to please the Royals.

Onion Soup
Vanilla Shrimps on Soft Polenta
Tuna Sashimi
Grilled Makarel
Seafood Couscous
19 Ha'arbaa St. Tel Aviv
tel 03 6856859