Saturday, May 17, 2014

My (is)Raeli Good Breakfast

What I've realized my last week abroad is that any food I can get in America (i.e., sushi, thai food, Chinese food, Italian food, etc) I can wait to eat until I get back to America. Any food that is strictly Israeli-style or Mediterranean, I will eat my last week abroad in Israel. This morning, I was able to cross off a cafe on my list of recommended places to eat, called NOLA: American Bakery. Now, I know this is quite ironic seeing as I just said earlier that I'm not eating American food until I go back to the US of A, but this is an Israeli version of American food restaurant, and I can assure you my meal was anything but American.
One of the things most people look forward to when they come to Israel is the Israeli Breakfast. Unfortunately during my time abroad, I haven't had all the opportunities to eat an Israeli Breakfast but today after my morning, I realized it was worth the wait. Usually at some restaurants I have trouble trying to figure out what to order - but at NOLA, everything looked appealing and I had no issue picking my meal - the Healthy Breakfast. The best part of this breakfast was that it came with a cold drink, a freshly squeezed juice perhaps...which is exactly what I ordered. One Healthy Breakfast with a chopped vegetable salad of colorful ingredients like cucumbers, red and yellow peppers, red onion and red cabbage, a side of bulgur wheat grains drizzled in a lemony-vinagrette with parsley, some chunks of feta cheese, a thin egg-white omelette and two slices of toasted whole-grain bread. And for my juice? A freshly-squeezed orange and carrot juice mixture. My juice came out in a small mason jar, the bright orange color was vibrant and glistened in the sun. The jar was so cute and the juice fizzed at the top from the citrus.
I really love carrot juice and the tanginess of the orange mixed with the sweetness of the carrot, such an unreal mix of flavors, I never even knew the two would go together - but they definitely do, and that's my new usual. As for my meal, well that was a different but seriously amazing story. The plate looked almost too good to eat - but that wasn't going to stop me. The omelette was airy and fluffy and served as the perfect starter palette as it allowed me to spread some creamy feta cheese on top and eat it along with my crunchy salad and soft bulgur wheat. One of my favorite foods is salad, and the best part of the breakfasts in Israel are the salads they give you on the side. Well really, that's the best part of any meal in Israel. The ingredients were so fresh and tasty and seasoned perfectly. I got just the right amount of flavor in every bite. Hopefully I'll be able to find or re-create my Israeli Breakfast in America, but if not, NOLA I'll be back for you.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Meating Place

Sometimes I joke that one day I'll be a vegetarian, I even once told my mom that I was going to try to be one - except on the days when I wanted chicken, turkey and even on occasion brisket. Simply put, vegetarianism is not for me...because I like poultry and I like meat. I also like tofu and seitan but that's another story. For this post lets focus on the meat side of the relationship. One of the best things about living in Israel is the availability of kosher meats; I don't keep kosher, but I prefer kosher meats because they taste better. Last week, a couple friends and I went out to celebrate one of their birthdays and her food of choice? Meat. Meat. And more meat. So we decided on רק בשר which means, "Only Meat". The restaurant, located in Jaffa, is unlike any place I've ever been to. As we walked into the restaurant we were greeted with complimentary tasting glasses of red wine (check 1), and the decor was beautiful (check 2). The walls were made of tan gravel rock, it looked like we were eating in a cave which made the restaurant that much more interesting and appealing.
As a food blogger and foodie, I did a little research before hand on the best things to order - with the help of an article on the Jerusalem Post, we started with the roasted eggplant appetizer which came out covered in a tehina and tomato salsa with a Balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. The mixture of smokiness from the eggplant with the juiciness of the fresh salsa, the tangy vinegar, and the creaminess of the tehina was a flavorful sensation in my mouth - the appetizer was amazing.
Already very impressed by the appetizer, I was excited for the next part of the meal...the MEAT! The way this restaurant works is each table goes up to the "meat bar" to choose their desired pieces and cuts of meat - I chose a garlic and parsley marinated slice of chicken, a small circular piece of a lamb kebob mixed with cilantro, salt, pepper and garlic and a vegetable skewer. The meat came out on a portable grill (check 3), sizzling with steam and bursting with color. My chicken was cooked to perfection, with bits of crunchy parsley. I didn't want it to end, each bite was better than the next. The lamb kebob was equally as tasty, the salt was balanced out by the spicy black pepper and I even got some pieces of raw garlic too, which I love. Plus the addition of my vegetable skewer was anything I could ever want, and yet so much more. One of my favorite parts about grilling food is the vegetables - grilled vegetables (okay, really grilled anything) are the bomb (.com) . Mixing pieces of pepper, onion and tomato with my meats made this meal twice as good.
I think it's important to eat all the colors of the rainbow in your meals - it makes the experience so much more fun. As I write this post, my mouth is watering and my stomach is grumbling...this was a meatrageous restaurant with outrageous flavors. Go meat, ya'll.