Sunday, December 25, 2016

Israel 2016 Highlights: Food

Israel 2016 Travel Highlight Blog
July 22 - August 1, 2016
Blog #1: Food

Welcome to another "highlight" blog! Like my previous London 2016 blog, I figured since we also went to Israel in both 2015 and 2016 (like London), it seemed like it make more sense to consolidate the trip blog into a few "highlight reels" of different themes rather than writing a daily experience blog like usual.

Here's the first one, and as always, it's all about the food.

Upon arrival, we were treated to some suuuuper fresh dates, these great "breakfast borekas" (including this one with egg and pickle in it) and, of course, the magnificient daily products in Israel -- the 5% (and 9%!) cottage cheese, labne, etc. A new thing this time were these tiny bagels called "Abadi" -- they were kindof like a bagel version of a South African rusk. Not quite a cracker, basically just a small crunchy bagel! Very good.




Next up, a Jewish candy store. Laughed so hard that they had gummy Star of Davids!!! So awesome.





Awesome!!!!!!!!! We picked these up for Roey's bar-mitzvah, which was later in the week.

Nice homemade breakfasts, lunches, and dinners abound in Israel, and we had (and made!) some fabulously tasty stuff.




We got some AMAZING cheese from a great french shop called Basher Fromagerie in Ra'nannah
This truffled butter was INSANE GOOD
Very nice cheese that was "like a Gruyere" -- also very tasty. We bought a LOT from that shop :)
The real specaility from Basher was their homemade bread. This was chewy and light but also had some major oomph to it. How they made it spongy but also chewy.... wow. It went, as they suggested, perfectly with the truffled butter. We went back the next day to get more of this epic bread.
Rani showed me how to make this Shakshuka.


I made my "famous" potatoes. But at first I asked for "Kosher Salt". The kids thought that was hilarious, as it's quite obviously an American Jewish thing (from salting pastrami, presumably). They said, "Isn't ALL salt Kosher"?!? haha. I explained I was looking for "large grain" salt. "Ahh... yes...", they nodded, "you mean, 'Dead Sea Salt'"!

Rani cutting the hotdogs in the funny "Yossi"-style
Baby, it's hot outside in the summertime, so "glida" is a must.






Roey's Bar-Mitzvah was during this trip, so we enjoyed lots of celebration, good times, and lots of healthy good food during this as well. Plus dessert, obviously.







On one of our excursions, we went up to a Goat Farm in the northern part of Israel on our way to a hiking trip. Here we had 14 (I think!) different kinds of goat cheese and it was all insanely incredible, super fresh, tasty, flavoursome... just crazy. This place also made their own yoghurt, olive oil, etc. This was SUCH a fun experience, and food was stellar.







Mmm... that was was so good :)

On our way back from that excursion, we went out for a great steak and some Israeli craft beer.


Breakfast pastries are often savory in Israel, but we managed to seek out both sweet and savory :) Also, found some great lychees at the shop and at the markets.





Nothing like an Icearoma on a hot day!
We didn't get a chance to go to the waterfront Tel Aviv market the last time we visited, so I was suuuuper psyched to check out this spot this time! Being the "Ferry Building", "Pike Place Market" or "Granville Island Public Market" of Tel Aviv, you KNOW this was gonna be instantly my favourite place.

Flowers were very popular here as people often buy flowers for the home on Friday nights.
Challah!
These round figs were very soft and very good. On the right you see "Sabras" -- a cactus fruit. Israelis often refer to themselves colloquially as "Sabras" (like Canadians might call themselves "Canucks"). This is because they say they "appear prickly on the outside, but are soft on the inside!"
Awesome lychees!!

dates
This herring spot was awesome, I got a smoked salmon sandwich here!
C'mon.... beef salami....

More Israeli craft beers



Lunchtime!
We picked up these kinds of things:

...to take home for my buddy Matt to try
...to drink literally daily
...to eat, literally daily!
...to snack on, at a moment's notice.
While in Tel Aviv, we had to stop at literally the best hummus place in the known world. This place is world-changing. Last year, we got to go there for my birthday which was a dream come true, but birthday or not, this place rocks!! It's called "Abu Hassan" and is in Old Jaffa, the old waterfront area of Tel Aviv. There is always a long lineup, but it moves FAST. We ate and entire bowl each, and then took 2.5 large containers to go.




MAGNIFICENT
This is literally the best food on earth.
We went back to the Tel Aviv waterfront area a few times, and on the final visit we stopped for a large sit-down Israeli breakfast. Lots of little salads, and all very tasty.


Unfortunately, the mint was a little "gross" -- haha! This is a bad translation of the word "gaross", which is a type of blended ice drink!

Tower of breakfast!
The only thing, it seemed, that we DIDN'T eat this trip was a Magnum ice cream from the Make-your-own-Magnum ice cream booth at the Tel Aviv market. Their hours were a bit unpredictable, so we missed out on that after a few failed attempts. But, as you can see from above, we hardly went hungry! :) As always, an excellent place for a great food experience.

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