The Traveling Gagits: Israel
Location -Various Israel locations.
The Gagit’s finally make it to the land of Milk and Honey to not only visit the meaningful sights of the land but to enjoy the fruits and food of the country. After taking the Restaurant list from @Chef_Bee, of Oishi Thai (http://www.miabites.com/home/2014/10/20/miami-food-blog-chef-bee-and-oishi-thai-pad-thai-noodles-prawns?rq=oishi%20thai#.VIhDe2TF_dI= ) and getting recommendations of many we hope to enjoy the best Israel has to offer.
We arrive in Tel Aviv and it is Sunday night and do not want to leave the hotel area, so we ask Ariel, the Concierge who arranged all our reservations. Without hesitation, he sends us to Shila’s a few blocks away, we sit down at the crowded bar, join others in shots of Arak, and after looking at the menu I thought I was in back in America, Shrimp, Calamari, Octopus and of course a variety of vegetables that would be hard to find on a typical menu here. We are tired so only order a few dishes, Fish Carpaccio with Avocado and grilled Calamari on a bed of Pasta and Broccoli. Wow, this dish shown is just a sample of the deliciousness in front of us this trip.
In Israel. The Breakfast Buffet at the hotels are a fixture and of the three hotels we stayed at, The Mamilla in Jerusalem was a standout, we were too busy eating to take pictures but it was a fruit, vegetable, cheese, etc. extravaganza. The first day was an eating delight, lunch at a Druze restaurant and dinner at The Montifiore Hotel, a highlight meal. Again, the Gagit’s snag a space at the Bar order drinks while starting a conversation with all around about the eating scene in Israel and ordering the dish one of our new foodie friends was devouring. It was a shock to us when he told us about the dish, Pork Chop wrapped in Bacon, stuffed with Manchego Cheese, Asian Pears, and red wine reduction. Were we really in Israel???
On the advise of @Chef_Bee,, we have dinner the next night at the Meat bar, our choice of meat... the Lamb Chops, not a highlight but the egg salad with schmaltz(chicken fat),and onions certainly was not to be missed. The next day, lunch at a typical local restaurant as we visit a Kibbutz, Lamb Shwarma the specialty. Dinner that night at Mul Yum , seafood restaurant, the best of Tel Aviv according to Ariel and he was so right. I start off with Seafood Soup, chock full with seafood and that wonderful saffron flavor as Foodie had Shrimp Bisque that was perfection. We both had starters for mains, Foodie a Scallop shaped as ravioli stuffed with Shrimp and I a Lobster Benedict that looked like a cover shot in Bon Appetit and tasting even better.
The next day we head to Akko, to visit not only the second oldest city in the world but to eat at the Uri Buri Restaurant, a Foodie must stop. We eat at Uri Buri that night, but although he is not there, we enjoy his creations. We order the All You Can Eat, from the menu shared by the three of us since , our friend and guide Hadar, joins us for dinner in Akko. 14 Seafood Courses later , I was the last man standing through all the courses. Our favorites, Salmon in Soy with Wasabi Sorbet, please Miami Chefs try this, including @Chef_Bee; Caramelized St Pierre Fish with Beet Root, and Salmon Panko with Fennel.
I will post all the courses on my Facebook page as evidence of this "Adam Richman" like challenge:) We wake up in the morning after this one restaurant "Bang Bang ", and are treated to a formal Breakfast Buffet that would be served to Royalty at the Royal Table.
We travel to Jerusalem that day, it is Sunday so of course we have Chinese food that night, unfortunately Kosher, so no Spare Ribs but at least Won Ton Soup. The next day after visiting The Wall and The Holocaust museum , Hadar takes us to the Machenyuda market and the food treasures of spices, baked goods, smoked fish , and the Kingdom of Halvah. I have read that the only place to go to fully experience dinner in Jerusalem, is Machenyuda and sit at the bar with the Chef’s Table menu , Ariel made this happen .The seven course tasting menu featured a few of the Chefs signature dishes, Polenta with Parmesan ,Asparagus ,Mushroom Truffle Oil, and Tuna Tartare with yellow gazpacho and green onion and Tuna Carpaccio with mixed nuts and chili peppers. The full menu is shown on my Facebook page along with a video of the real action in the restaurant. The only thing missing is a taste of the Arak that was flowing all night from the chefs, waiters , and customers, alike. This restaurant more than any other in Israel represented the food ,culture ,and spirit of the country.
The next night back to Tel Aviv and we are getting full, tonight we even settle for Pizza , Calamari of course ,at Toto’s and a final night at Herbert Samuel. The last thing I had to have before we leave was the Chocolate Rugelach at Dallal Bakery and with it in hand we fly home, but with the thought of coming back and soon. !!!
Let the Truth be Told !!!