The Big Felafel


A New Taste of the Jerusalem Food Scene

I tend to use this blog as place to rant and rage about the frustrations of daily life in Israel. Whether it’s dealing with the special customer service providers, crying about bureaucratic offices or sulking over lack of food choice in Jerusalem, it’s normally me and not my skinny friend and co-blogger Rebecca who uses this as a forum for complaint.

But today the only tears you will find are those of great joy. What could make me feel this way? Did I hear you say food? That’s right, I’m giving you two reasons to put the frustration aside and literally eat up the good news.

Reason #1: The Ye Old English Tea Room

Friends, the Ye Old English Tea Room is not only a super cute café, but more importantly they serve pancakes, French toast and real maple syrup. If you close your eyes you can actually imagine you are having brunch on a real Sunday, pancakeseven if they only serve breakfast on Friday. The rest of their menu has a more classical English style taste, but everything is very fresh and only cooked after you order it.

I have been there twice and walked away happy each time. The first time I ordered a sandwich sampler and then shared my plate with my friends who had ordered equally delicious items from cranberry breads and scones to traditional potato pies. They also have traditional teas and tomato juice (that they bring with Tabasco EngTea_iconsauce, Worchester sauce and salt and pepper- a meal in itself).

My second trip was a Friday so naturally I chose to have pancakes and skinny friend and co-blooger Rebecca had French toast. We both enjoyed the meal practically licking the plate (well maybe that was just me). The meals cost around NIS 45-55, so if you are two people you will spend around NIS 100- that’s not too bad! And of course I have added a link to an Eluna 10% discount coupon for all us shekel pinchers!

I said it earlier, but the café is beautifully designed, with lots of light, exquisite colors and decorative furniture, not to mention a little play house for the kids. And you’ll also find a guest book where you can add suggestions. What did I say: I asked that there be a bottomless pot of coffee that comes with a breakfast meal and that of course the breakfast meal should be served daily!

Click here to get your 10% coupon

Reason #2: Rumor has it Mexican food is coming our way!

If you recall, in an earlier post about the lack of Mexican food, I pooped my pants over the deficit of any real salsa to be found across Jerusalem. The post generated other angry citizens that too were frustrated with the burrito-less city — but break out the tamales because Mexican is making a comeback! According to a comment on the post, Benyamin burritoswrites: Good News! Long time Israel resident and Canadian guy ‘Mike’ (formerly of Mike’s Place – not the founder) has opened ‘Mike’s Kitchen’ in association with Yankee’s Bar near Zion Square. So why is this good news? Because he is developing a menu that includes some Mexican favorites and this former Angelino is assisting him. While the menu is a bit on the eclectic side, the Mexican dishes will be authentic Los Angeles taquiera style food. You know, Sonora with the L.A. touch!”

Don’t let the tears drip on the computer keys, but take it all in. The restaurant is set to open at the end of June, just in time for summer burritos every day of the week! Benyamin later wrote he hopes to add his own, “personal enchiladas, hand-made frijoles and tortilla chips with red and avocado salsas,” for the big opening day. Benyamin, tell us where and when and we will be there, drooling and ready!

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Three Weeks of NIS 3 Coffee!

coffeeWhile it may seem like the holiday season is over, there is still much to celebrate. How about NIS 3 coffee? I don’t know about you, but I’m jumping up and down (and not just because I had three cups of pure caffeine joy!). What café finally got the memo that coffee doesn’t have to be expensive? Café Hillel on Emek Refaim right here in Jerusalem, that’s who!

Although I previously reported that Café Hillel would be opening at a new location on Emek, it turns out that they have changed their minds and decided to stay at their original location and renovate. The café itself is closed but for the next three weeks you Despite Price Rises The British Love Of A Cup Of Tea Endurescan get NIS 3 coffee at the little side barista they opened up during the renovation process. The cheap coffee isn’t just hot; you can also get ice café for NIS 9. It isn’t as cheap as my all-time love of NIS 5 ice café at Marzipan in the shuk, but it’s a bigger cup and low fat (supposedly). In any case these are just some of the amazing deals worth pooping your pants over.

Good bargains don’t just happen. Either you or someone you know has hunted them down, passed them along or created them on their own. We cheap buggers have to stick together and look after each other to ensure the deals keep coming. That’s why I implore you to not only take advantage of the next three weeks while the coffee is NIS 3, but to tell the cashier, manager or owner to permanently keep the NIS 3 coffee as a part of the menu. I think in the long run they will end up making more money off the NIS 3 coffee than any of their ridiculously over-priced salads. Also, if the coffee is NIS 3 now, but after the renovations the price goes back up to NIS 15, we will all feel scammed — and nobody goes to a restaurant that rips them off.

Friends, drink and be merry, but don’t forget to be cheap and persuasive too!


Food Torture: Not Another Cafe!

Cafe Hillel, just another cafe

Cafe Hillel, just another cafe.

I’m angry. What a surprise. I’m in the daze of a food nightmare. Living near Emek Refaim Street, you would think a girl could have her way with restaurants: endless options, yummy in your tummy food, and the cultural basics. But apparently the Food Gods don’t like us Jerusalemites.And instead of lots of different restaurants, whipping up all kinds of food-we in Jerusalem must suffer with choice A: falafel or choice B: café food. Crap and crap.

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The sign reads: Coming soon Cafe Hillel. I wish the man in the picture would just keep walking. He even looks like he is stealing our taste buds! Shady!

 

In a previous anger post, I wrote about my desire for a Mexican restaurant in Jerusalem. Needless to say, my prayers and rants have gone unanswered. But friends, it just gets worse. Since my cries for Mexican food, two pizza places have opened in my neighborhood. And then…then this happened (focus your eyes on the picture). My cheap wrap place that almost felt like Mexican food if you closed your eyes tight enough and just held on to the wrap like it was a burrito, Tarantino’s, suddenly without warning closed down and a café Hillel is now opening in its place. Oh, the food inhumanity! Oh, the food torture! And obviously the worst part about it: THERE IS A CAFÉ HILLEL TWO BLOCKS DOWN!

Is this for real? Isn’t it bad enough that Emek Refaim is lined with cafes? It’s just the same menu, with different names for the salads, soups and sandwiches. Not to mention the difference in price from Café Aroma to Caffit for practically the same meal.

Now I know Nir Barkat just became mayor, but wasn’t he all about adding some culture to this city? I’m not saying that adding Mexican should be the first item on his agenda…no, I am. I think Mayor Barkat should shut down the building of this new café Hillel, which is clearly an abuse of our taste buds and a monotonous slap in the face. And instead, let us join together and build a burrito stand and unite for the sake of Jerusalem and her culture. Mexican food is just the beginning!

Stop the lame cafes from taking over our streets. They can have their menus but not our shekels!


Beautiful Watercolors of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cafes

Recently I came across a new blog, Drawing Tel Aviv, and fell in love. The artist behind the fabulous watercolors of everyday life in Tel Aviv is Carol Feldman, an olah from Oklahoma, now living in Tel Aviv. What struck me is how she captures Israeli life so perfectly – just look at the guy reading the Ma’ariv Hebrew daily newspaper, with Crocs, sitting next to a sprawled out stray cat. Carol also paints the ubiquitous corner Tel Aviv cafe. I also loved her painting of humus and Israeli money. Also see what israelplug had to say about this great new talent.

telavivcafe Maariv2

The other artist whose cafe scenes I wouldn’t mind hanging in my living room (hint, hint generous reader-turned-artwork-donor) are the watercolors by Azriel Cohen. Raised in Toronto, Canada, Azriel now tours the world and paints cafes and city life wherever he goes. Actually, I met him on one of his adventures to Sinai in Egypt in January or February 2005, I can’t remember (oy!). He heard me and my friends speaking English and we started talking. Continue reading this entry »


Upside-down coffees, cafes, and discounts

It still feels funny to order an upside-down coffee (cafe hafuch) when you want a capuccino, but I do it anyway because it’s usually the cheapest and yummiest choice on the menu. The funniest thing about coffee shops is people always go there to relax and chill. Meanwhile, I have half a cup of coffee and I’m wired, running around the shop with my arms flailing, and can’t sleep the whole night. Putting my low tolerance for coffee aside, I can spot a cute coffee shop when I see one. Please leave a comment adding any additional coffee shops in the Jerusalem area. See the discount section to save a few shek. Here are my favorites:

1. Cafe Kalo
Location: Baka, near 33 Derech Beit Lechem
Description: very low key and off the beaten path. Funky furniture too.
Random: I met the artist that created their menu while I was in Sinai.

2. Tmol Shilshom
Location: Nahalat Shiva, City Center, in an alleyway off of Yoel Salomon St.
T:02- 623-2758
Description: This not-so-hidden-anymore coffee shop is so quaint and cute with books all around. It has become increasingly popular with everyone telling their friends about their ‘secret’ coffee shop. If you go at peak times, you may wan to make a reservation. They also have delicious food, my favorite being the pumpkin ravioli.
Random: The artist that created the menu for Cafe Kalo also did the menu for Tmol Shilshom

3. 1868 – Cafe
Location: Baka, at the beginning of Derech Beit Lehem, across from the gas station.
T: 02-622-2312
Descriptoin: Maybe this is supposed to be a restaurant, but I like going there as a coffee shop. I ordered the 2 croissant deal with fresh fruit and cream with a white hot chocolate. I was in heaven. My stomach is grumbling thinking about it. For a fancy place, it really wasn’t so expensive.
Random: My friend’s friend works there and we didn’t realize till we arrived and he spoiled us with wine and other drinks.

4. Cafe B’gina
Location: Baka, 74 Beit Lechem
T: 02-672-0825
Description: It is beautiful in the summer, eating outside, surrounded by flowers.

5. Simone
Location: 49 Derech Hebron
T: 02-672-9950
Description: Cute, small French cafe. Derech Hevron – not so cute, but the cafe is worth exploring and the people that run the place are very friendly.

6. Faza (sad update: Faza is out of business)
Location: Corner of Palmach Street and Mivtza Kadesh Street.
T: 02-561-7191
Description: Internet Cafe with 2 computers and wireless. Good music – they played a Tracy Chaplain cd when I was there. Random: I saw a promotional video being made there so I wonder if I’m in the background of some video somewhere.

Discounts:

  • Eluna: New updates all the time with new restaurants and new coupons. The coupons are for 10% off, and includes almost all the kosher restaurants in Jerusalem. Worth 2 seconds to print up before heading out.
  • Rest.co.il (Hebrew): Use the search feature on the right sidebar to narrow down your search. Random coupons like free glass of wine or dessert or 10% off.