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!


Indian food in Jerusalem

indian After 4 years in Israel, I think I’ve finally moved out of my obsessive pita and humus stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always save a special place in my heart for the quintessential Israeli snack that requires swift wrist action, but it’s time to move on and sample some other cuisines.

Recently, I discovered a little hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant, Ichikidana איצ’יקדנה  inside the Machane Yehuda outdoor shuk in Jerusalem. And … it was delicious! And cheap – the small platter of thali was 24NIS 35 NIS! And cute – tiny room with wooden tables covered with collages of pictures and mementos from the staff’s trips to India.  And so… I’m hooked. I even went home and starting looking up Indian recipes for things I had never even heard of before like Chana Dal (Curried Chick-Peas), Tamatar Ki Chutney(tomato chutney) and Garam Masala. Apparently, other people have also discovered this yummy joint, so you can read more reviews from Jewlicious and Presentense’s latest issue.

Here’s a list of the kosher Indian restaurants in Jerusalem. If I missed any, please leave a comment and I’ll update the post.

Ichikidana איצ’יקדנה
Location: 4 Haeshkol St., makhane yehuda shuk/market
Phone: 050-224-7070
Hours: Sun-Thu: 08:00-20:00, Tri: 08:00- one hour before Shabbat

Location: Even Sapir, past the Hadassah Hospital in  Ein Karem
Phone: 02-643-1186
Hours: Open Sunday – Thursday 10:00am till 11:00pm. Friday till Shabbat. .Motzei Shabbat till midnight.

Location: Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, by Binyanei HaUma and the Central Bus Station
Phone: 02-653-6667
Hours: Open for lunch, Sunday – Friday from 12:00 noon till 4:00pm. Open for dinner Sunday – Thursday 6pm till 11:30pm, and Saturday night after Shabbat.

In other Indian-related news, I went to see Slumdog Millionaire at Cinema City and it was incredible (both the VIP experience and the movie itself). Here’s some Indian music that I can’t get out of my head.

[Photo from Flickr: Julia Lang’s photostream]

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.


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!

Everything I’ve learned about recycling and trying to go green in Israel. Part 2: Local Organic Produce and The Omnivore’s Dilemma

organi Sorry for the long delay in posting.. I’ve been growing increasingly addicted to twitter where I can post quick thoughts and because I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma actually really ties into my whole attempt to be a bit greener. This is possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read and I’ve been recommending and talking about it to anyone who comes within shouting distance. Pollan discusses 4 types of meals you can eat: industrial, industrial organic, organic/grass-fed farms, and hunting/gathering. It opened my eyes as to what I put in my body and brings a whole new meaning to “you are what you eat”.

And, like most things that you become aware of, you start seeing related information everywhere. I was checking Janglo last week and noticed that someone wanted to share the delivery cost from an local organic farm. I wrote to her and asked about 1,303 questions – what kind of food can you get? how much does it cost? when do they deliver? etc. She directed me toward Teva Habsor (1800- 25- 90- 90) which is an organic farm in the Negev. When I asked where exactly they were located, she said ‘in the Kassam region’. She said that usually explained it best to people. Pretty sad. But I guess life goes on. The farm sends out an Excel pricing sheet on Sundays and delivers to Jerusalem on Tuesdays; to Tel Aviv on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; Negev area on Thursdays [from honey]. The best ‘deal’ from the farm seems to be a box of seasonal vegetables for 110 shekels which includes delivery. This seems a little steep, especially compared to the prices at the shuk. I guess a better comparison would be with the supermarkets, where the produce is unbelievably overpriced.

However, The Omnivore’s Dilemma talks about the bigger idea of cost, meaning that the prices at the shuk may seem cheaper but we end up paying for it indirectly. We pay for cheap produce through higher taxes for healthcare because of new food-related diseases, polluted water from insecticides and synthetic fertilizers, and fossil fuels used in the transportation of our food. Currently, I’m not sure that buying only organic is financially possible on an Israeli salary, but I’m excited to try it hopefully once a month and come home to a box of seasonal and locally made produce. Did I mention that this book was awesome?

Here’s a list of Organic Farms that deliver in Israel, thanks to Crunchy Greenola

Sushi take-over of Jerusalem


Just a few weeks ago, it was very difficult to come across sushi in Jerusalem, especially kosher sushi. Apparently, not anymore. It’s as if someone heard me wanting sushi and I got my wish – but did they take it too far? These sushi restaurants are starting to pop up in every Jerusalem neighborhood, including taking over what used to be a cute little cafe called Faza in the Katamon/Palmach neighborhood. I loved Faza – with their TV entertainment system in the bathroom and wireless internet. 😦 But I also like sushi. What to do.

Here’s the list of kosher sushi restaurants in Jerusalem I’ve come across. You can find more details and coupons at Eluna and In case you’re too cold to leave your house, I’ve included the phone numbers since most of them offer delivery. I put them in order of the ones I want to try out. Continue reading this entry »