The Big Felafel


The New Hannuka Miracle: American Doughnuts in Israel

Normally this time of year, starting about a month before Hannuka, the bakeries place their finest, sweetest and most oily sufganiyot in the window display so that passers-by have no choice but to indulge in the million calorie treat…several times. However, this Hannuka there is a new market on the oily goodness, in the form of real American doughnuts.

It seems that the already successful Jerusalem based Aldo ice cream shop on Emek Refaim is now cornering in on the doughnut world. With a huge sign at the front door, the store invites people to their new display of doughnuts, which happens to look exactly like Dunkin Donuts. In fact the company behind this year’s Hannuka miracle is Mr. Donuts, which have already been selling doughnuts in their Alonit stores.

The doughnuts come in all different flavors, sugar coated, chocolate with sprinkles, strawberry, and banana (really not a fan). A single doughnut is NIS 6, but Aldo is currently running a deal, six doughnuts for NIS 30 (that’s almost a doughnut for each day of Hannuka, if you can really pace yourself). I’ve already bought a box full and I won’t tell you how many are left as I write this post!

The man behind the doughnut vision is Zohar Norman, owner and CEO of Cocoa Mr. Donuts. The business guru has been back in Israel for 3 years after conquering the hummus market in America with Sabra Salads. His bakery in Yavne is behind the real doughnuts, using an American style recipe which fries the doughnuts at much higher speeds and best of all are only 180-240 calories a doughnut (another Hannuka miracle). If all goes well, Norman plans to also import American style pizza and muffins, OMG!

And in an exclusive report to The Big Felafel, a source at Holy Bagel has revealed that they are also going to begin selling doughnuts in their Jerusalem stores. I can already smell the doughnut sale wars! Now, we just have to get Norman to buy into Mexican food. How about some burritos and tacos in time for Purim?


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!


I Got My Hands All Over Israel’s Ethiopian Food!

I love eating with my hands. There’s no middleman fork or spoon in between my taste buds and the actual taste. My favorite food to stuff my face with is Ethiopian. And while this country may lack in Mexican food (my familiar angry rant) it almost makes up for it with Ethiopian food.

When it comes to Ethiopian restaurants you need to seek them out, they don’t find you. They’re hidden all over Jerusalem and I assume they take a similar pattern in other cities. They’re small and everyone is really friendly. Until you go to a place at least three or four times, you feel like you are actually walking into someone’s kitchen. In fact one place I went to was basically a home and when we walked in I felt like I had just become the uninvited guest that they always have an extra plate for, just in case.

I have found one restaurant where I go on a regular basis. Don’t ask me the name, because I am not sure if it even has one. But what’s in a name after all? The food is amazing and I’ll tell you how to get there. And then someone will read this and tell me the name and I’ll appreciate it but forget it and still refer to it as my yummy Ethiopian restaurant (thank you in advance).

food11How do you get to this hole in the wall? Get to King George and Agripas (the Felafel King place is right next to the light at the intersection). Walk up the hill keeping on the right hand side. There will be a few narrow alley entrances. Go down one of them and the Ethiopian restaurant will be on your left hand side with green doors and an Ethiopian flag. Which alley way? Now, why would I spoil all the fun of telling you exactly where it is? I want you to find it on your own. It’s a part of the experience!

Once you get there, you might get funny stares (the whole kitchen-uninvited-guess-thing) but they will warm up to you right away. Ask for a menu and take a seat. The menus are in Amharic (Semitic Ethiopian language), Hebrew and now in English-they know we are coming!

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Me eating my yummy Ethiopian food

If it’s your first time eating this food, I would start with the basics and order injera (a large sourdough flatbread about 50cm or 20in in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour) with different types of salads and dips added right on top of it. This is the part where you use your hands. Just tear in and start dipping. Don’t question what’s on your plate just eat the colorful variety of veggies and beans and hope your stomach agrees with your choices.

Ali takes a chance of coffee

Ali takes a chance on coffee

After your first tasting, you may want to venture out, but to tell you the truth I have remained a fan of the veggie option which seems to have new salads and dips every time I go there. Ethiopian food is healthy (probably) and decently priced (I think it was in the NIS 30-40 range the last time I was there). Add a strong coffee at the end of the meal to get the full effect.  You don’t have to drink the coffee with your hands!

Here’s a list of other restaurants that Becca- my skinny co-blogger and friend- found online. And a voucher from Ethio-Israel Restaurant (I found that because I am cheap). Any additions would be great!

Shegar
Opening hours: 9:00 to 23:00
Address: Agripas St. 10, City Center, Jerusalem
Not Kosher

Ethio-Israel
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00
Address: Elyashar St. 5, City Center, Jerusalem
Phone: 02.622.3992
Kosher
Eluna voucher

Ansara
Address: 17 Jaffa Rd., City Center, Jerusalem
Phone: 054.698.6664
Not Kosher

More in Tel Aviv: A list of Ethiopian Restaurants


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!


Where’s the Mexican food?

About a month ago, Rebecca (my co-blogger and skinny friend), exposed the sushi take-over in Jerusalem. Like a lot of people, she was happy to see Jerusalem swimming in seaweed. But me-I am still waiting for the Mexicans to cross the border.mexican.jpg

Did you know that there are no Mexican restaurants in Jerusalem? Some may want to argue that the restaurant Poyo Loco in Talpiot is Mexican, but they would be wrong. First of all, I don’t think a Mexican restaurant menu should offer salsa, spaghetti and hummus. And it doesn’t matter now anyways because the restaurant closed down.

And don’t even go there with, “La Boca is Mexican,” because what you want to say is, “La Boca is a strange and expensive restaurant. They claim to serve Spanish food, yet all I could find in my tiny portion was an Israeli salad wrapped in a tortilla.” So don’t go there.

Here’s the deal. I am originally from Los Angeles, so baby food came in a taco. Continue reading this entry »