Yet, for some inexplicable reason, after being in Tel Aviv for a few weeks, I started to miss my simple turkey and swiss sandwich. So, I shamefully admit that I ventured over to Ben Yehuda to hit up the classic example of “fresh” food: Subway. I was overly excited as the sandwich artist toasted my turkey and cheese on honey oat and doused it in ranch dressing. (This may be the only restaurant in Tel Aviv that has ranch). But when all was said and done, it was just a Subway sandwich and I was disappointed in myself for expecting otherwise.
Eager to satisfy my taste buds, I decided to check out a little kiosk that my friend had recommended. Nestled among the trees on the median strip of Ben Gurion and Dizengoff is an unobtrusive sandwich kiosk that my friend referred to as “Dizzy Sandwiches”. Although there is no evidence on the little wooden hut and you can't find any information about it on Google, I later discovered that this hidden neighborhood delicatessen is officially named Arieli's, after the owner's son.
As I approached the glass-shielded counter, anxious to create my own personal concoction, I immediately noticed how fresh the selection of sandwich toppings were. Arieli’s does not utilize the conventional menu. Instead, patrons, most of whom are greeted by first name, choose from the overwhelming variety of selections. Ranging from sweet roasted peppers to fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, onion, roasted eggplant, creamy egg salad, tuna, cream cheeses, and hummus, the infinite available combinations could make ordering a serious challenge.
After carefully considering the seemingly endless possible combinations, I finally placed my order. The sandwich artist, Amir, gracefully swept a huge dollop of dill cream cheese onto 2 slices of oversized whole wheat bread. He then, took the large chunk of peppered turkey to the meat slicer to cut fresh, juicy slices. When I selected Swiss cheese, he pointed to a type of Gouda from Holland and insisted I try that instead. After slicing off some fresh Gouda, he proceeded to pile on my requested toppings, expertly offering his own delicious suggestions along the way. Although I have a tendency to be a picky and stubborn eater, I let Amir have his way with my sandwich. Finally, he squirted on Ariel’s special Balsamic dressing and, using a knife to hold the ingredients in, steadily began wrapping an overstuffed sandwich big enough to feed two.
Now, I’ll be honest, this was not quite as speedy as Subway’s 1 minute spiel. Presentation at Arielli's was just as important as taste. Amir’s intense dedication called for 5 minutes of sandwich prep. That doesn’t seem like a long time to wait, but salivating in front of a freshly made sandwich for 5 minutes? Well that's another story. But maybe that’s part of their genius plan, because I can’t quite describe my state of euphoria when I took that first bite.
Less than 25 shekels for the freshest and most delicious sandwich I have eaten thus far in Tel Aviv. Not to mention, the homemade lemonade added the perfect amount of sweetness to my palette.
Not gonna lie, I finished every bite and went back for seconds the very next day.