Dec 31, 2011

New Years Roasted Carrot Soup

Before stepping out to our New Years Party, I decided to put my organic carrots from the farmers market (Tel Aviv Port) to good use. I have a favorite carrot soup recipe, it packs the perfect flavor of carrots with only a few ingredients (6 total). The secret is broiling the carrots, it brings a depth of
flavor that tastes perfect every time. Below is my rendition of a recipe I found on my favorite recipe site,
Armed with my hipstamatic iphone app, I bring the process to you...

(Serves 4)
6-8 large carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
pepper (freshly ground)
5/6 cups veggie stock
1 inch long piece ginger (fresh/whole)
1 sprig thyme
1 small sweet onion
2 large cloves of garlic

1. Clean and peel 6-8 large carrots. (Pre-heat oven to broil).

2. Slice and lay slices flat on broiling pan.

3. Mix with oil and sea salt (using your hands!).

4. Broil for about 10-15 minutes, flip carrots over half-way through. They should come out with charred edges. Isn't it fun to burn things once in awhile? In this case it's tasty, that's for sure. They should come out looking like this...
(I add some quartered shallots as well)

5. While the carrots are broiling, sauté a small, sweet onion in olive oil. (Use a large stock pot or wok)
6. At the same time, simmer the ginger and twig of thyme in the 6 cups of stock for 10 minutes.

7. Once the onions have just browned, add the garlic and the carrots. Sauté for a few minutes, and add the stock mixture (without the ginger and thyme).
8. Simmer until carrots are soft.
9. Blend until smooth. I always keep some extra stock, in case the mixture is too thick - you can always stir it in at the end.
10. Add s/p to taste.

I usually add a dollop of cream, or a carrot chip for garnish. You can use a small twig of thyme as well. The mixture should come out a pale orange. Since I like using the purple, white, and yellow organic carrots from the farmers market, my soup usually comes out a muddy purple color. Needless to say, it doesn't make for the most attractive of bowls, but it sure comes back empty every time.

B'te Avon! ~ Kassandra MJ Grunewald

Dec 29, 2011

Deli meets my Belly

Eating has always been the pinnacle of enjoyment for Dylan Stein. Eating good food is an essential and indispensable part of Dylan's life. Living as a student, unfortunately, prevented his culinary adventures from being as lavish as he would have hoped and he had to ask himself, " How can I stretch each dollar? He finds himself again in Tel Aviv asking himself the same question and he's finding the places to eat that will make his stomach AND wallet happy... The Hungry Canadian is happy to share these thrifty and delicious finds with us... Welcome to "Cheap Eats Tel Aviv"

(Deli with the black and white stripes)

Before arriving in Israel one of the questions I asked myself was: Will there be places where I can eat bacon?

At Deli this question is answered with a resounding YES.

Located on the corner of King George and Allenby (Allenby 47,) Deli received the

2011 Time Out magazine eating and drinking award for Best Sandwich. This venue subscribes to the ideology that more meat = less problems.

(meat on grill)

On the inside, Deli has a classic diner atmosphere with black and white tiled floors and stainless steel bar stools. The six-item menu is displayed on the wall, and beers are a very reasonable 15 shekels.

The big-ticket items are the Deli dog deluxe and the corned beef sandwich. Both come with cocktail pickles and coleslaw.

The Deli dog deluxe is a custom-recipe pork hot dog topped with cheddar, homemade spicy mayo, sweet relish, and bacon. It is almost like they are trying to make it as not kosher as possible.

The corned beef sandwich is adorned with melted gouda, mayo, lettuce, sauerkraut, and tomato. Get it in me.

And to top it all off, through an unassuming door in the back is the entrance to Deli Nightclub. The perfect place to dance off all that meat.

Chew Cheaply and Smile On..

Dec 28, 2011

The Coffee Lab: Shuk Ha’Carmel’s Gem of Java

Throughout the past four months, I have established a Friday morning ritual of rushing through Shuk Ha’Carmel to purchase glistening apples, fresh eggs, aromatic mint leaves, and other necessary groceries for the week.  Especially on this day, the shuk bursts with people of all ages and walks of life.  Charming old ladies grip their Shabbat challah braids and push through the crowds with attitude while disoriented American tourists attempt to dodge the occasional raw fish smell.  As the Shabbat clock ticks, Friday mornings at the shuk emanate a mood of hectic urgency with a special touch.  I truly feel like part of the Tel Aviv culture as I rush to check the items off my list along with the other locals and visitors.  As much as I love my crazy Fridays at the shuk, I experienced something quite unique when I went to outdoor market this past Monday afternoon…

An aura of tranquility permeated the atmosphere at the shuk yesterday.  While I went with a specific purpose of purchasing Chanukah gifts for my lovely girlfriends, I still felt a sense of peace knowing that I could take my time.   After I found beautiful, handcrafted Hamsa symbols, I leisurely strolled through the shuk.  Eventually, I came upon the Coffee Lab, a specialty coffee shop nestled among the fruit stands.  The mini-café peeks out from behind the majestic tapestries hanging from the makeshift roof of the shuk.  I had noticed this place before but had never taken the opportunity to stop and smell the java.  With my Hebrew textbook in tote, I stepped into the coffee shop for a chance to study and savor a steaming Americano. 

With an industrial yet homey vibe, the Coffee Lab features gigantic stainless steel coffee machines at the café bar with approximately four stools.  The sheer amount of coffee-brewing machinery reflects the dedication to the quality beverages.  The twinkling chandelier above the espresso bar adds a touch of glamour to the ambiance.  Polychromatic pop-art images of Marilyn Monroe grace the walls, and at each of the four two-top tables, there are plush chairs with plush eggplant-colored cushions.  The sounds of smooth jazz instantly transported me to Barnes & Noble in my hometown.  I could picture myself sitting at table with my mother and two younger sisters on a Sunday afternoon.  I remember how we divided warm chocolate-chip cookie into four pieces and sipped Chai Tea lattes together. 

The cozy set-up of the Coffee Lab relaxed me, and the more I looked around, the more I was intrigued.  At the entrance, there are tattered coffee satchels that appear as though they have just come off a cargo ship from South America or Africa.  Along the walls, there are tall, cylindrical glass cases that hold a variety of coffee beans grown in different geographical areas. 

Holistically, this coffee shop reminded me that Tel Aviv acts as global city that allows individuals to feel the comfort of local culture.  In many diverse ways, Tel Aviv manifests a beautiful compromise between absorbing world cultures and preserving its own identity.  

Wishing you a week of light, love, and lattes,  

Dec 18, 2011

When life gives you Yemens make Yemen-aid

Eating has always been the pinnacle of enjoyment for Dylan Stein. Eating good food is an essential and indispensable part of Dylan's life. Living as a student, unfortunately, prevented his culinary adventures from being as lavish as he would have hoped and he had to ask himself, " How can I stretch each dollar? He finds himself again in Tel Aviv asking himself the same question and he's finding the places to eat that will make his stomach AND wallet happy... The Hungry Canadian is happy to share these thrifty and delicious finds with us... Welcome to "Cheap Eats Tel Aviv"

Walking into the Yemenite quarter in Tel Aviv is akin to walking though rip in the space-time continuum. On one side, bustling Allenby street with normal two way traffic, ATM machines and neon signs. Turning off Allenby –through the void— You will find yourself wondering if you have landed in the early 20th century. These narrow winding narrow lanes gives one a somewhat eerie feeling of inner calm and quiet.

It is a pleasure to simply wander (and by wander I mean get lost) in the Yemenite district. The sights, smells and sounds are a distinctly different part of Tel Aviv. On thing worth mentioning is rehhov Yom Tov, which is just on street over from Hacarmel. This is small extension of the shook you have probably never been to and this ‘ shuk junior’ boasts much cheaper prices on meat.

There are many intriguing ‘hole in the wall’ type places that you can sample in the Yemenite district. Here are two that I tried:

Just a few streets over from the Shuk one can find Erez (24 Nahiel).

This place hooks you up with two types of dips: eggplant garlic dip and halbe. They also keep a steady flow of free pita (be careful not to fill up). I went with a lunch special that was a choice of two skewers and three sides.

( Three Sides)

The pargit, which is young chicken, was bomb.

There was also a home cooked section and a desert section on the menu. Overall an excellent place for a lunchtime grub out.

If you are in the mood for soup head to Rina and Zcharia (22 Hakovshim)

The place was packed and every one had a bowl of soup in from of them.

We Started off with three types of Yemenite bread ( some of it bigger than your head) and halbe

(Bigger than head)

I went with the meat soup and my companions went with the chicken...

but if you are feeling adventurous…

The highlight was the owner, Zcharia, who made a lot of jokes in Hebrew that we did not understand and gave us some almonds and raisins from his own personal stash.

(Zcharia in middle)

Go get lost in the Yemenite quarter.

Chew Cheaply and Smile On.

Dec 8, 2011

FoodLove: Shmaya

Eating has always been the pinnacle of enjoyment for Dylan Stein. Eating good food is an essential and indispensable part of Dylan's life. Living as a student, unfortunately, prevented his culinary adventures from being as lavish as he would have hoped and he had to ask himself, " How can I stretch each dollar? He finds himself again in Tel Aviv asking himself the same question and he's finding the places to eat that will make his stomach AND wallet happy... The Hungry Canadian is happy to share these thrifty and delicious finds with us... Welcome to "Cheap Eats Tel Aviv"

Terribly hungry after a long day in the office I was wandering in the Florentine district and stumbled upon perhaps the best local eatery so far in eratz yiseral.

Located on number two Vital Street I was drawn in by warm yellow walls decorated with a giant peppershaker and olive oil mural.

Walking into Shmaya I immediately wanted to raise my arms and declare, “win.” My nostrils where greeted with delicious aromas and my eyes perceived a large open stove top covered in scrumptious looking dishes. Solidifying the feeling that I had found someplace good a smiling miniature Venus de Milo greeted me when I walked into the washroom.

No English menu was available but one of the co-owners helpfully explained the situation: you can choose either a 28 shek plate and get one meat choice or a 38 shek plate and get two meat choices. Both include a starter of hummus and pita.

The menu stays roughly the same every day. There is a variation of chicken, fish or beef selection which is added to a bed of veggies and rice. The owners of this restaurant hail from a family of 9 children and all the recipes were passed down from their mother.

The most popular dish today was chicken, slow roasted with dates and anise however the lunch crowed, when Shmaya is most bumpin, had quickly gobbled this up.

I went with the two choice plate with meat balls and musaka with green beans, eggplant, sweet potatoes, peas, beets and rice. The home-cooked goodness permeated every bite.

Even though I was as hungry as Samson after a workout I could not get through this whole plate and because it was the end of the day my take-away container was topped up with extra meatballs and veggies (win).

Shmaya encapsulates the connection between Judaism and food and gives one the sense that they are getting a dose of Israeli family love.

Do not sleep on this, get up and go.

Chew cheaply and smile on.

Dec 1, 2011


It is with a heavy heart that I write my first blog post about a lukewarm restaurant experience in Tel Aviv.  In fact, I’m willing to say that the only thing that kept the outing from being a complete restaurant failure was the relatively friendly waitress.

We started the evening off with a plan to go to a place called Ester Café, a kosher restaurant on Ben Yehuda Street that, if searched for on the internet, would elude almost all detection.  Doug and I passed it many times but never had the chance to stop in for a bite. 

Upon arriving to Ester Café, we found that its menu was rather limited.  It appeared to be mostly a breakfast restaurant.  A homely woman, seeing the group’s hesitation to sit, came over and informed us that they had various pasta dishes and other specials that didn’t appear on the menu.  Unfortunately for my stomach, the group was uninterested in remaining at Ester Café. 

After much debate involving many suggestions and rejections by all, we settled on a restaurant called X-Ray on Bograshov Street (I omit the exact address in the interest of saving any adventurous readers an unfortunate experience).  From the first time it was suggested as a dining locale, I was hesitant.  Something about the bright-blue neon sign and clashing decorations made me feel that the quality of the restaurant’s food would be lacking.  But, with no other viable options remaining (which seems almost shocking to me now, considering the number of restaurants in Tel Aviv I have on my to-eat-at list), we settled in for a night of shockingly disappointing and cold food.

After being seated and welcomed by a very friendly waitress who made aliyah a few years ago and had recently been released from the army, I thought my initial perceptions may have been wrong.  She was enthusiastic and chatty, providing us all with useful recommendations as we struggled to make our choices.

Personally, I struggled between buffalo wings and gnocchi with cream truffle sauce.  After finding out that the mashed potatoes I hankered for as my side for the buffalo wings was dairy (and therefore not actually an option as I don’t mix meat and dairy), I opted for the gnocchi… with a side of mashed potatoes (had to satiate my craving!)  My companions ordered chicken liver with mashed potatoes, roasted eggplant with tahini sauce, lasagna, and sweet potato ravioli. 

As we waited for our main courses, those with salads ate with gusto.  The balsamic vinaigrette was good—for the first bites, anyway.  It was syrupy and sweet, setting it apart from other balsamic vinaigrettes.  Unfortunately, while at first intriguing and exciting, it became increasingly sweet with every bite until it became overwhelmingly so.  Ah well, onwards to the mains.

Salad with balsamic vinaigrette

The eggplant with tahini sauce arrived.  The eggplant was largely tasteless and bland, but with no real consequence because there was so much tahini sauce that the eggplant’s flavor stood no chance anyways.
Eggplant drowned in tahini
The chicken liver with mashed potatoes was, reportedly quite good (I didn’t try it).  The mashed potatoes were tasty and the chicken liver was very creamy, combining to make a dish that screamed comfort food for the lucky diner who opted to order it.
Chicken liver with mashed potatoes

The lasagna, meanwhile, came off tasty and flavorful.  The sauce was purportedly delicious, particularly given the fact the those who tried it felt they could taste the meat in the sauce.  Unfortunately, the lasagna seemed to lack cheese and was, upon reaching the center, cold.  Not just chilled from passing time, but outright cold.  On the bright side, after sending it back for reheating, it returned thoroughly heated and sprinkled with fresh basil.

The lasagna wasn’t the only thing that arrived cold.  My side of mashed potatoes, while delicious (it was my favorite dish) was cold upon arrival.  It was very disappointing, considering I had an intense craving for warm, creamy mashed potatoes.  My gnocchi, meanwhile, was rather tasty at first. The cream sauce was rich and rewarding… until I reached a very salty bite.  After that, everything tasted overly salty.
Mashed potatoes
Gnocchi with truffle cream sauce 

The overall favorite for the night (which isn’t saying much) was the sweet potato ravioli.  Everyone seemed to love it, appreciating how creamy it was and how well the flavor of sweet potato was preserved in the raviolis.  For my part, I thought it wasn’t bad.  I was surprised by the sauce, though, which was quite salty.  Although, in hindsight, my surprise seems misplaced.  Despite the fact that the sauce was supposed to be a basil cream sauce with garlic, it was identical to my cream truffle sauce.  Call me crazy, but I feel like the two shouldn’t have that much in common.  On the bright side, the raviolis looked really cool—with one side orange and the other side cream-colored, it was a fun dish to look at, if nothing else.
Sweet potato ravioli with "basil-cream" sauce
Colorful sweet potato ravioli in basil-cream sauce

And so it was, with the taste of salt lingering in my mouth, that I returned home epically disappointed and wishing that I had re-visited Piccola Pasta, Odelia, or HaPizza instead.