Jan 27, 2012


When you spend some time in Tel Aviv, it's hard to miss the ubiquitous presence of juice & smoothie stands.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are precociously perched on every inch of free space in the Juice stand, and their bright colors beckon thirsty pedestrians to quench their thirst with some natural goodness.

Every juice stand makes your drink to order, so there's no pesky preservatives to be found!  

Whether you fancy fruit or veggies of the blended or masticated variety, the Juice Man can help you out in a few moments of chopping, blending, and grinding.

I'm partial to nutrient rich juices made of pure vegetable, because they give the body the quickest nutrient boost.  The fiber is removed from the vegetables when they are juiced, so the nutrients are readily absorbed into your system quicker than the traditional way you may eat your veggies.

A little juice stand on the corner or Melchett and Shenkin street offers my favorite juice combo.  named the "Complete" juice, this concoction will surely rev up your body like none other!

Complete Juice:
1 stalk of celery (leaves included)
1/2 Lemon
1/2 inch piece of ginger
2 beets
2 Israeli cucumbers
1 small apple
1/2 teaspoon of ground flax seed
2 drops of extra virgin olive oil

Drink up!

by: Rachel Brender

Jan 18, 2012

Olei, Olei, Olei.... Good times at Olei Tzion

Written by: Judith Goldstein 

Last night, TasteTLV had the unique pleasure of attending a private tasting at Nir Zuk's newest venture, Ole Tzion, in Yaffo. The space of this new Tel Aviv restaurant actually used to be Shakuf, which unfortunately closed down a few months ago. Zuk quickly took over the beautiful, culinary expanse and in conjunction with Chef Natalie, created his own vision for the space. Other than decorative touches, not much has changed, which was a wise move by Zuk, because the open kitchen, presented like a stage, is what makes this space exciting, interesting, and stimulating. The bar seating that encircles the kitchen is lit, providing a effervescent background for each dish. Beautiful rocks fill the lining between the bar and  fill the sinks and glass displays in the bathroom. The organic essence of rocks and branches is mixed with a sense of playful modernity, as one wall is painted pepto bismol pink and in the corner sits a birdcage fitting for Big Bird himself. The upstairs seating provides a birds eye view into the kitchen. The tables and bar are adorned with antique silverware embellished with red and gold prints, adding somewhat of a Jaffa spirit.

The food at Olei Tzion is a direct inspiration of Jaffa cuisine. Hummus is ground up in a mortar and pestle as a line cook prepares the dish in front of the audience, like a supporting actor in the theater. Patrons sip on their drinks and listen to a lively mix of music while they steal glances into the kitchen watching a cook grind hummus or chop fresh vegetables for the fennel and tomato salad. Grilled eggplant is served with homemade bread and olive oil, garlic dip. The main courses include shrimp with a tomato coulis, sea bass served and garbanzo beans, shwarma and tehina, and ground beef patties ( Kofta)- recipe straight out of Zuk's grandmother's kitchen. The Kofta is especially fun because the chefs grind the beef right in front of you. This way you can see the quality of the beef that's put into the grinder and mixed with fresh herbs and spices.

 There is nothing life changing on the menu. Simple Arab/Israeli food found in any "home-style" restaurant. Zuk is actually not the main actor in the kitchen, he's more like the director. Zuk decided to give full culinary control to his protegee, Chef Natalie. This is her first attempt at creating and executing a menu, a daunting task for a any chef, especially one with no classical culinary training. Her modesty, perhaps her shyness is apparent in dishes as they lack any elements of bold spices or flavors and don't apply any complex technique. The main elements of the dishes, do maintain there natural flavors and this is especially good because you can taste the high quality of the proteins. If you try anything on the menu, make sure it's one of their beef dishes. It's one of the best quality beef I have had in this country, which is not a surprise, as Zuk get's most of his beef from his brother who has a private farm in the North. You could taste purity in the beef as flavors are both earthy and succulent. The simple dishes do come with a simple price tag, though, nothing on the menu costs more than 65NIS.

Stuffed Grapeleaves 

Shrimp with tomato coulis 

Beef shwarma

Zuk's famous kufte

Fennel and Tomato salad with yogurt sauce 

Sea Bass and Chickpeas 

The overall concept of Olei Tzion is having familiar, high quality dishes with an extremely tantalizing atmosphere. Fun is the name of the game and frivolous it is. An ultra hip DJ spins records at a convenient proximity to the bar. Guests can easily mingle with the staff as they watch chefs chop, grind, sauté, and grill. The music is an eclectic mix of Arab, Israeli, drum and bass and basically anything with a good beat, marinating the room with a gleeful spirit. The staff seems to easily meld with the vibes as they work with a fluttering rhythm. Cute and inviting bartenders effortlessly pour drinks into large glass cups, mostly the house special, arak and fresh crimson pomegranate juice. When you're mingling with the eclectic crowd, it seems that Zuk and Natalie have achieved their vision, a lively theater, where the line between actor and the audience gets blurred and everything dissolves into a convivial merriment.

Jan 6, 2012

Late Night

Standard fare for late night eating is to drown yourself in a greasy slice of pizza or in Canada to indulge in a poutine (http://www.montrealpoutine.com/). In the amazing city of Tel Aviv you can do much better than that.

When the time comes to leave the bar or club you can dine on a meal that is a cut above the commonplace late night grub and it will greatly improve the quality of the remainder of your evening.

My two favorite spots for late night food, conveniently located across the street from one another at the corner of Allenby and Rothschild, are Moses burger and Benedicts. At Moses you can delight in a sumptuous burger and at Benedicts you can get your breakfast in the truly wee hours of the morning.

Putting these two restaurants above rest are the late night price specials that run from midnight to 8am. At Moses you can get a burger and a side for 38 shecks. During the day this comes out to 72 shecks (so irritating that you have to pay for side and burger separately). At Benedicts you can get the Benedict Joe, an eggs benny with the addition of ground beef for 38 sheks (it usually costs 62). Even your addled 3am brain will be able to appreciate these awesome deals.

The main attraction at Moses is the art burger. A patty made with the combination of beef, lamb and veal topped with homemade pepper ketchup. At Moses they will not put any extra toppings on the Art burger, it is always served as they deem it to taste best. Burgers are a food that has been monopolized by the fast food industry and are often considered in the lower echelons of eating choices. It is very nice to see a restaurant standing behind its product.

If you can’t live without bacon and cheese get the classic burger and customize that patty as much as you want.

(bacon cheese burger)

All day breakfasts is one of the best concepts around and at Benedicts they do it right. The warm bread breakfast with chocolate spread, jam and butter that comes with every meal is worth going for alone. The flagship eggs Benny, as you would expect, is a mouth-watering choice. The eggplant and feta shakshuka is my personal favorite.

Chew Cheaply and Smile on.