Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hummus Said | Another day, another chickpea.

Lunchin' with the missus and my work friends is fun.
The only downside is when you have a bunch of people trying to decide where to go for food.
On this occasion it was surprisingly easy; everyone wanted to eat at Said's Tel-Aviv branch.
Who am I to disagree? It's nearby, delicious and fairly priced.

hummus,tahini,chickpeas,olive oil,egg,paprika
msabbaha: a mix of hummus, tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice and hot sauce

The missus ordered a msabbaha and was very pleased with it.
The warm, spicy and savory dish is a great take on hummus, with the chickpeas mixed into the hummus-tahini mash-up, as well as added on top for texture and flavor.
Freshly chopped parsley is a colorful garnish but also adds lots of fresh flavor.

fava beans,hummus,chickpeas,olive oil, paprika,tahini
mahluta: hummus, ful (fava beans) chickpeas, tahini, spicy lemon sauce, olive oil and paprika 

The mahluta is my favorite spin on hummus in this fine location.
The hot fava bean stew is a great contrast with the room-temperature hummus and the cold tahini.
The warm chickpeas add a texture play to every bite, and the lemony-spicy sauce that is added makes you want to dip your pita again and again.

Bottom line: while the original Said (located in Acre, Israel - locally known as Akko) is well known for an amazing hummus - this branch has a hummus paste that is average by itself, and is usually upstaged by the supplements.
However, to get to Akko I'd have to take a train, so this is pretty good for a work lunch.
Also: if you're there - try the shawarma.   

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vitrina | Sausage (and Burger) Fest

Problematic eating habits a hard thing, especially for a foodie.
I have various issues, textures being just one of them. Never been a fan of ground or thinly minced meat; on top of that there's my growing dislike for meat in general.
It's not easy being me; it's also uncomfortable for my food companions.
Now, imagine what it's like when I'm invited to a place specializing in sausages.

pork and roquefort sausage in a soft bun, with fries, pickles and beet ketchup
pork and roquefort sausage in a soft bun, with fries, pickles, aioli and beet ketchup

I'm not a hater of charcuterie, but I do prefer my sausages dry, my hot dogs industrial, and I keep away from hamburgers due to the texture.
Vitrina offer over a dozen types of sausages and one sort of burger.
I ordered the pork and roquefort sausage, it was one of many interesting variations on the menu; with a side of 50/50 fries, an interesting take on your dull french fries in the form of potato and sweet potato fries, with parsley and lemon zest.
I ordered my sausage neat, it was my mortal fear of onions speaking - everyone around us were chewing tons of onions and that made me paranoid.
My order was accompanied by a ladle with an aioli of some sort and a delicious home-made beet based ketchup.
After exploring what others ate - I asked for their take on relish; just big slices of pickled cucumbers. They had the distinctive taste of a vinegar brine, and the yellowish shade suggested turmeric. They were divine.

yam and regular potato 50/50 french fries, with parsley and lemon zest
sweet and regular potato 50/50 fries, with parsley and lemon zest

The sausage was delicious, although it was a bit hard for me to enjoy it's grainy inner texture.
The fries and pickles helped me drown my sorrow, that and the fact that the friends and I were having a great Friday afternoon, laughs in the sun included.
The missus called to say that she just finished her shift and that she's on the way to join us.
I ordered a basket of fries in the meanwhile.
Seriously, their fries are amazing.

I've been told that this hamburger is amazing
I've been told that this hamburger is amazing

Several people at our table claimed this to be one of the best hamburgers they ever had.
I read that they use a smoked cut of beef neck as one of the ingredients; one blogger mentioned cheese being added to the mix (the hamburger in the photo above had some cheese under it).
My girlfriend didn't argue, in fact she wanted to go back for it several times since this visit, and she wasn't the only one.
Vitrina's unique and original twists on food and condiments are a winning ticket.
Another advantage was the background music - rock and metal; not everyone's cup of tea but we really enjoyed it.

Bottom line: great food, affordable pricing; even the fries, pickles and beet ketchup are well worth a visit on their own.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Newton Apple Beer by Lefèbvre Brewery

It was a really hot evening and I needed something refreshing on my way to a friend.
Grabbing four bottles of Newton from a nearby liquor store was one of my best ideas that day.
It tastes like a cider, but it actually a mix of white Belgian beer and and apple juice from an orchard next to Lefèbvre brewery.
It was delicious, and rather affordable.

Newton Apple Beer by Lefèbvre Brewery
 Two bottles of  Newton Apple Beer by Lefèbvre brewery, plus Georgia the dog

Bottom line: I've had better ciders, I also had worse, but this is Belgian apple beer, it's cheap and tastes great.
Well worth your time and money.

Donkey: Taco Quality Assurance

Lunching at trustworthy places is always fun.
Luckily - you have me to suffer so you won't have to.
This time I returned to Donkey, just to see how things are (and to munch on some tacos).
Shall we? I wanna finish this post already cos the picture is making me really hungry.

pulled beef taco, black beans, cheddar, lettuce, cilantro, hot salsa
 Three pulled beef tacos, black beans, cheddar, lettuce, cilantro, hot salsa and a frosty Dr Pepper

The post is called "quality assurance" because Donkey disappointing me several times (they stopped making their coriander sauce and their amazing pineapple BBQ sauce, and the food was too soggy and bland on my last visits). This was their chance to claim back the throne.

The watery delivery persisted - the beans and pulled beef were too wet for the tacos to withstand.
The flavors were partially back. Not complete blandness, but some improvement was needed still.

A new issue arose: apparently Donkey now have lunch deals, but we weren't offered any, although later as we sat down we notices people coming in after us were.
I realized it was due to the guy taking our orders being new; but still.
Not pleasant, but I didn't make a fuss.

Bottom line: more room for improvement; be visiting again soon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

10 Sheqel Falafel | HaMasger 73, Tel Aviv

Before I start, allow me to do the math for you:
10nis (New Israeli Sheqel) are the equivalent of 2.77 US Dollars.
Mind you, $2.77 is a great price for any kind of food, especially for a falafel sandwich.
The price range in Israel shifts between 15 and 20nis, with the exception of a handful of places that are trying to brake the market with 6-10nis falafels.
That said, it doesn't matter what you pay if the falafel sucks.

pita, falafel, tahini, amba, salad, cabbage

This falafel didn't suck.
We came in at about 15:00; at such a point of the day a good falafel has either ran out of most things fresh, or currently having everything prepared for the second or even third time that day.
And indeed, some of the food ran out already, some of the salads too; and they were prepearing new salads and falafel as we came in, upon order.

The pita was fresh and warm, quite an achievement for three in the afternoon.
I was told that they buy from nearby bakery, so they have fresh inventory at all times.

My falafel was great, crispy and flavorful.
With fresh and pickled cabbage, tomato \ cucumber \ pepper salad, tahini and amba - it was wonderful.
The amba was a reall bouns, when it's good - it's great; Amba is a mango based condiment  it's sweet, sour, tangy, a bit spicy, not unlike chutney, but introduced to Israel by Iraqi Jews.
It's mostly found in falafel \ shawarma places.

Bottom line: I will gladly eat there again (also - very friendly service).

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My girlfriend made me a sandwich.

Long story short:
I was dying on the living room sofa one evening,  all of a sudden the missus offers me a sandwich.
As if I'm going to say no to that!!!
Off to the kitchen she went, and this is what she came back with:

sandwich: challah, corned beef, cheese, sriracha, assorted leafs

A huge chunk of sweet challah (one side was slightly pan seared for a nice crisp), juicy corned beef, soft-ripened goat cheese, lettuce, roquette, arugula, beet leafs, cucumber and sriracha.

Visible in the background: one jealous dog.

Bottom line: she really should cook more often.

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