Israel Nom Nom

14 Jun

We were lucky enough to take a trip to Israel with Birthright for 10 days.  Two meals per day were free and we were on our own for the 3rd meal (usually lunch).  We had our share of bad food and good food, but for the most part, we ate VERY well throughout the country.  Our free meals were usually buffets at a kibbutz or hotel and there was usually enough variety to keep us happy.  Hummus was served at every single meal (even breakfast) and if I don’t see it again for a year it will probably be too soon (though it was always very good). 

The ingredients in Israel just always tasted fresh, even at the road side restaurants, which were very popular.  One of our first meals was a shared treat of pita, hummus, salad, and falafel.  It was really tasty.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the mango nectar in a can.

After our meal, our Israeli locals recommended we try a dessert called “Milky” that was kind of like a really rich, fresh pudding on the bottom with what tasted like homemade whipped cream on the top.  It was absolutely wonderful and I only regret that this was the only time we ate it on the trip.

A few days later, our Israeli guide sent us into a food store with a list in Hebrew and had us gather ingredients for a picnic.  We got pretty whimsical with the hummus and salads.

The food was great, but not nearly as great as the surroundings (a beautiful natural spring that we swam in).

An event on our culinary adventure in Israel was definitely staying in a Bedoin tent.  We ate and slept (as a group of 40) in a very large tent.  The food was phenomenol!  We ate with pita and our hands and it consisted of amazingly seasoned rice and skewers of some absolutely delicious but unidentifiable meat.

Unfortunately the highlight of our eating through Israel was at the exact time that my camera died.  This was a shame, as our food was absolutely phenomenol.  Luckily, however, Mike snapped some shots on his camera, so all is not lost! Cafe Rimon was in Jerusalem off of Ben-Yehuda Street.  We were first greeted with the decision of milk or meat (to ensure it was kosher) and we went immediately with meat.  Mike, in fact, had a meat sampler (including grilled livers… and a few other delicious other meats) and I got a goulash (that had a unique, west indian flavor that I just loved).  They also gave us appetizer dips (one of which was pumpkin… MMM!) and ordered local wine. If you are ever in Jerusalem, just trust me, go to Rimon.

We also stopped for lunch at Babette, another local recommendation.  This is a very small restaurant dedicated to the art of belgian waffles.  Note the cinnamon cream cheese on the left and the chestnut cream on the right.  It was sensational.

Jerusalem as a whole was my favorite city, with so much fresh food, especially in the market.  The fruit and dried fruit and nuts were amazing, as was the rugallah and halvah (a fudge like food made from sesame that I love). 

Our final dinner was in Hotel Shalom in Jerusalem and the buffet was probably the best of the trip.

Overall, Israel was an amazing adventure in eating.

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