Wednesday, September 5, 2007

'Bits & Morsels'

A view of Tel Aviv.

"Bits and Morsels" by Jordana Z, is an ongoing collection of information from the world of the foodies and foodblogs:

Come fly with me. For the past two weeks I've been traveling around Israel seeing the sights and exploring its flavors. For the next two Bits and Morsels I will focus on my Israeli adventure.

I spent four days in Tel Aviv and got a small but very intense taste of the local restaurant scene. One of the things that makes Tel Aviv unique is that there are very old neighborhoods, such as Jaffo, neighboring modern cosmopolitan areas.

Top to bottom: The outdoor lobby lounge overlooking the Mediterranean, the perfect place for breakfast; My comfy room at the Hilton; Old Jaffa at night.
I stayed at the Tel Aviv Hilton. The Hilton is on the beach and walking distance to almost everything. One of the highlights of my day was having breakfast in the outdoor lobby lounge overlooking the Mediterranean.

For dinner, I discovered two restaurants in Tel Aviv which quickly became my favorites, Café Noir and Kai.

If you are craving chicken schnitzel then definitely head to Café Noir. The atmosphere there is as relaxed and cozy as the food is good. The best way to start a meal is with a fig martini and the chicken liver pate. Then move onto the chicken schnitzel which is served with a chilled Israeli salad. For dessert, have the crème brulee, which is meant for sharing and served in an elongated olive dish.

Kai Sushi turned out to be one of the more unique sushi experiences I've had. The sushi is served on a conveyor belt, so no waiters to contend with, plus you have the added bonus of seeing what your food looks like before you decide what to order. The bar at Kai is a tight fit so you can see the sushi chefs preparing everything as it goes onto the belt. Each plate is a different color representing a different price point. At the end of your dinner you simply count each colored plate and that’s the sum of your meal.
Above: Kai and its conveyer belt; My favorite roll was the tuna mango roll. Simple but delicious!

Clockwise from left:
Café Noir; Fig martini with fresh figs; Chicken schnitzel; Café Noir's crème brulee, served in an elongated olive dish; The bar scene.
Bring on the comfort food! Now that summer is officially over, it’s time for heartier winter fare. Nothing is heartier or more comforting than some high quality macaroni and cheese. Gridskipper.com has made a list of the 20 best places to go for your mac and cheese fix. They also compiled a very appetizing macaroni photo gallery. [Gridskipper.com] & [Macaroni and cheese food porn]

Goodbye to boiling water. Next time you want to make some pasta try this absorption technique instead of cooking your pasta in boiling water. Simply sauté the pasta with some garlic and olive oil and then slowly add salted water or stock.

Goodbye to boiling water. [The Paupered Chef]
Add the liquid in small amounts and wait until it cooks out before you add more. This technique will give dry pasta the texture and taste of fresh because you won’t lose any of the pasta starch when it’s boiled. The biggest plus is that you don’t have to wait for the water to come to a boil. [The Paupered Chef]

Stuffed grape leaves a.k.a Dolmas have always been a mystery to me. I have never been able to get a straight answer about what exactly is wrapped up inside of stuffed grape leaves and therefore the proper technique for making them. The traditional Dolmas recipe calls for ground lamb, rice and some variety of nut. Check out this recipe along with some very delicious photos at Habeas Brulee.com. [Habeas Brulee]

The list of endangered species keeps on growing. Eels are now officially endangered. This is due to a combination of pollution, over fishing and global warming. Changes in currents and salt content of the water is confusing the eels, making it more difficult for the eels to mature and lay eggs in the right location. Eels, unlike salmon, are difficult to farm and there is not a standard technique for farming them. [The Japan Times]
Mediterranean sunset.

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