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eG Foodblog: Swisskaese - The Israeli Table - Not Just Felafel and Or


Susan in FL
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Oh Wow!!  The scenery, the food!!!!!!  I see pavement and buildings from most restaurants here!

I have to tell you that I felt sort of relaxed for the first time in a month. I really felt like I was on vacation somewhere.

Tonight, I am going to take you to my second favourite cafe in my town. I am also going to show you my favourite cafe in Hod HaSharon and David's home away from home.

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[Wow, I'm amazed the place is still in business after so many years, and might still be good! I'm sure you won't have what I had for dinner there: Grilled bull's testicles. Quite good! My parents had less "out there" food and felt their meals were very good, too.

You didn't try the tonsils? :raz:

You are a brave man. After eating some scary things in China and Japan in my pre-kosher days, I just don't have the stomach for that anymore.

I've always like innards, or at least since I was a little kid. Chicken livers, kidneys, etc.

I probably would have tried the tonsils if I had gone back a second time. :raz::laugh:

Pan, when are you going to come here and perform? Tapenade has connections and we are friends with several Baroque musicians. I'll take you to a Hungarian blintz restaurant......

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Thanks for the pics of the Halvah, Im drooling. ( I love it).

How are the prices there in comparrison to the US.  What is the exchange rate?

Thanks for blogging.!!

I will have to check the prices. I rarely buy halvah.

Whoops, my mistake. I meant the prices of all goods in comparison to the US. Is it expensive to live in Isreal? Also, do you normally work on Sunday?

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Thanks for the pics of the Halvah, Im drooling. ( I love it).

How are the prices there in comparrison to the US.  What is the exchange rate?

Thanks for blogging.!!

I will have to check the prices. I rarely buy halvah.

Whoops, my mistake. I meant the prices of all goods in comparison to the US. Is it expensive to live in Isreal? Also, do you normally work on Sunday?

Fruits and vegetables are cheaper than in the US and Canada. I can get artichokes for 4.99NIS kilo in the high season. I think the exchange rate is about 4.35 to the dollar. Kosher meat is a little less than in the States and Canada, but it is still expensive. I pay about 26NIS for a chicken.

Property is very expensive. Our apartment in Tel Aviv was 140 square meters (approx 1400 square feet) and it was worth a half a million USD. We rented the apartment.

A nice four bedroom single family home where we live costs between 650,000USD and 1 million USD. That is with a yard the size of a postage stamp. We hope to buy something next year. Rent is a lot less where we live now than in Tel Aviv.

Salaries are less than in the States, but I can't complain. I have a nice life.

I work Sunday to Thursdays. I travel to my company headquarters in Europe about every three months.

Appliances are more expensive here.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Can you ship us some of that cheese?  Please?  My Israeli dairy supply has stopped - and even at the best of times I can't get that variety. Beautiful.

The boutique dairies have been affected by this. One of your suppliers, Gad Dairies, is located in the North.

Have you carried anything from Nachshon Dairies?

Maybe I need to start a new business. Cheese broker.

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I recall reading somewhere that felafel is "Israel's answer to the hamburger."

Is it?  I assume you make your own?

And is it possible to tour Golda Meir's kitchen?  :wink:

I'm glad you're carrying on with your blog as planned.

P.S. Don't forget the fridge shot.

Believe it or not I have never tried to make felafel. There are so many places that make great felafel that I have never bothered.

Her kitchen table was used a lot. :wink:

I cleaned the fridge just for you. I will post a picture later.

Thanks for blogging! The last time I was in Israel (2003), I was so happy to have so much excellent falafel. It just isn't the same anywhere else (even L'As de Falefel in Paris). Could you show me a falafel sandwich and the inside of one of the balls? I feel like they have a different texture and color than other places.

Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.
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Those sheep's milk cheeses look delicious. Such a variety! And I agree with Anna N, that the combination of flavors in that salad (spinach and all the fruits) is very intriguing.

I really love this type of food and I don't cook it often enough. I looked up a recipe for Siniya on the web, and I'm going to make it sometime this week in honor of your blog :smile:

Thank you for inspiring me.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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A very fascinating blog. Love the cheeses and the sheep are so cute.

Isn't that an ancient olive tree with the goats?

Yes, it is an very old olive tree. I think they are very beautiful trees.

You just reminded me that I forgot to answer a question from the beginning of the blog.

Are the orange groves in town disappearing because of population growth and development of housing?  I remember that when I went away to college in Southern California, I could easily walk to orange groves my first year when I felt homesick.  By the time I graduated the only groves left were far enough away to require a bicycle ride.

Yes, they are. We are fortunate to have zoned farming areas in my town. I really like living around farming communities. You can see the pride the farmers take in their crops. Some of the farms in my area are organic farms.

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Those sheep's milk cheeses look delicious. Such a variety! And I agree with Anna N, that the combination of flavors in that salad (spinach and all the fruits) is very intriguing.

I really love this type of food and I don't cook it often enough. I looked up a recipe for Siniya on the web, and I'm going to make it sometime this week in honor of your blog  :smile:

Thank you for inspiring me.

Thanks Klary, that is very sweet.

I love using fruits in my dishes. I cook red mullet with a mango/orange sauce and use pomegranate molasses a lot in my cooking. I also make chicken and veal dishes with dried fruits.

One of my favourite chicken dishes is stuffed with lemons, oranges and ginger.

My all time favourite combination of fruits and meat is dates stuffed with ground lamb. :wub::wub:

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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wow, Michelle, your blog gets more interesting every day -- just like the previous one.

u pay 26 NIS for a whole chicken??!! it costs us double that, about 12 - 14 dollars CDN for a decent kosher chicken. meat is exorbitant. luckily, i don't have a whole family to feed or i would be bankrupt (or at least vegetarian!).

the selections of cheeses u get in Israel is mind-blowing. what we get here pales in comparison. most of it is packaged and well.....the mozzarella tastes like the meunster which tastes like the cheddar which tastes like the parmesan (IMO). :raz:

i had a question...do many Israelis incorporate typical Palestinian dishes within their diets? (i don't mean falafel or hummus b'tehina). israel is such a fascinating country as its citizens came from so many different countries and brought all their food customs.

well, looking forward to the rest of the week!

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gallery_28660_3420_174574.jpg

Something I have never seen before, a baby pomegranate bush. Anyone seen this before?

That is a very neat restaurant!

We have baby pomegranate bushes in our front yard; ours are ornamental, though.

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Maybe I need to start a new business. Cheese broker.

What a great idea!

We carry a lot of Israeli products - whatever we can get. This could be a whole new foodie career for you. I'll be your first customer :wink:

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wow, Michelle, your blog gets more interesting every day -- just like the previous one.

u pay 26 NIS for a whole chicken??!!  it costs us double that, about 12 - 14 dollars CDN for a decent kosher chicken.  meat is exorbitant.  luckily, i don't have a whole family to feed or i would be bankrupt (or at least vegetarian!).

the selections of cheeses u get in Israel is mind-blowing.  what we get here pales in comparison.  most of it is packaged and well.....the mozzarella tastes like the meunster which tastes like the cheddar which tastes like the parmesan (IMO).  :raz:

i had a question...do many Israelis incorporate typical Palestinian dishes within their diets?  (i don't mean falafel or hummus b'tehina).   israel is such a fascinating country as its citizens came from so many different countries and brought all their food customs. 

well, looking forward to the rest of the week!

I really have sticker shock on kosher products when I go visit my parents. We usually just eat fish when we visit them because I don't want them to spend so much money on kosher meat. They don't keep kosher.

Israel is an amazing melting pot. It is made of up of umpteenth generation Israelis, Israeli Arab Christians and Muslims, Palestinians, Druze, Bedouin and Jewish immigrants from every country imagineable....The whole of Europe and Eastern Europe, North Africa, South Africa, Central Africa, Central Asia, India, China, US, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, South America, Central America and the Middle East. That is a lot of food to choose from. I could do a blog for the whole year and still not show you everything.

So, to answer your question, yes, you will find that most Israelis incorporate Palestinian dishes. But, the thing about Palestinian dishes is that they are also the same dishes that Israelis, Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, and other Middle Eastern countries eat. Okay, there are a few spices that one country may use, that another country doesn't use, but they are very similar. Every country is very proud of their cuisine, especially in the Middle East. Don't mess with Mama. Mama makes the best.....I've seen a lot of arguments here and on eGullet about what is authentic hummous (Abu Gosh hummous vs. Galil hummous), siniya, etc. I like them all. :wink:

As for Israeli boutique cheeses, I have just shown you the tip of the iceberg. I so wanted to take you to the Galilee to some wineries and dairies, to Dalyat al-Karmil and go to some Druze restaurants and an amazing Arab restaurant in Wadi Ara called El Babour. I guess I will have to do another foodblog.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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As for Israeli boutique cheeses, I have just shown you the tip of the iceberg. I so wanted to take you to the Galilee to some wineries and dairies, to the Karmiel and go to some Druze restaurants and an amazing Arab restaurant in Wadi Ara called El Babour. I guess I will have to do another foodblog.

i am sure everyone will agree, yes u will have to do another blog!! :laugh:

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Enjoying reading Michelle's blog enormously but let me throw in one reminder here to those who may not be aware: Many of the very best cheese producing dairies, like many of the very best wines, and indeed the vast majority of the country's best restuarants are not kosher. Indeed, with the exception of one supermarket chain (Tiv Ta'am) all of the supermarkets are kosher and everything that enters there must be kosher but when it comes to the shuks and the upswing shops far from all is kosher, at this point in time fewer than 40% of the country maintaining kashrut on a full- or part-time basis.

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The Karel Berg market chain, which caters to Russian immigrants, is also pretty un-kosher... :wink:

I took a field trip to the Rishon LeZiyyon branch of Tiv Ta'am, once, with another American expat. It seemed like a giant Trader Joe's, with a cafe and a fast-food place, inside.

Predictably, we bought marshmallows and taco chips. Oh, and about ten kinds of Elite chocolate. :biggrin:

Any chance of seeing some eclectic Elite flavors, Michelle?

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Tonight we had dinner at a local cafe called Arnon and Tamar. They have nice sandwiches, salads, soups, pasta, quiches and desserts. They also sell desserts, homemade bread, biscuits, wine and cheeses. The staff is very friendly and it is has a nice atmosphere.

Tonight we both wanted foccacia sandwiches. I was going to have the spinach and mozzarella sandwich and David wanted the eggplant sandwich, but they were out of foccacia. :sad:

So we both had quiches. I had a sweet potato quiche and David had a mushroom and onion quiche. They were both very nice. I had fresh carrot juice and David had lemonade with spearmint. David drank his drink before he could take a picture. Men! :hmmm::rolleyes:

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Orange and Pumpkin seed biscuits and the ones on the right are savory poppyseed biscuits.

When we returned home, David surprised me with a new cookbook; just because. :wub:

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David's Mom is from Budapest. He is the Hungarian chef in the family.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Before I go to bed, I want to show you a few pictures of my hood. I explained earlier that my town is made up of five farming communities. So, the municipality decided to decorate the city with reminders of the crops by strategically placing fruit decorations around the city.

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Orange in the roundabout

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And a grapefruit

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And pomegranates

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This is a new bakery. Not the one I want Ling to see. I will show that in the next couple of days.

David's home away from home is an Italian cafe called Sissi's. It is run by a lovely Israeli couple that lived in Milano for about six years. They loved Italian food and coffee so much, they decided to open their own cafe. They have very nice salad, sandwiches, pasta and dessert. We decided to behave ourselves yesterday and only had an iced coffee.

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Some cakes at Sissi's

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Closeup

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Cool and refreshing on a warm summer night

Tomorrow....

A trip to Tel Aviv, yes Jason, there will be Shuk photos. And, a trip to Jaffo.

Lila Tov. Good night.

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Enjoying reading Michelle's blog enormously but let me throw in one reminder here to those who may not be aware:  Many of the very best cheese producing dairies, like many of the very best wines, and indeed the vast majority of the country's best restuarants are not kosher.  Indeed, with the exception of one supermarket chain (Tiv Ta'am) all of the supermarkets are kosher and everything that enters there must be kosher but when it comes to the shuks and the upswing shops far from all is kosher, at this point in time fewer than 40% of the country maintaining kashrut on a full- or part-time basis.

Thanks for mentioning that Daniel. I am not so strict about eating non-kosher Israeli cheeses. I do look at the ingredients on foreign cheeses.

I featured Tiv Ta'am in my previous blog. You can find most of the things Alina showed in her blog last week. It is primarily a Russian supermarket. I can only buy a few things there. They sell pork products.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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You chose carrot juice over lemonana?? :laugh:

I love the fruit sculptures! Can't wait to see some pictures of Jaffo - I have very fond memories of strolling around town, enjoying a fresh hot borekah - I think you should have a borekah tomorrow.

Lila tov!

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