Thursday, December 21, 2006

Food Report

Since we know that my blog is just a thinly veiled excuse to discuss my food discoveries in a new country, I'd like to tell you of today's fun. We set out to sister Sarah's house today. The plan was to visit with our cousins at her house. They live in Haifa and would come about an hours journey to Sarah's house and we'd all meet up there. Leah is our cousin on my father's side of the family and she has 2 grown children, Sima, who lives in Haifa and Arye, who lives on Kibbutz Gezer which is down the hill from Jerusalem. We arrived late - it was the third day in a row that I was setting out on a driving adventure out of J'lem and the thrill was no longer there. We got up slowly - Akiva slept late, which was lovely and left the house at about 9:50, arriving at about 10:40. My parents were there, as well as Sarah and her youngest, Noam (Benjy and Elisheva both in the army, Elisheva went in last Thursday, and Michael working), and Leah with Sima and her husband, Yoki and their daughter Nomi. Aryeh popped in with his wife Irit which was really nice as we don't see them too often - just don't know them that well, they're a bit older than me and we haven't spent that much time together.

We talked, drank tea/coffee, ate some cake and other nibbles and covered the basics from Naomi's upcoming bat mitzvah in Haifa in Feb to how we're all doing to how Leah's health is and so forth. Then we covered humous in Acco - they feel they know the best place and said that we should come and check it out. Ira and I are planning a little trip on our own sometime in the next few months and since there is no snow in the "alp'im," we're thinking of staying in country and doing some hiking and eating humous and finding interesting "tzimmerim/b&b's" to stay in.

We left, all children in tow (Gabe had spent the night and petitioned for another night but was defeated) and headed on home. Inspiration hit that there was good sahleb on the way home that brother Jonathan had often spoken of. We called him and he told us where to generally look for the sahleb. He said, "look for a sign on the side of the road and then keep your eye out for a white van, sometimes he's there and sometimes not, you have to be lucky." We headed down the road and decided to stop at a different van that we had seen on the side of the road advertising "bourekas turki." Now, for those who don't know, bourekas turki are very special, oversized bourekas, sort of loopy in size and filled with all standard types of fillings. Ira went over to the van, practicing whatever he felt he needed to try out in order to make the order. Now picture that this van is a small, rundown sort of vehicle, on the side of a dusty road that is between Rosh Ha'ayin and Shoham (where Ariel Blumenthal lives). This road has some quarries on one side and for many years after Sarah and Michael first moved to their town, it was literally a back road that one would drive on the way to their house from J'lem, passing quarries, big trucks with big loads and these roadside vans selling lunch to the truckers. It's not the kind of place that one will find what Ira found, a proprieter who spoke perfect English to him. Turns out that he's always liked the Eng language, specifically American style and has studied Eng for a long time and looks for opportunities to speak and here was Ira, happy to speak to him. Anyway, he served up the boureka - potato filled, crusty, cut into pieces and with a blob of hot sauce on the side, a few olives and a hard boiled egg on top, liberally sprinkled with salt and pepper. It was delish and much more digestible than most bourekas which are quite frankly too greasy and too heavy and definitely not as fresh. A tall glass of homemade lemonade to chase it, and for after, we all tasted malabi, which is a relative to sahleb but firmed up into pudding form and served with the usual chaser of sugar syrup poured on top and chopped nuts and something wildly fuschia colored on top. Fun for all.

We continued our drive home and actually noted Jonathan's sahleb van but decided that we'd leave that for the next time. And that's the food report for the day. About to eat a much simpler dinner of salad greens and some toast with avocado. Happy 7th day of Hannukah.

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