Last night, I landed in Montreal after two weeks in my homeland, Israel. Armed with a kilogram of hummus and some of the best vegan cheeses I ever tasted, I was greeted by a friend, a bouquet of flowers, and an empty apartment. There have been changes around here, changes I’m not quite ready to talk about publicly yet – but suffice to say that your love and support is much appreciated at this time. But most importantly for our purposes, I came home armed with snaps from great meals, memories of new and exciting flavours, and a ton of inspiration. So stay tuned for great things to come!
The first great meal I had on this trip was at what is arguably the best hummus joint in Tel Aviv, Hummus Abu Adham. I arrived there with a friend on a Wednesday evening to what looked like an empty restaurant, only to watch the people come pouring in within half an hour of our entry. This may not be the cleanest or fanciest joint on earth, but what it lacked in charm it made up for in great hummus – smooth, with foul and mesabacha (which they call mesahwasha, and which you can learn to make like a pro by buying my e-book).
Next followed a visit to Albi, a new Middle Eastern restaurant in Beer Sheva. The roasted eggplant here came drizzled with tahini, colourful cherry tomatoes, garlic and whole chickpeas. The hummus came topped with plump, juicy sauteed mushrooms. You can imagine my response.
I visited Wadi Attir, a Bedouin sustainability project aimed at teaching the young generation healthy eating and agricultural habits, all based on traditional Bedouin practices. We saw goats and fields of medicinal herbs, and I learned that farms where animals have lots of room to roam and eat actually smell nice. Word.
I had an amazing vegan breakfast at Tevale in Tel Aviv, a chain of vegan cafes and restaurant. First off, the fact that Israel has a chain of vegan restaurants is, in itself, incredible. Second, their chalva acai smoothie bowl was possibly the best blended food I ever had. I ended the trip with a visit to the Wine Festival in Beer Sheva, an annual event now in its second year. Located by a renovated railroad car from the turn of the last century, the setting couldn’t have been more magical – with loads of twinkling lights, paved cobblestones and trees. And with an entry ticket of 50 NIS (equivalent to about $13USD) that gets you unlimited tastings and a brand new wine glass, this was also quite the deal.
Not pictured here, but worth noting: an amazing meal at the Otentit in Beer Sheva, a great market-driven restaurant with food that tastes like your grandma made it but that looks like it came from the kitchen of a 5-star chef restaurant; a latte from LoveEat in Tel Aviv, one of my favourite spots to grab a coffee and sit down for a long study session or business meeting; and gluten-free chocolate cookies from Seeds, a vegan patisserie in Tel Aviv.
How have you been the last two weeks?