Texas BBQ- A home away from home

Deep in the hectic heart of Tel Aviv among the traffic, bustling cafes, and metropolis lies this southern pearl. Coming from Texas ourselves just word of this “so called” Texas BBQ in Tel Aviv in Ramat Hahayal lit up our hungry hearts. We must admit we were pretty skeptical at first, but were surprised to discover this gem in our backyard.

IMG-20150224-WA0015

As we first walked in we noticed the atmosphere was a little off beat as the country music was more resembling of the old time classics and less like that of the modern country that you’d most likely hear in the states and in particular, the south. Nevertheless, the service was great and the atmosphere was reminiscent of the bbq joints we so fondly yearn for. With a “Daon’t mess with Texas” sign, wooden benches, Texas shirt wearing staff, the state silhouette throughout, and last, but certainly not least the mouth watering classic bbq aroma of nostalgia, we felt right at home as if we were back in the lone star state. We were so excited walking in that we almost forgot about the food!

Sitting down with our menus we first noticed they had almost all of the options we were hoping for. For the sides there was the familiar mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked potatoes, as well as the unexpected French fries. As far as the bbq there were all the familiar options minus the pork products, but we were informed this would be making its appearance soon. There were reasonable prices from 60-80 NIS, free cornbread with any order,3 difference bbq sauces, a close attempt at the famous Utah fry sauce, and free refills of Texas sweet teas. Yeeeeeeha we were ready to order!

IMG-20150224-WA0018

We decided to order sweet tea, brisket, short ribs, smoked chicken, fries, a baked potato, and coleslaw.We loved that our food came on a classic sheet of brown paper like in Texas and that it came pretty timely. As we were fixin’ to eat we unbuckled our belts and finally dug in y’all! Especially delicious, hands down, was the meat and in particular the short rib which was fall of the bone terrific.

We did however, save enough room for dessert. They didn’t have our favorite classic bbq staple, pecan pie, but we settled for the surprisingly good red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Sadly there was no room for the milk and cookies that were also an option.

IMG-20150224-WA0016

Aside from the Israeli tasting pickles, and lack of our favorite Texas beers there were no complaints and just dirty fingers to lick.We sit idly by waiting for our next visit to our home away from home.

Average Price:60-80 NIS

Address: Habarzel 7

Hours: Sunday-Saturday 12PM-11PM

This blog post was guest written by two close friends of the blog Alon and Shira. Alon grew up in Haifa, Israel but lived in Houston, Texas for a few years. Alon currently studies at Ben Guiron University in Beer Sheva. Shira is a true home grown Texan who made aliyah over two years ago and is living and studying in Tel Aviv.

Taam Hachayim- CLOSED

1842445-18

In the past few years, a new trend has hit Tel Aviv and is taking over the White City. Organic vegan food is the new “it” food in Tel Aviv.   Even though there have been many vegan options available in Tel Aviv, only recently are we seeing this trend at its full force. Since the Mid 1980’s, Taam Hacahyim has been one of the trend setters in the vegan café scene in Tel Aviv.

1842428-18Located on busy Ben Yehuda street right near the beach, the café is owned and managed by the Hebrew Israelite community. The restaurant is very spacious; it is divided between the restaurant itself and an intimate art gallery. They offer organic vegan food, low in sodium, which is made  fresh daily. Their extensive menu of hot dishes include such delicious options as lasagna, tofu dishes, soups, salad combinations, raw dishes, veggie burgers and sandwiches.

IMG_2939There is a set meal option which I recommend, includes a main course (choosing between vegetarian shawarma, steak vegan, tofu teriyaki and others), rice or potatoes, salad and a roll.  Try one of the pies – among my favorites are the tofu pie with is served with tomato sauce, and the spinach pie with fresh vegetables with your choice of  garlic sauce, tofu, and mustard.

They offer some  amazing vegan desserts that both healthy and delicious.  Among them are soya ice cream, chocolate cake and their tasty smoothies.

taam-hachaim-tel-aviv-1423530727

What keeps bringing back people to this restaurant is the atmosphere. The staff is super friendly and helpful in every way possible, going out of their way to help “non-vegan” customers with their order.

The restaurant vibes works perfectly with the organic vegan food that they serve. Every Thursday night at 8PM, the restaurant host Jazz and Blues concerts.

Order: The Tofu Pie served with warm tomato sauce. This dish will have you coming back for more.

Average Price:50 NIS

Address: Ben Yehuda 43

Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 10AM-9PM. Thursday 10AM-Midnight and Friday 10AM-2PM

Kosher

Los Burning Tacos – Bringing the Flavors of Mexico to Tel Aviv

10897028_896446837062074_6298001272487981057_n

After the increasing popularity of Mexican restaurants worldwide in the past five years, it’s about time that we have Mexican food options in Tel Aviv. One of the more intriguing Mexican options is Los Burning Tacos. They offer a creative and fresh take on Mexican street food.

Los Burning Tacos, located on Allenby street right across the Carmel Shuk, is inspired by El Diabo in Brooklyn,  NY, which helped with the design of the Tel Aviv restaurant and also helped with two recipes that are served at Los Burning Tacos.  The restaurant is not that big, but the staff is very friendly and gives personal attention to each customer.
10414544_777352905638135_2306605570246770628_n

After receiving my order, I talked with the owners, who explained they came up with the idea of opening their restaurant after successfully running the Teder “pop up” bar last summer. Their restaurant has been gaining popularity since they opened their doors..

Los Burning Tacos’ menu includes most of the normal Mexican options available in most Mexican restaurants – such as enchiladas and quesadilla. However, their tacos and burritos are much the rave. Mexican Ceviche (36 shekels), taco or burrito with chicken, fish, beef or shrimp (34-47 shekels) and more are among the many dishes and specials that they offer. If you are looking for starters, they offer nachos with salsa (17 shekels), Mexican corn (17 shekels) and other affordable options.

1975005_894252157281542_7529775917963858533_n

Besides their delicious food, they also have a full bar which includes draft beer, Arak, whisky and other alcoholic beverages. I recommend ordering the Strong Bloody Mary or their tasty and authentic Burning Margarita, each priced at 31 NIS.

e8d0d-taco4

Order: Chicken Taco, which is served with boiled chicken and lots of lime and cilantro. Another excellent dish that I highly recommend is the fish tacos which are induced with jalapeno and lime sauce. Either of these dishes cost you between 15-30 NIS.

Average price: 35-50 NIS

Address: Allenby 47

Hours: SundayFriday 12Pm-2AM, Saturday 7PM-Til the last customer

Not Kosher

Cafe Kaymak- Unique Vegetarian Cafe in the South of Tel Aviv

drom-hair-6

During the past few years, healthy eating has taken over Tel Aviv.  The vast majority of cafes in and around Tel Aviv have started to offer more and more vegetarian and vegan options on their menu. While many cafes only offer limited vegetarian options,  Café Kayamak offers one of the best and varied vegetarian meals in Tel Aviv.

Cafe Kaymak, who opened their doors in 2009, is a vegetarian coffee shop that specializes in ethnic cooking. Recently, this small coffee shop has became a popular, trendy spot for the younger crowd in Tel Aviv. All their fresh ingredients are bought directly from the nearby shuk.

1393650_1005530556129032_4793867465514430057_n

Cafe Kaymak is famous for its breakfast dishes and its Friday mornings specials. Saturday nights the coffee shop hosts a live music show. The name of the cafe come from the word ‘Kaymak’ which is Turkish slang for the French term ‘creme de la creme’.

The Café can sit up to 30 customers at one time. The staff is very friendly but don’t expect a quick meal. Like their regular customers, the staff tends to be laid back and your order might take longer than expected.

1349779347380

Though their menu changes every day, there are a few dishes that are offered daily. Some of these dishes include cooked Jerusalem artichoke casserole, different stews such as lentil stew with dried fruit, black bean stew with soy protein and roasted pumpkin. Among their most popular dishes are their Indian style dishes,  which are based on cashew cream, cream and/or peanuts. They offer healthy delicious desserts with their most famous dessert being the Carrot cake.

Recommended dishes: – Vegan bean soup served with rice and their famous hummus Abu Dhabi.

km3

My favorite dish: Their couscous is cooked to perfection with different fresh vegetables . You will think that you are back in Morocco eating local couscous.

Price:30NS – 40NIS

Address: Levinsky 49, Shuk Levinsky

Hours: SundayThursday 8:30AM-1:00AM, Friday 8:30AM-4:00PM and Saturday 7:30PM-11:30PM

Mila Bar- Its 5 pm and its Happy Hour Somewhere

10362776_925961957422203_7243023866068297054_o

Until recently, most Tel Aviv bars did not have a happy hour special. Unlike American business culture, where after work you grab some drinks and food, in Tel Aviv, people head home and then have drinks after dinner. However, recently, the happy hour scene has erupted in Tel Aviv. One of my favorite happy hours bars is Mila Bar.

Mila Bar is located in the heart of Dizengoff street, next to the corner of Ben Gurion and Dizengoff.  In Tel Aviv, where there are so many options where to start your night of drinking, if you don’t have Mila Bar as your destination, chances are that you probably won’t end up there. Over a year ago, my friends and I were looking for an early happy hour and randomly found Mila Bar. We have been spreading the word about their happy hour specials ever since.

10974602_922547501096982_2978960553495695357_o

In the past year, Mila Bar has a made a name for themselves, becoming one the trendier bars on the Dizengoff bar scene. The crowd varies per night, but usually it is a mix of locals after work, tourists and lots of first dates (I personally took my girlfriend here once for a date). The staff is very friendly and works quickly when the bar is full with customers. They are packed every night and it is tough to find a spot if you get to the bar after 9 pm.

Their 1+1 happy hour specials are well advertised throughout the bar. Opening in the early evening and going til 9:30 pm, their drinks are “buy one get the next one free”. They also offer happy hour food specials that are very tasty and compliment the drinks.

Their happy hour drinks special menu includes varies of draft beer, bottled beer, cocktails and seasonal cocktails.

1002926_690140097671058_1824505985_n

Address: 174 Dizengoff

Hours: MondayThursday 5PM-3AM, SaturdaySunday 5PM-3AM

Ratzon Falafel- Among the best falafel found in Tel Aviv for only 6 shekels

פלאפל רצוןWalking the lively streets of Tel Aviv, I always look for the best deals available for the Israeli homegrown street food called “falafel”. Different locations around Tel Aviv offer falafel at the lowest prices found in the city. After passing Ratzon Flaffel numerous times and not stopping because my lack of patience with the long line, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

109507_800_600

Ratzon Falafel is located on the busy street of King George. Arriving right before the busy lunch crowd, this falafel stand looks like almost every falafel stand around Israel. There is one difference here though – the price. A falafel costs only 6 NIS. The owner, Liron, serves each customer with his own “personal masterpiece in a pita”. Each serving comes in a fresh homemade pita bread with hummus and 5 or 6 falafel balls, which are made to perfection. Inside the pita bread is Israeli salad with cabbage and topped it off with Tehina or Amba.

Order: Falafel, It’s the only thing on the menu and you will thank me.

Address: King George 17

Hours: SundayThursday 9AM-7:30PM, Friday 9AM-3PM

Kosher