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Adventures of a Vet-Nomad

Tel-Aviv hip

ISRAEL | Monday, 3 February 2014 | Views [311]

This part of the story begins with food and ends with Arak. Fantastic flavoured anseed drink that the wonderful bar attendant mixed with melon liqour to ease my first taste.

But lets start with the food. After meeting my gorgeous mother and sister Dani at the appartment in Tel Aviv we went for a late-ish lunch of falafel; the natural initiation into Israeli food for Andrew. A recommended falafel store that also sold sabich and shakshuka provided a fantastic choice, with seats just outside for us to take our time with the complimentary pickled cabbage, fried eggplant and other salads to attempt to stuff into an already full pita of falafel, spice, chips and of course humous. 

What a blend of lifestyle Tel Aviv is! Mix the hip fashion and cafe ambience with accommodation that appears to be falling apart, electric cables taped to the outside of buildings, and dingy side alleys. Not to mention super secular women in knee high boots and short skirts, crossing paths with the ultra orthadox in their penguin suits and hats. Finally, add to that the confusion of languages. Of course, hebrew being the primary language spoken, followed closely by arabic, english, russian... and then any other language you choose! Thankfully one can get by with minimal to no hebrew knowledge, as demonstrated by my incredible fiance who we sent on an errand to get arak as it seemed to be the only beverage to momentarily ease the symptoms of the cold I developped following the 24 hour journey to Tel Aviv, and subsequently gave to Danielle as a thank you present for being such a great tour guide!

Our first day, Yom Shishi (friday), was spent casually exploring the carmel markets (best strawberries), Rothschild boulevard and Rabin square. We were lucky enough to be seated in a park where a group of Capoeira dancers were performing or practicing and playing drums and singing. A little later a fellow was practicing juggling vodka bottles and tall glasses, likely before manning a bar in the evening; he was very talented and definately made me feel like a cocktail! We walked from there to the beach, and saw Jaffa just after the sun set. Thus ended the excitement of our first day, as the hours of walking meant we were practically falling asleep; I can just imagine how that would end up if trying to cross the road over here! 

Day two was Yom Shabat. Started with a 'true' but incredibly overpriced and underinspiring Israeli breakfast at a nearby cafe. We spent a leisurely three hours at breakfast, skipped lunch and spent further time exploring. More about the food; dinner was at an incredible out of the way vegan restaurant where they made the best vegan burgers after fergburger (and thats saying a lot!). Also, the best service in Israel so far! The name of the place was Bar Kayma; hippy and gorgeous. From here we went to a little bar that had a live jazz band improvising. What atmosphere; I think nothing says 'cool' more than small bar with a talented band bursting out an improvisational jazz melody. Didn't stay forever there however, the drinks while delicious were rather overpriced; especially once you include the 10% tip; something that is still taking me a bit of time to get used to! I must say though, Tel Aviv is certainly not a town for sleeping. Even on a 'school night' walking the long way home at 12.30 people were walking around, drinking coffee and taking their dogs down to the street for a leg-stretch before bed.

Which brings me to day three in Tel Aviv. New week. Started with sahlab and a free tour around Jaffa; I think the history of the place deserves its own post! I shall have to dedicate this one to the food. Following the tour Andrew and I met up with Dani and Mum and went to "Dr Shakshuka" for lunch. Endless salad bar, bread, amazing humous (so I am told; my semi blocked nose unfortunately took away the majority of my ability to taste!), but the texture was perfect, A lovely shakshuka with chicken, a cous cous dish and a mystery dish that turned up on our table with spinach and some sort of meat log that was delish and devoured rapidly. 

And to complete the story with the Arak. Andrew and I were directed by a Jaffa local to a boutique beer store/bar in the Carmel Markets, where only Israeli beer is sold. We heeded her advice and had the pale ale on tap; Fat Cat (sounded like Fat Yak so I thought, hey, why not?). Yum, but whilst drinking and chatting to the bar-man he poured us a glass of Arak, mixed with melon. Well, what can I say; not only yum but suddenly I felt a renewed vigour (some may call it tipsiness but I still believe the Arak momentarily killed some of the bugs in my upper respiratory tract) that lasted until the point where I asked Andrew to go get Dani and I some more.

Thanks for reading, if you do.


Tags: arak, falafel, shakshuka, tel aviv


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