- Written by Buzzy Gordon
Dixie Celebrates Second Annual Burger Festival
The cool, slightly dark interior of the Dixie Grill Bar is an inviting place, especially when entering from the heat of a summer’s day. It is also handsome, with beckoning booths and a gleaming, well-stocked bar.
The occasion of my visit was the restaurant’s summer hamburger festival, being held this year from July 25 through August 18. During the festival, seven special burgers are added to the usual Dixie menu of four burgers; additionally, two of the usual burgers are “supersized” during the festival.
Another feature of the festival is that each burger on the special menu is paired with a “chaser” of liquor (for a small additional charge). As an added bonus, milk shakes are discounted when ordered with a festival burger.
Along with the regular English menu, we were given the separate festival menu, the cover of which is entirely in English. Imagine our surprise, therefore, when we opened the menu pamphlet and found it was all in Hebrew. When we asked for the English festival menu, we were told there is none.
Our friendly waiter did his best to explain the festival burgers in English, but they are a bit complicated; if I were not able to read and understand the Hebrew menu, I would not have gotten the total picture. My advice, therefore, is that at least one of the members of your party be capable of fathoming a Hebrew menu if you want to get the most out of the remaining days of the festival.Knowledge of the local language will also come in handy when it comes to ordering one of Dixie’s special summer cocktails; the regular alcohol menu is in English, but not the card on the table listing the summer cocktails.
The drink we chose from the summer cocktail list -- a watermelon daiquiri, garnished with a small wedge of the red fruit -- was sweet and refreshing; the caipirinha, from the regular cocktail menu, was a particularly lemony version of the Brazilian classic.
With the drinks came an exceptionally well outfitted condiment tray: Heinz ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, horseradish sauce, and authentic Tabasco sauce.
We elected to share three of the festival burgers: the mac and cheese, the entrecôte burger and the blue cheese burger.
The first burger -- smothered in a melted blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese -- was perched atop macaroni and cheese that had been shaped into a pasta patty and fried, replacing the traditional bun. This is old-fashioned American comfort food at its best.
According to the menu, this burger comes with french fries, although you may substitute for all designated sides. We followed our waiter’s suggestion and chose the green salad, which was just arugula leaves, in an Asian-accented dressing.
The entrecôte burger was on half a bun under a portobello mushroom and grilled onion bathed in a rich stock beef fortified with bone marrow. The quality of the meat and the sophistication of the ingredients make this a gourmet burger. It comes with steak fries on bed of greens.
The blue cheese burger with pear poached in wine is also bunless, and on a salad of romaine lettuce hearts, bean sprouts and shredded cabbage with assorted nuts in a soy-based dressing. On the whole, this dish represents a nice interplay of flavors.
There is a special festival dessert, designed to mimic a hamburger order: a sandwich of chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream (the burger), with meringue chips (french fries), strawberry jam (ketchup) and passion fruit syrup (mustard). It is not bad, and should appeal to kids. After a substantial meal, however, we found that the thick vanilla milk shake -- in a glass decorated with swirls of chocolate syrup -- was enough of a sweet finale.
Clearly , Dixie Grill Bar , one of the restaurants of celebrity chef Haim Cohen, gives pride of place to its juicy and flavorful hamburgers, both during its summer festival and throughout the year.Photo Asaf Razon
- Written by Buzzy Gordon
Pastel: The Art of Dining
The arts complex that houses Israel’s Opera House, the Cameri Theater and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is also home to Pastel, winner of Idea Tops’ 2014 International Space Design Award for the best designed restaurant in the world.
Fortunately, the stunning restaurant can rely not only on its impressive décor but also on the artistic creativity of Chef Hillel Tavakuli to attract customers.
It is not just the kitchen that brims with talent. Pastel recently recruited mixologist Shir Dagan from Aria to revamp its cocktail menu. It is with good reason that the full name of the restaurant is Pastel Brasserie and Bar.
The tempting selection of specialty cocktails features the eponymous Pastel Muse, which combines gin with vermouth, lime juice, tonic water and berries, resulting in a slightly astringent drink that is bracing and refreshing. The intriguing Guatemala Sour, meanwhile, blends quality rum with classic sour mix and orange, for a complex citrusy cocktail that is both sweet and tangy.
Another drink with a Latin American pedigree is the Mexicana -- tequila, lime, passion fruit syrup, chili -- an explosion of sweet, sour and spicy in a martini glass. For those who want the experience without the alcohol, Dagan whips up a mean “mocktail” -- berries, pineapple, passion fruit, cucumber and mint -- that is a terrific thirst quencher for Tel Aviv’s hot summer.
A meal at Pastel starts with a basket of fresh, whole grain breads, studded with olives or nuts, accompanied by a tomato salsa in olive oil. The salsa is so tasty you have to be careful not to fill up prematurely.
Our first appetizer was the beetroot gazpacho with smoked labaneh, blue cheese, caramelized hazelnuts and melon balls. Poured tableside by the waitress from a dainty pitcher, this variation on the famous cold soup was a symphony of flavors.
A popular appetizer at Pastel is the chicken liver pâté -- a generous, decadently rich slab of the delicacy atop a toasted brioche. The pâté itself was paired with an intriguing pear chutney, which nicely cut the extreme richness of the star of this dish.
Another of Patel’s classic appetizers is the tuna sashimi: slices of the glistening, burgundy-hued fish were draped over pieces of green apple and cucumber (or avocado, when in season), atop a curry vinaigrette. The astoundingly fresh fish melts in the mouth, and the interplay of flavors and textures -- helped along with garnishes of coriander and chili, and the crunch of scattered chopped nuts -- is extraordinary.
When the time came for main courses, we discovered that Pastel’s special pasta, formerly kept in reserve for vegetarians, had been deservedly promoted to the printed menu. The mafaldine in cream of pea sauce with broccoli and feta cheese rivals the best pasta course any dedicated Italian restaurant could offer. The wavy ribbon pasta itself is distinctive enough, but the combination of the sauce with the al dente cruciferous vegetable, the salty cheese, toasted pine nuts and gremolata (a pesto-like condiment of lemon zest, garlic and parsley) truly made the dish unforgettable. (It is available also as a vegan option: the kitchen would use olive oil instead of butter and substitute for the cheese.)
While Pastel has expanded its vegetarian options, carnivores need not worry: the grilled beef fillet in cream and brandy sauce on a bed of spinach will more than satisfy any steak aficionado. The tender, flavorful fillet is accompanied by superb mashed potatoes, as well as a tower constructed of a bone filled with succulent marrow and crowned with portobello mushrooms.
Fish and seafood are more than adequately represented as well. The seafood gnocchi pairs soft pillows of the potato pasta with shrimp, calamari and mussels swimming in a delicious sauce redolent with garlic.
Finally, the dessert menu is constantly being tweaked, but Pastel’s signature dessert bears the evocative name “floating islands”, whose exotic components include strawberry sorbet, amarena cherries, caramelized pistachio, soft meringue, kadaif and rose malabi. Once again, there is tableside decanting, this time of the malabi, to create an “island” of multi-layered confection. The kadaif, uniquely shaped in a hoop completes the tableau of a dessert that looks almost too pretty to eat.
Chocolate lovers will be delighted with the Ferrero Rocher -- a large candy shell studded with hazelnuts praliné encasing layers of dark chocolate and milk chocolate mousse, with additional hazelnut granite for extra crunch.
Shaul Hamelekh Blvd. 27, Tel Aviv
Tel. (03) 644-7441
Photos Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Merom HaGalil
Festival Between the Vineyards 2016 -Tu B'Av at Merom Hagalil ( from 18 to 26.8.16)
Tu B'Av - a Jewish traditional holiday in which the young Israeli unmarried woman, are dancing in the vineyards, in full moon in order to "Catch" a groom.
There is no better place to celebrate this holiday than Merom Hagalil area. The area offers lovely country side accommodation, located between vineyards with the harvest fragrance, breathtaking scenery along with the Festival "Between the Vineyards" organized by "Merom Hagalil" Regional Council.
The Festival will take place between 18 to 26.8.16 celebrating a decade of activates with eight days and nights of various events: Festival Opening night, with the two giant Israeli singers- Shlomi Shabat & Rita-At Ein Hozim forest. A sunrise performance of Miri Mesika overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights at Livnim Amphitheater. Two classics on one stage-Avraham Fried & Yoram Gaon at Ein Hozim. A special show At Amirim village- "G'hbls Reggae from the North Zion". "Peter-Pan" will take the kids and youth, to a magical tour, in the woods with Tinkerbell and friends. Street Fairs, local musical events, tours to wineries and vineyards, Festival special menus in the local restaurants, lots of activities for the family all accompanied with good wine and romance..
For tickets and information please call 04-6919807 & 04-6220066
The Festival website with a full program and options: www.2beav co.il
On-line ticket purchasing: keshet.smarticket.co.il
- Written by Waldorf Astoria
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Introduces Its Latest Restaurant and Bar
The Garden Terrace
Gourmet Tapas, Cocktails and Cigars - The Garden Terrace Presents New Approach to Relaxation in Jerusalem This Summer
(JERUSALEM- July 11, 2016) The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem announces the official opening of its latest culinary offering - The Garden Terrace.
Located on the roof-top of the historic restored building, The Garden Terrace takes advantage of the cool air of Jerusalem’s evenings while ensuring a sense of quiet seclusion just above the city’s downtown areas.
Featuring a fully-stocked bar with newly designed cocktail menu and an internationally gathered cigar collection, the menu for The Garden Terrace has been designed by the hotel’s Executive Chef Itzik Barak presenting a wide variety of Mediterranean-inspired tapas dishes.
Diners are invited to select from a range of dishes - from Veal Spareribs to Fresh Fish Ceviche and Chef Barak’s take on traditional meatballs which are battered in a beer-infused tempura and served with pepper cream. The all-Kosher menu relies on the freshest ingredients and highest quality meats and fish all available to be combined with fine wines, liquors and drinks mixed to order.
Designing the menu and the overall experience has been a project months in the making with the goal of making The Garden Terrace a sought after location in Jerusalem for the ideal evening of relaxation.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem has already assumed a reputation as one of the world’s best luxury hotels, including being named as the top hotel in the Middle East by readers of Conde Nast Traveller Magazine. The Garden Terrace is the third restaurant located in the hotel alongside The Palace and The Kings Court, both of which have received acclaim for introducing a new style of dining to Jerusalem.
“The Garden Terrace introduces a new level of culture to the city that puts delicious food and drink at the forefront all presented in a setting that is uniquely Jerusalem,” says Guy Klaiman, General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. “We look forward to seeing this quickly becoming a landmark to be appreciated by anyone looking for a quality, relaxing and enjoyable evening.”
The Garden Terrace at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is open Sunday-Thursday 6:00 PM to 11:00PM.
For advance registrations (recommended) please call 02-5423333.
- Written by Buzzy Gordon
July is Chefs and Beer Month at Porter & Sons
Porter and Sons, the restaurant whose slogan is Kitchen and Beer, is hosting a special Chefs and Beer festival this month, featuring new dishes created by four guest chefs, with beer pairings specially selected to complement each dish. The restaurant, with 120 kinds of domestic and imported beer on tap and in bottles, has a rich tradition of pairing beers and ale with food.
Chefs and Beer month is being held in cooperation with Israel Beer Breweries Ltd Carlsberg, brewer and importer of many of the country’s leading beers and ales. The beer pairings were conceived by IBBL Carlsberg in conjunction with Itai Laifer, manager of Porter and Sons.
The chefs for this event, who represent some of Tel Aviv’s most popular restaurants, are:
Avivit Priel, of Ouzeria
David Almakias, of David and Yossef
Orel Kimchi, of Popina
Guy Mualem, of Porter and Sons
The dish created by Ms. Priel is lamb tartare with freekeh (green wheat) and Tassos olives, garnished with chili peppers and topped with yogurt dressing. The perfectly seasoned raw lamb is meant to be wrapped in accompanying fresh lettuce leaves. The beer paired with the lamb tartare is Jacobean saaz blonde, a Danish ale.
The dish devised by Almakias is a salad of pulled lamb shank with mixed greens, Thai okra, shimeji mushrooms, asparagus and peanuts in a spicy lime vinaigrette. There is a very nice interplay of flavors going on in this dish, reminiscent of a Thai salad, which is well-suited to warm weather. It is paired with Leffe brown, a Belgian dark ale, selected for its full body that stands up to the spiciness of the dish.
The dish from Popina chef Orel Kimchi is smoked asado in a bourbon and beet barbecue sauce, with cornbread. The beef short ribs were cooked sous vide, so they came out tender and flavorful, in a sauce that enhanced the slightly fatty meat without or overwhelming it. The cornbread was also moist, having been soaked in a sauce with a touch of sriracha. The asado is paired with Guinness, for its familiar bold flavor that is strong enough for the pungency of barbecue without adding extra body to the very substantial beef dish.
Guy Mualem returns to the kitchen of Porter and Sons to create his mussels in heavy cream with tomatoes, green onions, herbs and Hoegaarden. The mussels, cooked perfectly in the beer and cream sauce seasoned with thyme, tarragon, coriander and mustard, melted in the mouth. This dish is paired with, not surprisingly, Hoegaarden. According to Laifer, this wheat beer spiced with coriander seeds and peels of Curaçao oranges is ideal for the hot Israeli climate.
Porter and Sons’ complimentary house beer bread comes in very handy to mop up the delicious sauce.
Dessert continues the beer pairing theme: a wedge of Porter and Sons’ New York cheesecake served with a shot glass of Leffe Ruby, a beer flavored with red berries that evokes the sweetness of the fruit without losing its essence as a beer. A nice extra touch is a scoop of pearls of gelatin flavored with the unique beer.
Porter and Sons’ Chefs and Beer dinners are served nightly for the first three weeks of this month, commencing at 19.00. The dinners are a la carte, and course may be combined with items from the regular menu. The beers are available in regular full-sized glasses or special tasting sizes.
Porter & Sons
Ha’arba’a Street 14, Tel Aviv
Tel. (03) 624-4355