Visiting the Chinese Wall in Tel Aviv

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The Chinese Wall (Hachoma Hasinit)

20160110_133308Lots and lots of people on social media have asked me and many of the foodies in my group, where does one get authentic Chinese food? As a kosher food eater, the options are quite limited. When I was growing up in Jerusalem, there was an amazing Chinese restaurant called Yosi Peking(for those of you who remember), and they were as close to authentic kosher Chinese food could find in Israel. Sadly, they shut down (please come back one day!) and my life went on without knowing that there was a hidden gem in Tel Aviv that serves authentic Chinese food! Once I heard about it, I had to go!

20160110_135041Welcome Hasinit (Kosher Rabbanute Tel Aviv) opened up in 1996 and has been run by the same Chinese family that immigrated to Tel Aviv ever since. The restaurant is located on a side street in the heart of Tel Aviv not far from the Central bus station, the restaurant doesn’t have a sign outside. Although, you can tell it’s a Chinese restaurant from a mile away!

I went there with my good friend Andrew, who is a foodie at heart and we both had no idea what to expect. We were greeted very
20160110_133839politely by the owner who was super nice, and brought us a hot-pot of Chinese tea. I’m not a big fan of tea, or a hot drink on a hot day, but the owner told us it was good for us so we had some of the tea and it was quite delightful. Then we looked at the menu and I have been craving wonton soup ever since Yosi Pekin had shut down, and there it was, the first thing on the menu! I was already so excited, but then it got better, the owner said that the wontons’ and the egg noodles in the soup were hand-made! Now I was ecstatic!

20160110_135746With the soup we ordered the business menu that comes with 2 types of dumplings and a main course, but the soup is all we really wanted.

After a few minutes they served up two types of piping hot dumplings with a soy dipping sauce. One was a potsticker filled with chicken and fries the dough until it was crispy, and the other dim sum filled with chicken and was steamed. Both of them made by hand and not bought made all the difference. The crispy dim sum (potsticker) was crunchy and filled with chopped chicken, not mushed chicken. That’s where you 20160110_135343can tell the difference. The steamed dim sum melted in our mouths it was so good. The soy and chili dipping sauce was a nice addition but the dim sum had enough flavor it didn’t need it.

Then we were served the soup. Let me tell you, the soup is definitely worth the trip, it’s massive, full of fresh ingredients and steaming hot! The broth is made in-house from chicken bones  the wontons are full of fresh chicken and melt in your mouth. The homemade noodles have great texture and add a ton to the soup. Then to 20160110_140709top it off they put in glass noodle, fresh coriander, carrots and sprouts for a nice crunchy texture. The perfect bite for a wonton soup. It brought back great childhood memories, let me tell you.

At this point we were practically full, but we had already ordered the main course with business lunch. The main course of the business lunch was ok, but there wasn’t anything special about it. The sweet and sour chicken was nice, as the stir fried vegetables and the rice, but it felt like cafeteria food. Next time I go, I order only off the menu.

I felt that everything that they make in-house is really delicious and worth trying, unlike the disappointing business lunch. If you find yourself in Tel Aviv and looking for a great kosher authentic Chinese restaurant, there is only one place to go and that’s the Choma Hasinit.

 

 

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My wife’s 3 Bean Salad

I know that this recipe is a classic and many of you may think it’s outdated, but when you put it out at a barbecue, it’s a perfect salad that gets gobbled up in the end.

four-bean-salad_30_1-1-1207_326x580Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of cut green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of cut yellow beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3\4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1\2 cup of sugar
  • 1\4 cup of oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Recipe

Mix and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Eating Real Deal Italian at La Lasagna Tel Aviv

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I don’t make it out to Tel Aviv, often, so when I do find myself in the city, I try to hit up the best restaurants, whether meat or dairy. If it was to try the best shwarma at Turk Lachmajun, or an amazing burger at Magic burger, only places where the food is worth traveling to. So, when I hear that there is a restaurant that serves the best lasagna in Israel is in Tel Aviv, I make time and try it.

20160518_120135La Lasagna (Kosher Rabbanute Tel Aviv) has been around for a long time, and I feel that the explanation to that has been: evolution and consistency. If you ask anyone that has tried their homemade lasagna, if it has changed since the last time they tried it, they would tell you it hasn’t and has stayed spectacular since the day they have opened. They have stayed as authentic as can be, as true to a dairy Italian eatery can be. The evolution part is that they also have whole wheat options and a full gluten-free and vegan menu. Being able to offer a dish for everyone isn’t a given in an Italian eatery so hats off to the owners for evolving.

20160518_131158I invited my good friend Keren Brown for lunch at La Lasagna even though she’s super busy, and we ordered some lunch. For those of you who don’t know Keren, follow her on her foodie adventures around Tel Aviv, she’s awesome! Back to the ordering I got there early and was hungry, so I ordered the bruschetta and for the main we ordered two types of lasagna, the classic and the ricotta and spinach. The menu offers so much more like pizza’s, pastas, salads and so much more, but I was there for the lasagna.

One of the most beautiful things about small family restaurants is that they stay legit like I mentioned earlier and boy every dish was authentic and delicious. The bruschetta came with slices of fresh whole wheat bread with lots of chopped tomatoes, fresh basil and mountains of fresh 20160518_131205mozzarella cheese. An enormous appetizer for one person, but it was so good, the freshness of the ingredients is what makes all the difference. Then came the two lasagna dishes, piping hot and just looked amazing. While we were waiting for the dishes to cool down I couldn’t stop drooling (For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a lasagna freak, like Garfield!). Anyway, once the dishes cooled down and snapped some great photos (as you will see) we dug in, and boy it was good. The fresh pasta sheets that they make for the dish are perfectly sized not to thin or thick, the sauce was seasoned perfectly and the amounts of cheese wouldn’t embarrass any Italian eatery. The portions were perfect, and getting two different dishes was a great choice. One had the perfect spinach to ricotta ratio and the other had the perfect cheese to sauce ratio. A simple dish made perfectly, that’s how I would describe both lasagna dishes.

I must admit, almost every dairy coffee shop\restaurant serves a lasagna dish, but at La Lasagna they make it special and definitely worth the trip to Tel Aviv.

 

 

Breakfast in the Secret Garden of Beit Zayit: Derech Hagefen

logo_Derech_HagefenDerech Hagefen

20160803_100727The title of my blog post this week may sound a bit out there, but when my wife and I walked in to Derech Hagefen, we were in awe. For a moment, we felt like we were in the secret garden like right out of the movie. But lets/ take a step first and tell you where it is. Derech Hagefen (Kosher local Rabbanute) is one of two restaurants owned by the same owner and share the same concept: A combination of a green house and coffee shop\dairy restaurant. Derech Hagefen is located in Beit Zayit, a very quiet and green Moshav located at the footsteps of the Jerusalem 20160803_101055Mountains (right off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway). The other restaurant is called Cafe Itamar (review coming soon) located in Moshav Ora on the outskirts of Jerusalem. When I put the location into Waze, you really need to look for the coffee shop because most likely you will miss it like me the first time, but once you park in the parking lot and walk down the hill and get distracted by the dinosaur park you won’t miss it.

When you first walk into the restaurant, it doesn’t feel like a restaurant, 20160803_101828it feels like a nursery that you can purchase plans from. Once you are greeted by the hostess then you come back to realize, oh I’m in a restaurant. We sat down near the coy pond, and I have to mention that there is indoor and outdoor seating. On a hot summer day you can sit indoors with the A\C or sit outside where this beautiful stream of cool mist keeps you nice and cool (I can use one of those for my house!).

Now that we were comfortable and accommodated, we ordered breakfast (you can’t order off the regular menu until 12pm). My wife 20160803_101832ordered the Beit Zayit salad and I ordered the Beit Zayit breakfast which comes with a cold drink and a hot drink. While we were waiting, we noticed something funny, because the sound of the mist, you can’t hear anyone else conversation, but yours and that gave us an even more intimate experience even though we were outdoors with other diners.

Then the food comes, and let me tell you, it may be breakfast but it was impressive. The salad was huge, and came with lettuce, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, Parmesan aioli, goat cheese and so much more. 20160803_110015Iv’e seen thousands of salads in dairy restaurants, but this one, is definitely in my top 3. The creativity and taste really elevated the experience and added another reason to return for another meal. Then comes my breakfast, and omelet with everything but the kitchen sink in it: cheese, onions, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, more cheese. It came with fresh-baked bread that they bake in-house and an Israeli salad that was seasoned to perfection. The other thing that I really like that they served was real butter. Yeah, real butter that is yellow and not a packet like you get in every generic coffee shop\dairy restaurant in Israel.

20160803_105955After almost filling up on the breakfast, I wanted to try one of their homemade desserts, so we tried a slice of cheesecake with a raspberry sauce. When the waiter brought it out sadly it had a hair right on top of it so I asked them to switch it. 5 minutes later they apologized and brought out an extra dessert on the house, for the inconvenience. They brought out a tiramisu and if you are a coffee lover, you will fall in love with this dessert. Then we dug into the cheesecake, which was divine. It really needed that sweet sauce to complement the sour taste of the cheese, it was the perfect balance.

From the service which was amazing, to the ambiance, to the food, the decor, the whole experience at Derech Hagefen was amazing. If you have never been or coming to Israel to visit, or looking for a unique place to go out to eat, you must try Derech Hagefen!