Tag Archives: meat

An all you can eat festival at the Inbal Hotel

IMGL4813This past week I was invited by the Inbal Hotel to come and review their pop-up restaurant based in the courtyard of the hotel(Kosher mehadrin). The Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem is going through many changes: building new rooms, renovating the old ones and having a new head chef orchestrate  the massive amounts of food that gets served, on a daily basis. For a chance to win a dinner for two at the restaurant, there’s a great contest going on between the Inbal Hotel and Itraveljerusalem, the city’s official tourism division. For more info, click here. The contest is until Aug 10th so hurry up and tag away!

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Now back to the Inbal. The Head chefs name is Nir Elkayam, a very passionate chef who loves to take classic dishes from around the world and give them a Middle Eastern spin on them. I was very lucky to sit down with him and talk about food in Israel and at the hotel in specific. When I asked him, what’s behind the concept of the pop up restaurant, his answer was: The idea is to have a fun culinary experience, not to be to fancy and just to enjoy the purity of barbecued meats. Here is a recipe he shared with me for his sweet potato salad that he serves at the restaurant:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sweet potatoes sliced into wedges
  • 1 red onion sliced into wedges
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
  • pecans for crunch

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 230c.
  2. Place the Sweet potatoes and red onions in separate baking trays and sprinkle the salt, pepper and olive oil over and put them in the oven. Let bake for 18 minutes.
  3. Let cool down and add the pecans and sweet chili for garnish.IMGL4909

The concept is for 190 shekels, you get an all you can eat barbecue experience with six types of meat and a plethora of salads. We sat in the courtyard of the hotel which gives you that backyard feeling to the meal, but with real dishes and tablecloths, live music and the service that is top-notch.

We sat down and started with the salads: Asian eggplant, fresh-baked focaccia bread, artichoke salad, sweet potato basil salad, home fries and the list goes on. Very fresh and very tasty, each salad stood on it’s own and was unique and presented well.  After the salads came the meats. We were offered two types of chicken: the breast and the pargit(thigh meat off the bone). The chicken breast coated with a simple herb blend was very moist, which impressed me because it’s very easy to dry out. The pargit had and Asian flare to it and was nice. Then came the kebabs and chorizo. The kebab had a kick to it but the chorizo didn’t. They were very standard. Then came the short ribs and entrecote steak. The short ribs were good but lacked seasoning as well as the steak, but when you add either the mustard sauce or chimichurri to them it elevated the dish to another level. For dessert we were served watermelon which was nice as well. All in all the meat experience was nice but very standard.

IMGL4787The pop up is open until after sukkot(late September). All in all it was a very nice experience if you are looking for a different type of dinner in a very nice location with outstanding service, so go and enjoy!

 

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A carnivores dream sandwich at Carne

wpid-wp-1434487103200   Carne Carne is a fun place for foodie who enjoy two things: a great sandwich, and really good beef. Carne has been able to create this match made in heaven. The only competition that I see that they really is Just Meat on the Ben Yehudah Midrachov, but I feel that they are very different in approach and in price. Carne (rabbanut Yerushalayim) is run by two young guys who like to make sandwiches, and make sure the customers are happy. For the full experience you need to let them build you the sandwich, let the artists do their work. Located in an alley between Ben Sira street and Ben Shatach street, the restaurant is very small, not to many places to sit, but you can either sit on one of the 2 tables outside, or on the bar. The menu there is pretty simple: Entricote, chicken, homemade sausages and for those who for some reason don’t eat meat, they have a grilled portobello sandwich as well. The regular sides of fries, potato wedges and onion rings, but they didn’t have onion rings available the day I went. 20150615_122528 I met a foodie friend from my Israeli Foodies group group Neil Gillman who also has a blog, and a great perspective on food and life. We decided to order 2 sandwiches and try the: Entricote and the homemade sausages with a side of fries and potato wedges. I feel that any time a restaurant offers something made in-house like potato wedges, they will always be better than something frozen or processed. We also asked the owner to make the sandwiches with the whatever he thinks is best. 20150615_122250So, how good can a sandwich be? Um, amazing! Well the entricote was amazing. The meat was full of flavor and cooked really nicely, the gepata bun with a nice crunch on the outside, the fresh vegetables and really nice sauces to compliment it all. The homemade sausages had very nice texture but the sandwich itself was lacking. It was missing that kick you get from spice in the sausage, and he didn’t put in mustard. Once we added a bit of heat it took it to a much higher level. Sometimes all a sandwich needs, is a nice kick in the taste buds! The fries were generic but the wedges were very nice. Oh , and the gherkins(the really small pickles) were a delightful compliment to the sandwich as well. The prices weren’t bad as well. To get a very fulfilling and satisfying meal for 60 shekel in my opinion is very reasonable. In my opinion, Carne offers a really great sandwich for those who are looking for some really great street food!20150615_122535

The Middle Eastern Hot Pocket at Ishtabach

20150608_123041Machane Yehuda market. What a place. So many places to eat! So many new restaurants, new concepts and original dishes offered, only if I had a bigger budget to try them all out! So I found myself at Istabach(Hashikma 3, kosher badatz) this week my companions having lunch. Istabach sells one item, a Shamborac. What is a shamborac? A middle eastern, hand made hot pocket! Originated on the border of Syria and Kurdistan, this meat pocket traveled a long way to find itself in the shuk.   Each filling for the meat pocket is very different and packed with lots of  flavors and very cool textures as well. 20150608_122923After talking to the manager and asking whats good, we needed interpretation for some of the fillings like the siske. Siske is the chuck that has been cooked down until melt in your mouth texture. They have even adapted the fillings to attract a wider audience of food adventurists, like pastrami and brisket slow cooked in beer. All of the fillings looked amazing. So we ordered 3 types; Iraqi kabob, the siske and the brisket. While waiting for the shamborac to be ready, because the bake every order on the spot, all the meat fillings are prepared earlier on in the day. While we waited for the shamborac they served us 6 types of salads: watermelon and basil with radishes, beet tabuleh, eggplant, tehini, carrots and garlic and beets salad.20150608_123417 The watermelon was a refreshing idea, the tabuleh was nice, same as the rest of the salads, but I really got a kick out of the watermelon. It takes a couple of minutes for the pastry to bake but it’s worth every minute. Rated from my favorite to the least, I LOVED the brisket! Before I talk about how amazing the brisket was I need to comment on the herb and pepper mixture that was put on top of each shamborac. It adds another layer of flavor and another unique twist to this meat pocket.  20150608_12472220150608_124726 20150608_124729   Each one tasted different from the next. Let’s start with the brisket, slowly braised in beer to give it that melt in the mouth texture. Then I moved on to the siske, also slowly braised in a beef stock that melted in my mouth. Lastly the Irqaqi kabob which was very nice and also melt in your mouth as well.But the real star was the dough, man it was crispy and baked to have a really nice crunch on the outside without getting a soggy texture. I was really impressed with the whole meal. One of these meat pockets with all of the salads on the side really fills you up and a really great meal outside of the shuk. So next time you find yourself in the shuk, you have to try this place!

A surprise at Grill Bar

20150326_195227Getting ready for the pesach holiday is every parents nightmare, but we took a break for a couple of minutes as a family to throw a surprise birthday party for my father at the Grill Bar. Why the Grill Bar and not somewhere fancier? Because you really get your value for your money. We where 13 people and paid less than a 1000 shekel in all. They also have a private room that seats 30 in the back as well. The Kashrut is Rav Machpud(there is a big lighted sign next to the door, a new trend in the kosher world) so it fit everyone’s needs.

So about the steakiyah(a steakiyah is an Israeli steakhouse that serves a lot of salads, fresh pita bread and grilled skewered meats), the decor is simplistic but inviting, wooden chairs so you don’t stay that long and has an open kitchen, which I personally like the concept.

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The service was on point and fast. They use Ipads to take your orders and not just scribbled on a piece of paper which is faster, cost efficient and just plain and simple smart. One of my favorites things there was watching a server that during the entire service was refilling the salad plates, non stop, like a machine, very entertaining.

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The menu is composed of a large variety of skewered meats and steaks. I ordered an entricote(rib steak) skewer with a side of rice and beans and a in house made hummus platter. After ordering our waiter barraged us with a large amount of fresh salads and fresh pita bread that were simple and delicious. The hummus was very fresh and creamy, just the way you want it to be.

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Then the meats came out. I asked that mine should be medium rare, and they got it done perfectly, just like everyone elses order. I also tasted other types like the sweet breads and the liver that were cooked perfectly. The sweet breads weren’t chewy and the liver was creamy. Also the pargiyot were just as good. The only downside to any steakiyah is that they use the same blend of spices on every cut of meat so the flavor is the same on all of the meats.

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All in all it is a great place to take a family for a tasty dinner, that won’t break your wallet as well.

Grill bar Hasoreg 1 Jerusalem, Rav Machpud

Ras-el-Hanut Phyllo Dough Meat Pockets

One of my favorite spice blends is definitely Ras-el-Hanut. A Moroccan spice blend composed from 30 different spices that are full of body and flavor that will give any protein you use a very cool and different flavor your palate is used to. You can pick it up at any fresh spices store or packaged in certain shops. So here is a recipe that I came up with, how to use this spice blend to the max, and keep it simple as well:

Ingredients

  • 1\2 Kilo ground beef or lamb or chicken
  • 1 Onion Diced small
  • 2 Cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbls minced corriander
  • 1-3 tsp of Ras-el-Hanut spice blend depends on how strong you like it
  • Salt&Pepper for flavor
  • 1 Package of Phyllo Dough
  • oil for frying
  • 1 egg for coating
  • topping of choice: Dried parsley, sesame seeds,

Recipe

  1. Place a frying pan on a high heat and saute the onions and garlic until translucent and add the ground meat and brown.
  2. Add the spices and herbs to the meat mixture and drain the excess liquid from the pan and fix the seasoning if necessary.
  3. While the meat mixture cools down, turn your oven on 175c.
  4. Take the phyllo out of the package and follow the instructions on the package on how to fold the dough into the shape you’d like your pastry.
  5. Brush and seal the dough with the egg wash, then coat the dough with the egg and add topping of choice.
  6. Bake until golden brown.

Serve hot with a tahini dipping sauce. Enjoy!

 

Restaurant style Tomato Sauce

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This is a tomato sauce that can be put on anything!

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion, cubed
  • 3 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, cubed
  • 4 cloves of crushed
  • 1 Can of crushed tomatoes
  • 100 grams Tomato paste
  • 1 tbls paprika
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbls fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1\2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbls brown sugar
  • If you’d like, a pinch of cumin
  • Olive oil for frying

Recipe

  1. Sweat the vegetables and garlic in a pot.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes.
  3. Add all the spices and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer and cook until vegetables are soft.
  5. Blend the sauce, and let simmer for another hour.
  6. Fix seasoning, and serve on anything!

Enjoy!

One of my favorite Restaurants, Hachatzer

logoHachatzer is hands down one of my favorite restaurants. The location is great( the old railway station) so there is plenty of parking. The ambiance is warm and cozy, wooden tables, white plates cloth napkins. And of course the chef, Motti Ochana, a Courdon Blue graduate, who has worked with chef Pini Levy before opening up Hachatzer by himself. The restaurant is a new middle eastern  When siting down I got to chat with him and he told me about his new restaurant called Medita on Derech Hevron street and I told him I’d try it out, but not tonight, tonight I was there for the tasters menu, the chef’s choice.

The tasters menu(230 shekel per person minimum 4 people) is made up of what Israelis call “salatim”, 4 fish appetizers, 4 meat appetizer, 4 main meat entrees, and 4 desserts. The amount of food that was served to us could have fed 6 people.

The “Salatim” open up with loaves of Moroccan bread called Farena which is a soft loaf of bread that is great for spreads. The spreads that they served were Cream of roasted eggplant with tehini, tehini with baked zucchini, homemade matbucha, hot mangold  with chopped meat, olives with balsamic oil and a chopped celery with currants salad. They were all  and different, original and full of flavor.

For the fish appetizers, we had A Jerusalem mixed grill made out of 4 types of fish, Morrocan style fish kabobs, Asian style sea bass and an endive salad with pears and pecans.

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For the meat appetizers, beef carpaccio, fire roasted eggplant with fillet minion cubes and tehini, sweetbreads in a red wine sauce and  chopped liver made out of chicken and goose livers served with a cherry tomato jam and toast. It was all amazing. That is when we looked at the wine menu. The restaurant offers a wide selection of wines, beers and cocktails. My wife had a fidge sour and I had a Stella beer. The fidge sour was great and you can’t go wrong with Stella.

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Then came the highlight of the night, the meat platter.8 hour short ribs cooked in an orange barbecue sauce, Fillet minion in a red wine sauce,A ribeye steak on the grill and chicken steaks in a chimichuri sauce. It was out of bounds! Cooked to a perfect medium rare, mmm amazing. They also served it with grilled sweet potatos, zucchinis and potato wedges. We couldn’t breath at this point.

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Than came dessert. Lemon meringue pie, fresh striozel, Vanilla ice cream topped with date honey and halva, strawberry macaroons, Meringue kisses and marzipan cubes, chocolate truffles and chocolate almond crunch!  I needed a forklift to get me out of my seat.

5241d3f7720da It is amazing culinary experience that I would highly recommend to anyone who is a real foodie living or visiting the Jerusalem area.