Archive for December, 2005

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Sweet Treat – Cream & Dream

December 13, 2005

We found our way over here, trying to satisfy our sweet tooths – on a budget.  That meant not sitting down and ordering dessert in some restaurant or cafe.  What do you know, we did pretty well for ourselves! 

Various people had dropped the name of this gelateria to us, and we thought it was time to check it out for ourselves.  Across from the original Big Apple Pizza, at 3 Luntz st. (right before it connects to Jaffa from Ben Yehuda) Cream & Dream had recently hoisted up an outdoor tented seating area, which is heated.  That means their ice cream is not just for the hot summer – no, it is meant to be eaten 365 days a year. If only my figure could get away with that.

Cream-N-DreamThe eye-pleasing rainbow of flavors, each one sitting in its own cubby behind the thick glass window, called to us.  Without kitschy names, they were labeled by what they were, no chubby hubby or chunky monkey – this was Vanilla, Mint Chocolate, Strawberry and so on. 

My husband knew exactly what he wanted and didn’t hesitate to order it right away. Pistachio for the man.  I, however, took the indecision as an opportunity to ask for some samplings.  I asked for three: Tiramisu, Chocolate Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate.  I went with the Dark Chocolate even though the other two were very tempting.  I always feel like I have to go with one of the flavors I try so that the sampling, from the stores’ perspective, was not in vain. 

One scoop in a cone is just 7 shekels.  I was tempted to get more but sided with moderation. In retrospect, I don’t think I could have handled more. The gelato was so rich, so creamy, that it took me over 20 minutes to finish the cone.  My husband had finished his two blocks away from the store.  He lamented the lack of chunks in his pistachio, “like Ben & Jerry’s has,” but conceded that the delicate flavor of the gelato was of superior quality. This place gets our highest recommendation.  Don’t wait, go out and get some!

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Tmol Shilshom. Those were the days.

December 13, 2005

When Ticho House disappointed us with a very last minute cancellation of their wine and cheese Tuesday Jazz night, we got up, annoyed, and turned to something more reliable: Tmol Shilshom.

Tmol Shilshom is cozy. Like Ticho House, it is housed in an old stone Jerusalem domacile – three of them actually. Its name is the biblical idiom closest to the word nostalgia – literally meaning “yesterday and three days ago” but used to mean “the good ol’ days” in the parlance of our times.  We usually opt for the non- smoking side.  Both sides are quaintly decorated with plush sofa chairs, upholstered mohagany chairs, antique tables and tealights shining throughout. The walls are covered with bookshelves, stuffed with books of all subjects and languages.

               Tmol

First off, they make the best commerical shakshuka in Jerusalem so far. The Best Shakshuka in Jerusalem has yet to be determined equivically – we are systematically examining the competitors – but Tmol’s is certainly high in the running.

shakshukaShakshuka is hebrew for eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. At Tmol they ask you if you can handle the “charif” when you order, offering a mild version as well. They also serve theirs with an excellent fresh salad (with herb vinnaigrette and a dollop of labane) and with their delicious home-made bread – full of flax seeds and sesame. We took the waitress up on her offer of a special selection of dips and spreads for 12 shekel instead of the usual twenty-something and she brought them out with the delectible bread straight away. There was a pesto, a sun dried tomato spread, a bean dip and a balsamic dip.  All were tasty.

 

dips2The shakshuka arrives in a steaming hot cast iron skillet.  It will burn you, let it cool.  Wait and it will not disappoint, the yolks will run when you prick them with your fork.

 

Ordered a beer. The bottle was cold, but the beer was not. I have to assume this was a one-time oversight.

 

salmonThe Salmon in the white wine and fig sauce came with a side of baked sweet potato and green salad. The salmon was dry and we don’t recommend it.

 

If you are there to eat, stick to the hearty salads, the pastas or the shakshuka. Coming specifically for dessert is a good idea too- or with an old friend to sit and drink coffee, or the hot cocoa with marshmallows.  They have a nice selection of hot drinks.  And best of all, they are perfectly used to folks sitting around for hours with a mug of something, that turns from steamy to cold as they while away the time chatting or reading.  You will not get any rolling eyes or subtle hints about vacating. 

  For the record – we do keep kosher, and have no complexes about it.  Tmol is under the Jersualem Rabbinate.

So overall, this place is awesome.  It is a Yerushalmi treasure and we will always go back, specifically for the atmosphere, it is romantic and heartwarming, only missing a fireplace!

 

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Pomegranates (רימון).

December 7, 2005

 

pom-smallThis is just a really sexy fruit. Deep red, shiny, beady seeds hiding beneath a tough leathery skin. Once you get inside, just like a heart, the seeds are stored in chambers. It can be labor intensive plucking out all of the seeds before eating, so some people just bite into the clusters, juicing the bits and pieces in their mouths and either spitting out the pulp or, as one of your bloggers does, swallows – seeds and all.

You first see them right around Rosh HaShana – the Jewish New Year, but that is just the start of their season. To truly experience pomegranate ecstasy, one must hit the shuk now: November-December.

This is when you can get these holy delectable delights by the kilo for between 6 and 10 shekels a kilo (approx. .70-$1.00 a pound). They are at the height of their flavor, firm and bursting with juice. Their are two kinds, sweet and tart. We like them both, equally, though the tart are usually a bit more expensive for some reason. Having tasted pomegranates internationally- India, Italy, France and in the US, we can confidently say that those grown right here in Israel taste infinitely better.

pom-holdingPomegranates are known to have all sorts of health benefits. When we volunteered at a kibbutz that grew organic poms, they would sell the skins and seeds that remained after juice-pressing to a pharmaceutical company that used them in a cancer drug. They are energizing, and are thought to be an aphrodisiac as well. Pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than green tea, is full of folic acid and has antiseptic uses.

La’Briyut- To good health!

*** Bonus Fact – The French and Spanish words for hand grenades are the same as for the pomegranate. For its similar shape and the inner shrapnel’s original seed resemblance. Similarly, in Hebrew, Rimon is the word for pomegranate and grenade.

How to best open a pomegranate (first seen implemented by Yaron from Yavniel):

bowl-o-pompom-cutCut the top off, make a deep X in the top of the fruit and then dig your fingers into the intersection of lacerations and pry it open.