Archive for the ‘Hot Finds’ Category

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Lechem Artisan. The World’s Best Kosher Bakery

November 12, 2007

I recently read on the Chowhound kosher forum the thread under “Best Kosher Bakery in the World- Willing to Travel” People tried to help this fellow out with their top picks in Brooklyn, Silver Spring, Miami…

Surprise, surprise the best kosher bakery in the world is actually in Israel. It is called Lechem Artisain and it is out of this world. The walls are covered floor to ceiling with wooden shelves with an endless variety of European style breads. Hearty, thick-crusted, artistic and needless to say delicious. They have many kinds of sourdough, a range of whole wheat, sundried tomato, walnut raisin, olive, rye, baguette, corn… They have great challah too, but we find it too boring in comparison.

Last year we stocked up on bread, 9 loaves, had them sliced for the freezer and only on our way home realized we had a little over a month till Passover. Let’s just say we didn’t have to sell any of this bread.

Bread aside, there is a beautiful selection of desserts, pastries and quiche. Brownies, cheesecake, babkas, strudels, fruit tarts, croissants, Danish, cookies, crackers. The best part is that these are dairy- that means NO margarine. Butter is used and therefore everything tastes that much better. If you are going to do dessert, do it right, too many kosher bakeries use margarine in everything, even goods that are dairy for other reasons.

Actually, THE best part is the gigantic wooden table in the middle of the store with tastings of EVERY product they sell- really everything. The cheesecakes, brownies, quiche, cookies – all there for self-serve sampling. Every kind of bread is piled on there too, with a crock of butter to make sure you get the full effect. Store employees float around to make sure that you properly match up what youa re tasting and want to buy with what you pick off of the shelf. There is no shame in eating from everything, twice if you want. They have an espresso machine to help you wash it all down. This is great business, everyone leaves the store with a stockpile. It is such a pleasure to go there and celebrate your taste buds. They get very busy, so it is recommended to arrive early, but it is also fun to see the hum of shoppers as they taste their way around the table.

I know of two locations, one is Raanana and the other is in Netanya. Word on the street is they are in Petah Tikva as well. It is worth the drive, don’t think twice.

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Yoko Uno

February 23, 2006

Best Sushi in Israel award. This is an amazing restaurant, that sits firmly in our top five list.   The décor is well thought-out, with a nice collection of photography hanging on the walls, asian themed, with contrasting in and out of focus figures.  There is the option to sit at the sushi bar, at cozy tables – well spaced from each other, and the intimate sofa lounge seating with low tables.  Sitting at the bar allows you to watch the chefs whizzing about their business of rolling and cutting up the sushi, they do make time to chat though.  The service is excellent and the waiters are well versed in the offerings and the preparation involved. The menu has many fish and pasta dishes that are creative and tasty.  We come to Yoko Uno for the sushi, it is the best in Israel.  As we understand, from a friend working in the diamond district, the restaurant was started by a very wealthy diamond merchant, who fancies sushi, and needed a classy place to bring his clients.  He himself keeps kosher, and found nothing in the area suited his needs, so, decided to start the restaurant himself. Also, If you are lucky enough to live or work near the Boursa in Ramat Gan, you can order take out or delivery.

Go ahead- drool over these pictures, (they are coming!)that is what they are meant for.
 

We started with the appetizer sampler for one, and wished we had ordered for two, later when we saw the larger variety presented to the table next to us.  This included tempura shitake mushrooms, tempura salmon, a breaded and fried fish and a spring roll.  We savored every bite and it was the perfect way to whet our appetite.  My husband ordered a Choya plum wine, which we’d had here before and enjoyed immensely.  Served in a martini glass, the wine is chilled and a seductive little litchi fruit sits at the bottom of the frosty glass.  It is delicious and we highly recommend it.

Then came our sushi.  There is the combo platter called John and Yoko, meant for two, but we go for the family platter.  No shame there, we were ordering this as our dinner, not an appetizer and we are big sushi lovers.  The selection in the combo platter is perfect.  There is a tempura roll- with cooked fish and crusted in black and white sesame seeds, it has an extra crispness to it and has its own sauce dribbled over it.  There are six pieces of nigiri, with tuna, salmon, and sea bream.  There is a variety of maki rolls.  This, for us at least, is the perfect amount of sushi, we are completely full, save for a little bit of room reserved for dessert. 

Bringing us to the end of our meal, we asked for the dessert sampler.  The waitress explained that this changes all the time.  On this particular night it included, passionfruit sorbet, halva wantons, a pear poached in wine and two chocolate truffles. We nibbled together, rotating in a clockwise manner around the plate, until there was just smudges of sauce and sorbet left. 

Delicious.  The prices here are very fair, and worth every agura.  We are already looking forward to our next visit, may it be soon.