Archive for the ‘Quick Bites – Not Fast Food ; )’ 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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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!