Sushi Bar Rechavia

Along Emek Refaim are a motley collection of restaurants ranging from fast food to haute cuisine. Sushi Bar Rechavia trends towards the higher end of the spectrum. My wife and I enjoyed a quiet dinner for two at this busy restaurant. We were fortunate to have our meal sponsored by dear friends of ours. Not to seem ungrateful, the restaurant was overall a pleasant and delicious experience. When billing as a high-end restaurant, though, consider that your clientèle are more discriminating, and therefore expectations are higher. While this might seem like nit-picking to some, it is nothing more than my professional evaluation, and not a review. It is perhaps how I would do things.

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Two Interesting Flavor Combinations

Gelato is an Italian creamy iced confection. It’s more like ice cream with less milkfat and more sugar, not like the Marino’s Italian Ices cup, which is like scraped ice. In Israel, Aldo is one of the local gelato stores. Local to Emek Refaim in Jerusalem, that is. In addition to their main selection of  gelato flavors that often include Twix bars, Ment [sic] Chocolate Chip, they have a parve sorbet counter that is constantly overrun by sweet-toothed locals and tourists who stop in for a little something sweet. Or a huge something sweet. It’s a little commercialized, but the product is good, it’s quite apparent that it’s made fresh, and they have a decent selection of non-standard flavor combinations. Sometimes, these flavors include alcohol. Heh.

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Selena

Selena is an upscale restaurant on Emek Refaim. If this seems to be a trend in my restaurant posts, well it’s because this is a very popular restaurant street in Jerusalem. We were seated right away, and a pleasant waitress told us the specials, then took our order after about ten minutes of our deliberations. The ambiance was nice with soft jazz playing in the background without being overpowering, and it was warm in the restaurant, which was a relief from the cold December night. We noticed that the restaurant’s clientèle were all English-speaking.

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HaMoshava 54

Moshava 54 is a casual, family-friendly restaurant in the German Colony on Emek Refaim in Jerusalem.

The interesting gimmick of Moshav 54 is how the menu  is organized. Rather than the usual appetizer, salad, entree categories, the menu is sorted by price from 20 shekels up to, you guessed it, 54 shekels. There’s a wide variety of bistro-style dishes on the menu, appealing to a wide variety of diner’s palettes, styles and budgets. It also gives you a reasonable idea of what the portion is going to be like, which is a good thing whether you’re out for a full dinner or a quick bite. Contine reading

Lemongrass: Hope Springs Eternal

Machane Yehuda in Yerushalayim is a riot of sound and smell that can be completely overwhelming for anyone their first time there. It is here in this public market that one can find the mundane and the exotic. Mostly the mundane.

Having come from the US, I am accustomed to a wider variety of ingredients than is available in Israel. This is simply a demand issue, because anything can grow in Israel. It aggravates me and I often complain how there are a grand total of fourteen vegetables in Israel, and little in the way of varieties among them. There are something like thirty varieties of cucumbers in the world alone, and considering this is the Israeli salad capital of the world, I haven’t seen a kirby since I made aliyah. Don’t even ask about the pickles here. Lower East Side sours are part of our heritage for crying out loud!

For the most part, the vendors of Machane Yehuda are owned or supplied by three or four vendors. There are, however, a few vendors that regularly stock vegetables and food materials that aren’t on everyone else’s displays. Of course it’s premium stuff, for a premium price, but then how many times a week are you eating King Oyster mushrooms?

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Truffle Slicer

I wonder why it took me so long to get a truffle slicer. After all, it is the quintessential piece of high-end kitchen equipment. It is hoity. It is toity. Nothing else screams “food snob” more than a miniature food slicer that is so elite it has to have “truffle” in its name.

Although in reality it’s only a slicer, okay a very thin slicer, I will continue to call it a truffle slicer because, well because propriety must be maintained!

There are two types of truffle slicer. the first is a flat piece of metal with a raised serrated planing blade and a screw that adjusts the height of the blade. The second is a flat piece of metal with a plastic hopper that glides back and forth on rails.

Anyone who has taken a class with me, or listened to me wax philosophic about working in the kitchen, has heard me say that the only kitchen gadget you really need is a good chef’s knife properly sharpened. And while that’s still true, I am now the proud owner of my very own truffle slicer.

Now if I only had some truffles…

Creamy Carrot Soup

The sweet butter and the sweet leeks and the sweet carrots… Sweet!

Do not let anything caramelize on the bottom. This is not an earthy, hearty soup. This is a smooth, rich soup.

Yes, there is a lot of butter in the recipe. So don’t eat the whole pot at once. It works out to two teaspoons in a pint, which is a normal portion of soup with an extra bit of sin thrown in.

“But there’s no cream in the Creamy Carrot Soup!” you exclaim. Hush now, and make the recipe.

Creamy Carrot Soup

Equipment: 5qt pot, immersion blender For a lighter version, sweat the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil

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  • Prep Time : 20 min
  • Cook Time : 40 min
  • Ready Time : 60 min

Servings

8 cups

Ingredients

  • 500 1451s carrots sliced
  • 2 large minced
  • 400 1451s sliced thin
  • 100 1451s
  • 6 743s butter

Directions

1) In a 5qt pot, sweat diced onions in butter until translucent. 2) Add carrots. 3) Add leek. 4) Saute 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. 5) Add 4 liters of water. 6) Add tomato paste. 7) Bring to boil. Simmer for 40 minutes. 8) Blend with immersion blender. 9) Adjust to taste with salt.

Coriander Mustard

Ya gotta love when an experiment comes out awesome the first time..

You can save yourself some time by buying dry mustard (powder), but if you like your mustard sharper, take the three minutes to grind it yourself. Yes I use the same grinder for coffee and spices, and have never had black pepper coffee or coffee-flavored herb chicken. Just clean it with a dry paper towel, people.

Don’t taste it before it’s done if you’ve never made mustard before; you’ll think something has gone horribly wrong. It hasn’t. Mustard enzymes needs to mellow in vinegar for a bit. It will be less bitter in a few hours. Start tasting after three hours. Once it’s as sharp as you want it without being bitter, throw it in the fridge. It’ll keep forever.

For those who wonder about mustard and kitniyot on Pesach, observe how the mustard absorbs the liquid and gets a little ‘doughy.’ I guess that’s how the decision was made.

Coriander Mustard

1/2 c. yellow mustard seed, powdered
2 1/2 T coriander seed, powdered
1/2 T salt
1/2 T whole black pepper
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. white wine

Equipment: spice/coffee grinder
Substitutions: water for wine

1) Grind mustard until powdered.
2) Finely grind coriander seeds.
3) Finely grind black pepper.
4) Combine spices into small bowl or jar. Add salt.
5) Add vinegars and wine. Shake well.
6) Rest mixture for three hours in a covered jar on the counter.
7) Refrigerate.