Drinking alcohol is a traditional part of the seudah (the Purim meal); the mitzva is to drink until you can't tell the difference between the damned Haman and the blessed Mordechai. Taking this a step further, 11 chefs have prepared special Purim dishes all based on alcohol which will be served at the Drunken Chefs Festival, running through March 6 at selected restaurants.
The chefs have gone all out to come up with innovative gourmet dishes to please just about very palate. Following is a sampling:
Moroccan pasta with shallot jam and brandy is served by Chef Guy Peretz of Gazpacho at Ashkelon's Holiday Inn (kosher), or Dutch lentil soup with beer at NG in Tel Aviv's Neve Tzedek neighborhood (not kosher). Cesar Bistro bar in Rehovot (not kosher) has beef filet tartar with brandy, and Ronnie James (not kosher) in Tel Aviv is serving coquilles St. Jacques with champagne and mushrooms, as well as apple pie with calvados. Pacific (kosher) restaurant at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Tel Aviv has fish filets on a bed of mango salad with chillis and pastis, the licorice-flavovered drink from Provence; potato gnocchi in a coconut milk sauce with vodka and saffron, and for desert Angelina pears cooked in wine. The new Spanish Tapas Bar in Tel Aviv (not kosher) has come up with shrimp gnocchi with hot pernod; marsala scallopini with three kinds of mushrooms with hot antipasti. Seatara at Sea and Sun (not kosher) is serving beef fillet in red wine and tiramissu with coffee liqueur and brandy cappucino mousse. Kazanki Shrimp and Calamari bar (not kosher) has a calamari salad with cherry tomatoes and onions in a champagne vinaigrette, and for desert a chocolate soup with brandy and nuts.
Participating restaurants are:
KOSHER: Pacific (03) 520-1169; Gazpacho (08) 674-8888; The Meat and Wine Co (09) 956-7006; ORO (08) 931-6617
NOT KOSHER: Kazanki Shrimp&Calamari Bar (09) 958-6688 and (03) 561-0630; NG (03) 516-7888; LUTECE (03) 560-2697; Ronnie James (03) 516-4001; Seatara (03) 699-6633); Cezar (08) 946-5444; Avant Garde (03) 648-0082.
The kosher Olive Leaf Restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv has also prepared a sfestive Purim dinner to be served on Sunday, March 4, at NIS 380 a couple including VAT, a bottle of Tabor Merlot and free parking. Although not part of the Drunken Chefs' Festival, the menu is also alcohol-based and includes a Kir Royal aperitif, appetizer, second course, the main course being "Ozem Haman" stuffed with ragout of lamb and served in a sauce of Cabernet Sauvignon and a dessert. In addition, during the Purim holiday (March 4 and 5) a special Purim business lunch - including appetizer, main course and soft drink - will be available for NIS 99.