A heady time of year

Many restaurants are making their menus available for take-out and/or offering straight-up catering.

food middle eastern 88 (photo credit: )
food middle eastern 88
(photo credit: )
The Jewish New Year is not an exciting time of year. It lacks the boisterous costumes and whimsical dragons that enchant and delight billions at the Chinese New Year. There is no giddy anticipation of celebration or magic that is part of the Gregorian New Year. But man, can they eat. Many restaurants are making their menus available for take-out and/or offering straight-up catering. But first, let's see what you can do at home. With a little bit of ingenuity of course. Chef Shalom Kadosh has just opened up the glatt kosher Sushi Bar at Jerusalem's Plaza Hotel (46 Rehov King George, (02) 629-8666). And while I'm sure he'd appreciate your appearance at his place, he's also made himself available to appear at yours, to turn a phrase. This holiday, surprise your guests with a new take on apples and honey. For one roll: slice one apple into thin strips (which you'll use instead of seaweed - try using a good vegetable peeler, also soaking the apple strips in orange juice to soften them up), on top of the strips lay 4-6 strips of fresh salmon and avocado. Roll and cut as you would any other sushi. For the sauce combine 50 ml honey, 50 ml fresh orange juice, one tsp. soy sauce and a pinch of wasabi. On the Eastern European tip, the kosher Sender (Rehov Levinsky 54, (03) 537-1872) has got some impressive take away. Not so bad considering it's just a short walk from Tel Aviv's central bus station. First course options include gefilte fish, chopped liver (with an emphasis on chopped as opposed to ground), egg salad, kishka and, thanks god, more - specifically matzah ball soup and chicken soup with kreplach. Main courses are time honored classics the likes of veal tongue with mushrooms, chicken pupiks with dried fruits, leg of goose in an orange sauce and sides such as tzimmes, steamed cabbage, oven-roasted potatoes and kasha and bow ties (which, in these parts appear as ptitim). Desserts are poached pears, exotic fruit compote and more. On the Moroccan side of town (which is to say Ashdod) the kosher Oro (Alon gas station at the entrance to Moshav Galya, (08) 931-6617) will even deliver as far as Tel Aviv, which, when you think about it, isn't really that far at all. The menu is divided up into salads, fish, meat, veggies and sides. Think Middle-Eastern cuisine with state certification excluding the mixing of meat and milk but not excluding eggplants, chickpeas, artichokes, pumpkin, veal and spices. If you're more into seafood, Tel Aviv's Shaked (Rehov Hashmonaim 90, (03) 561-0546) has been serving it well since 1964. But, for the holiday, it has a more traditional take-out menu. Fish options include the classic gefilte but also cured, pickled, chopped and headed (in the form of a carp's head for only NIS 18!) Homemade salads are ikra, chopped liver, egg salad, tehina and zucchini in yogurt. No one can ignore the huge Ethiopian population that has sprung up amongst us over these past few weeks. Now, they've got a restaurant which, as is the local custom, serves only kosher food. Habash (2 Rehov Allenby, (077) 210-0181) is a superb eatery that everyone should be frequenting. Everything here is made in-house, from the super tasty, super sour injera to the lovingly crafted mead. The take-out menu includes numerous stews of beef, lamb and veggies as well as straight-up chicken dishes. This is to say that, on this menu, one will find something for almost everyone. And, at Habash, you can place your order just two days before the holiday. Of course, even with take-out, there are still all those dishes, assuming concern for the Earth keeps you from selling your soul for plastic ware. Luckily then, an Indian experience lies in wait for you. Tel Aviv's Indira (4 Sderot Shaul Hameleh, (03) 695-4437) is holding a five-course meal that combines traditional Jewish food with traditional Indian preparation. Think spicy Indian hreime. Drinks, including wine, are served in a bottomless glass. NIS 210 per diner, children under five are half-price and reservations are, simply put, a must. With a slightly different menu on offer, the kosher chain Lavan (Rehov Ahuza 127, Raanana, (09) 772-8211; Rehov Katznelson 61, Givatayim, (03) 670-2557) has put together a take home container of healthy frozen yogurt with honey and granola with a choice of toppings that include cranberries, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, dates and halva. Just yum. And, finally, there are the more traditional desserts. You know, honey cake and variations on honey cake. Tel Aviv's Eidelson 10 (Rehov Ben Yehuda 252, (03) 544-4154; Rehov Dizengof 117, (03) 529-9295; Rehov Weizman 57, (03) 691-1446; Rehov Malhei Yisrael 2, (03) 609-3932) takes a "good and sweet year" very seriously. On offer are a vanilla apple mousse cake with cinnamon and cloves (NIS 135); the oddly named bee's sting cake with honey nougat, almonds and vanilla mousse (NIS 65); honey and apple Calvados babka (NIS 48); honey financiers and chocolate honey cookies (NIS 17/100g) and a classic honey cake (NIS 40). The kosher boutique bakery, Negiya in North Tel Aviv (Rehov Yehuda HaMaccabee 37, corner of Stricker) is hosting an open tasting today from 10 a.m. until 1 of their Rosh Hashana breads, pastries, and olive oils. And, last, is Miki Shemo (shemo.co.il) is probably your best bet if you need to go with an industrial bakery. With such a wide variety it's best to visit the site and check out what they've got at a location near you. Some highlights to look out for are the strudels, the breads and the sugar-free selections.