Given the vagaries of the restaurant business, exacerbated by the pandemic, nine years is an admirable run. That is the birthday that Tel Aviv’s NOLA American bakery and restaurant will soon be celebrating, and owner Talya Rasner, a native of New Orleans, was not about to let a virus stop her from reaching that milestone.
Like so many of her fellow restaurateurs, Rasner has re-engineered her menu to suit delivery. Thus, her trademark breakfasts are not on the menu – as Rasner says, “Eggs Benedict does not travel well” – but plenty of other tempting things are listed among the food menu’s six sections: Specials (NIS 48-172), Breakfast (NIS 46-172), Bagel & Biscuit (NIS 11-48), Sandwiches (NIS 46-68), Salads (NIS 46-48) and Desserts (NIS 14-125). There are plenty of vegetarian options, but fewer vegan ones.
The Specials category includes two interesting kits for assembling and preparing at home: American classics S’Mores and mac and cheese. Another specialty pack – heart-shaped treats for Valentine’s Day – is being added for a limited time.
NOLA’s Brunch Box is a collection assembled especially for delivery convenience. When it arrives, it is like opening a gift box. The contents are piled to the very top, each item wrapped minimally and everything packed with meticulous precision. (Note: The Brunch Box is a popular innovation, and if it is sold out for the day, it temporarily disappears from the menu.)
The major category represented therein is assembling your own bagel and/or biscuit sandwich, although the largest single dish is an American-style tossed salad: coarse-cut fresh, crisp, garden vegetables – cucumber, tomato, red onion, carrot, radish and sprigs of mint – dressed in a light, very pleasant vinaigrette.
The premium ingredient for your DIY bagel sandwich is smoked salmon (aka lox) paired with cream cheese, of course. Other fixings include a nice avocado spread, and tomato confit, with the most intense flavor I have ever experienced from that vegetable.
The biscuit– like the bagel, homemade by NOLA, and not commonplace in Israel – comes with soft butter and excellent strawberry jam. The entire Brunch Box is meant to be washed down with fresh-squeezed orange juice, which comes in a separately packed reusable glass bottle.
Finally, the brunch comes complete with dessert: two of NOLA’s all-American specialties – a chocolate chip cookie and a blueberry muffin, with streusel topping. Like all of the bakery’s sweet treats – cookies, pies, muffins and cakes (including a carrot cake rated among the best in town in the Hebrew media), many of which may be found only here – they reflect the best of America’s decadent traditions. And they are clearly the secret to NOLA’s longevity.
NOLA American Bakery
197 Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv. Phone: (03) 523-0527
Online delivery menu: wolt.com/en/isr/tel-aviv/restaurant/nolabakery