Category Archives: calories

Osaka: Sushi heaven?

When Rosh Chodesh Adar rolls around, I start hankering for fish. I don’t know if this is really related to the cosmic alignments or not, but I go with the flow. And this year I not only had a tyvia for fish but for sushi in particular. Now, I grew up in California, LA to be specific, and well, we get some great sushi. The fish is so fresh and tasty, it is hard to compare anywhere short of Japan. Israel is a different story. For the most part the only locally available fish are fresh water or very small sea water fish. They pale in comparison to the fatty and rich deep water fish such as salmon and tuna. But, thanks to air shipping, we get some of these fish too.

When deciding on a sushi restaurant ,I immediately started looking beyond Modiin. Our local sushi spot leaves much to be desired, although they do deliver. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t want to make the trek up the hill to Jtown. So I asked around and the consensus that I got was, head for Raanana. Surprisingly there are quite the choices when it came to sushi in Raanana, but since we wanted to go out as a date I chose, supposedly, the nicer place, Osaka.

We were not disappointed at all. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but the owners have obviously spent some time and money dressing the inside up nicely. I am a sucker for a nice looking restaurant.  It took a while for us to delve through the three page menu plus additional specials. Mainly, because it is hard to establish how much sushi you need to order to get full and not over eat. I have a problem. If there is sushi before me, I can’t stop myself, I have to finish it. But Osaka’s specials were a great deal: one starter and a main plus dessert. We decided on one special with a main of sushi and some additional roll that weren’t on the specials menu but looked interesting never the less.

I was very excited to get our chicken tempura; however, when it arrived I was decidedly less so. They used ground chicken and added cumin to the mix. It was a fusion of Asian and Mediterranean gone wrong. But we stuck it out, waiting for our sushi. One thing about the restaurant is that you can see into the kitchen, which is great because I love seeing how many chefs and cooks there are, how they work etc. But the restaurant manager was nervous by my furtive glances and repeatedly came to assure us that the sushi is coming. Finally my husband explained that he just has a curious wife.

The sushi finally came, and it was delicious. The fish was fresh and really tender. The rice, which for me is one of the most important elements, was properly cooked and seasoned. Not out of the world great, but more than acceptable for Israeli standards. One comment I did have was that the rolls, especially the vegetable rolls, seemed to lack a little bit of rice. I would have like to seen them a bit more full. The tempura rolls were amazing and the nigiri was properly packed, so it was easy to dip and eat.

I was surprise how full I was after the sushi, and when dessert came, I could only take a couple of bites. The apple pie, which is made in-house, was delicious. I only wished I could have eaten more.

All around, Osaka is nice place to go out. There are plenty of sushi options and non sushi options for non-fish people. Nice surroundings and pleasant staff made this date a wonderful experience.

Hipo Felafel: Organic Felafel in Tel Aviv

soem of the best organic felafel in Tel Aviv

I am going to admit it here so we get thing all out in the open, I LOVE STREET FOOD. If you can buy it on the street and preferably on a stick I love it. Yes, I also love fancy, gourmet food that is lovingly prepared by qualified chefs, and homemade food is to die for. But there is something about street food that just gets me going.

In Israel the national (although this is contested by many Palestinians) food is falafel. Heck, they even use them as symbols for rank in the military. As part of my patriotic duty, I love falafel. So when my friend told me about a great organic falafel place on Ibn Gvirol, I just had to try it.

Wedged between a burgers spot and shwarmaa shop is Hipo Felafel. Not the name I would expect for a falafel, but this isn’t your normal falafel joint. Bright colors and long lines told me that this place is doing something right. As I’m waiting to order, I see all the homemade sauces and pickles and it is just making me hungrier.

At the counter, purely for research, I order both a falafel and a sabich (no I was not going to eat them both, my husband was in the car, do you know what it is like trying to find parking on Ibn Gvirol in the middle of the day)

Sabich is basically pita stuffed with fried eggplant and hard boiled eggs often served with techina and Amba. For this eggplant lover, it’s to die for. Despite the onions I put in it, my husband loved it too.

Now, I am not going to be so bold as to claim Hipo makes the best falafel in the country but they do live up to The Falafel Standards.

  1. Pita must be fresh:  I can’t stress this one enough; any falafel must be served in fresh pita. Stale pita is a mortal sin never to be done – ever. Thankfully both our pitas were fresh and delicious. Hipo has options for fabulously soft and hearty whole wheat pitas as well.
  2. Falafel must be crunchy: Made to order Hipo’s falafel balls were crunchy and tasty and without any MSG and did I mention – completely organic.
  3. Condiments must be ample: I will have to return to assure that my experience was not a one off, because I love a lot of techina with my falafel and I forgot to remind the person helping me to put extra techina, so I’ll forgive this time, but watch out for the next

All around Hipo seems like a great place to grab a quick and tasty bite to eat in the center of Tel Aviv. Although I do not exclusively eat organic food, I appreciate the option. I do believe that fewer the chemicals the better. As for cost, they are a bit pricey at 16 shekels a pop, but their quality is worth it.

So next time you’re hungry in Tel Aviv check out Hipo  Ibn Gvirol 64

Coffee Shop Madness Part 1

Happy Fourth of July, well belated fourth of July because I live in Israel where there is no fourth of July. But BBqing is a national sport here, therefore, I have decided to feature different coffee shops for the month of July. Why? Because when I go out I find the healthiest options at a coffee shop. Take last Thursday afternoon when shopping at the shuk in Jerusalem. I realized I was sooo hungry.

Now the shuk is a great place for food, hummus, falafel, sawarma, and meurav (soo yummy) but all of those come with a hefty caloric punch. So I turned to aroma, relatively new at the shuk and I figured well I can get a salad. I was a little surprised they had so few salads, but we (husband and daughters) ordered the house salad and the low calorie sandwich. I always appreciate it when they post the calories. The Salad was good, loved the green beans, but plain and the sandwich could have used some fresh vegg action not just the flame roasted. The meal was decent and reasonably priced. And that’s how I feel about Aroma in general its decent.

In its defense the location was a pleasant place to sit down and watch the hustle and bustle of the shuk. I walked away knowing I didn’t have the best meal at the shuk although I did feel good that I had made the right decision calorie wise.