Tag Archives: health

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.

Coffee Shop Madness Part 4: Cafe Hillel

cafe hillelI always save the best for last. Sitting with Harry Rubenstein from Israel21c and Ben Jacobson from Jerusalemite at Cafe Hillel, I asked them what is your favorite coffee shop? Harry immediately answered Arcafe simply because they make great coffee. I have to agree but as a cafe I think Hillel is the best chain in Israel. That doesn’t mean it is the best coffee shop there are plenty of small family run little places that make awesome quiche. But as a chain I love Cafe Hillel. The atmosphere is always warm and friendly, they like to have outdoors and indoor seating. Great location all over the country. And they have a whole line of products that are just great from their jams to pastries.

I love their breakfast because it has all the elements I want to see and more importantly in the right portions. Cheese always comes with but different types not jut soft cheeses. Their vegetables come as a lettuce salad and cut up veggies perfect for stacking on a sandwitch. Tuna, avocado and even a small pastry. The perfect meal for anytime of day.

Now they have a whole new health section where they post all the calories, great idea. But when perusing the calories I kinda got scared of what  the full fat items must be like.

I guess  the main thing I love at Cafe Hillel is their fig jam, probably the best in the country short of a home made bubbies