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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I can't believe I ate (almost) the whole thing

I would have liked to have played hookey from work yesterday in honor of my birthday, but unfortunately life as a grown-up doesn't always work out the way you'd like.  However I did the next best thing; after work I went with my lovely wife to Tel Aviv for the evening.

We started out at the Ramat Aviv Mall where Zahava had to shop for a new computer for her design business.  The iDigital store there at the mall is wall-to-wall Mac products... heaven!

While she was meeting with a technical adviser about the machine she wanted, I explored all the neat Apple toys and accessories.  BTW, if any of you noticed a hit on your sites from Ramat Aviv last night, it was because I caught up on some blog reading on one of the ginormous 30" screens they had hooked up to their demonstrator computers.  I didn't even need to put on my reading glasses!

In the end Zahava, closed a deal on their top-of-the line professional machine which has more raw computing power than the old Cray Supercomputers, hard disk space in the terra-byte range and more RAM memory than my last computer had storage!  Since they'll have to ship this monster to her Mac technician for configuration and transferring all her work files over from her old computer, we left the mall happily unencumbered.

BTW, the mall itself... OMG!

Don't people wear clothes in Tel Aviv!  :-P' ' '     I mean seriously, who needs 'pron' when you can simply stroll through the mall and be literally assaulted by thongs, bikini lines and boob jobs for free?  And irony of irony, I forgot to wear my concealed holster for my gun (which I try to do when in Tel Aviv), so as we walked through the mall, people were glaring at me like I'd just opened my raincoat to flash a bunch of girl scouts! 

Whatever.

Anyhoo, the technical negotiations regarding Zahava's computer went later than we'd expected because they apparently aren't used to actually selling this high end computer. I guess they keep just one in the store to make people drool... so it was really late when we finally hit the road.

As we got into the car I asked Zahava if she wanted to get something to eat since neither of us had eaten dinner before heading out.  She readily agreed, and we immediately settled on one of our very favorite restaurants in the Tel Aviv area; Dr. Shakshuka.

For those of you not in the know, Dr. Shakshuka is a landmark eatery in old Yaffo (Jaffa) whose menu only begins with pretty much every kind of Shakshuka known to man.  From there it branches out into middle eastern grilled meats, soups, salads, breads, desserts... you name it.

Ever since our friends Imshin and Bish introduced us to the place we have been addicted!  It is located around the corner from the old clock tower in Yaffo and is in one of those old Arab style stone buildings with outdoor courtyard seating for the overflow crowd.  Inside the walls are packed with memento photos from soldiers and celebrities, and the ceiling is strung with hundreds of antique brass 'Primus' cooking stoves.

We normally go for just the Shakshuka when we're there, but since it was my birthday we let the waitress talk us into the 'sampler menu'.  She started by bringing us a big skillet of Shakshuka with grilled Margez (a spicy South African sausage) mixed in, a dozen or so different salads and a big jug of lemonade.

From that point, we started getting a couple of new dishes every 5 minutes or so.  Grilled beef kabobs, pergiyot (spring chicken), steak, lamb in gravy, beans and beef in a spicy tomato sauce, a spicy North African meat and vegetable soup, and on and on and on.

Somehow we also attempted to have a couple of draught beers (Zahava finished hers... I managed only half of mine)... and that, just to keep things moving in the right direction.  But finally we both leaned back in defeat and signaled to the waitress not to bring anything else.

She seemed mildly hurt that we hadn't finished everything but agreed to wrap up the remains of our favorite entrees.  As she was taking away some of the wreckage of our meals she asked us about dessert and tea or coffee.  It was like that scene from 'The Meaning of Life' where the obese guy is being offered 'just a tiny after dinner mint' ... if you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about.

Finally we were talked into just a glass of Nana (mint) tea... but naturally it came with a few 'small' pieces of spiced honey cake (and sparklers since Zahava had told them it was my b'day).  Oy!

On the ride home Zahava tipped her seat back and went to sleep, leaving me to concentrate on driving... and digestion.  All in all, a great way to spend a birthday evening (even though I consumed my calorie allotment for the rest of the month).  :-)

Posted by David Bogner on June 24, 2009 | Permalink

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sounds like the perfect birthday!!

Posted by: Hadassah | Jun 24, 2009 2:08:46 PM

Happy birthday. We will have to check the place out next vsit.

Somehow we also attempted to have a couple of draught beers (Zahava finished hers... I managed only half of mine)...
I always liked that girl!

Posted by: Chedva | Jun 24, 2009 2:31:32 PM

How many steps did you walk to work that off? Glad you had a nice celebration.

Posted by: Baila | Jun 24, 2009 3:58:19 PM

Wow, that's a great birthday dinner!!! I have the same situation at home - my wife can drink more than me :-)

Posted by: Greg T | Jun 24, 2009 5:06:34 PM

There's a Brazilian Steakhouse down the road from my office. My division sometimes has "going away" luncheons there. They work by having these wooden blocks on the table, one side red, the other green. There are servers who walk around all the tables with various meats, and when the block is green they come up to you and slice off what you want. I had to stop attending the office luncheons because since I keep kosher I can't eat the meat, but the smell was scrumptious, I'd leave practically drooling. I even tried eating before heading to the party, so I was full, but it was still driving me nuts. What you are describing sounds close to the same type of experience. I'll have to add this restaurant to my "where to go when I visit Israel again" list. (either summer of 2010, or 2011, depending on other circumstances going on) Thanks. Of course now I'm hungry... Yeah, I know... you're a giver. :-)

Posted by: JDMDad | Jun 24, 2009 5:13:33 PM

Sounds excellent! YUM!

Posted by: val | Jun 24, 2009 5:31:34 PM

Sounds incredibly good!

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Jun 24, 2009 5:43:16 PM

Happy Birthday for yesterday, David. It's mine today, as it happens.

As you've mentioned Merguez, I know what we'll be having for dinner here tonight. Actually they're North African, and our local Sephardi butcher makes superb ones.

Ah, the advantage of living near Golders Green, a plethora of Sephardi and Ashkenazi food stores :).

Posted by: chairwomanwoman | Jun 24, 2009 6:38:15 PM

Sounds like a great evening all around!
Those Mac Pros are incredible machines, tell Zehava my little Macbook is jealous...
Somehow Dr Shakshuka wasn't on the list last time I was in TA, I'll have to plan a welcome home trip just for the food sometime after my arrival...thanks for the tip!

Posted by: Jesse | Jun 24, 2009 8:28:48 PM

happy birthday

glad I wasn't driving with you the next morning !!

Posted by: britac | Jun 24, 2009 9:26:03 PM

David,

Does this mean that you just blew thirty days of good walking in one night?

If so, what a way to go!

Happy B-Day (ad meah k'esrim!)

Posted by: Late Night Thinker | Jun 24, 2009 11:36:29 PM

Margez (a spicy South African sausage)

North African! Maghrebi, in fact.

If you like shakshuka, have you tried letsho (lecsó) with spiegl-eyer (fried eggs) on top?

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Jun 24, 2009 11:48:59 PM

Happy birthday! This restaurant sounds just great.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jun 25, 2009 12:02:33 AM

Ok, we go to Dr. Shakshuka when I'm there. We'll pick a night. Sorry I missed your b-day, Dave!!!

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Jun 25, 2009 1:42:32 AM

Happy Birthday!

Lemme get this straight, your wife finished her beer and you didn't?

Doesn't sound like asskicker-name taker we used to know...

Posted by: Jacob da Jew | Jun 25, 2009 1:57:14 AM

Wow, what a great meal. Does this mean we are now starting a 15K challenge in July?

Posted by: Noa | Jun 25, 2009 2:37:24 AM

Happy Birthday.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 25, 2009 3:27:40 AM

Cheers.

A nice day is such a blessing. I am gratified that you take the time to post such things, as a tacit reminder to those who might forget the multiplicity of graces in which we live and breathe.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jun 25, 2009 5:40:19 AM

Happy Birthday! There are a lot of jblogger birthdays this season.

Send the post to KCC!

Posted by: Batya | Jun 25, 2009 3:06:21 PM

Happy birthday!

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 25, 2009 5:27:59 PM

A serious dinner with a lovely lady. Sounds like the recipe for a perfect birthday evening to me!

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 26, 2009 7:42:00 PM

It wasn't the gun. It was: gun + knitted kippa = dreadful mitnahel

Just kidding - Ramat Aviv Mall is hardly the bastion of Tel Aviv hardcore lefties. If anything, it's the bastion of the Tel Aviv nouveaux riches or just not so rich social climbing snobs. They were probably glaring at you because they glare at everyone.

Posted by: Imshin | Jun 27, 2009 8:07:21 PM

Did I confuse dates again? We're still even, but aww, I confused again. *hangs head*

Happy Birthday! Ad 120!

Ramat Aviv mall is a weird concept, weirder yet than all the slightly older siblings across Israel. Clearly a mall that the 'hood didn't need (they should have found a sponsor for the university library instead). I guess I'll never get why malls still pop out of the ground like mushrooms after all the years.


(oh, and now that you mentioned Dr. Shakshuka of all... you guys probably don't "do" Neve Tzedek, but it's actually worth it.)

Posted by: a. | Jun 27, 2009 11:20:10 PM

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