Tag Archives: Tel Aviv

Meze Appetizers

While in Israel try meze (also spelled mezze), a selection of small dishes served in the Mediterranean and Middle East as appetizers, think of Spanish tapas.

The word meze was probably borrowed from the Greek mezés (μεζές), which was borrowed from Turkish meze, which was in turn borrowed from Persian maze ‘taste, flavour, snack, relish’, and is found in all the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire.

The meze served depends on the chef and the restaurant but could include some or all of the following:

  • Labne – strained yoghurt cheese
  • Babaghanoush – eggplant (aubergine) mashed and mixed with various seasonings
  • Muhammara – a hot pepper dip with ground walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil
  • Pastirma – seasoned, air-dried cured beef
  • Tabbouleh – bulgur, finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, scallion, with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings

Walking along the promenade from Jaffa to Tel Aviv, you’ll find Etzel Pini BaChatzer, a restaurant that offers typical Mediterranean dining by the sea (not kosher) with a good selection of mezes. One of their specialties is chopped beef and lamb salad with Swiss chard and pine nuts.

As you walk along the promenade there is a fun wall mural on a building facing the beach that shows some famous people enjoying the restaurant/bar scene in Tel Aviv. The mural was painted by Israeli artist Anna Kogan (http://tziur-kir.co.il).

Wall mural-Anna KoganTwo of the people are from Renaissance paintings – the gentleman in the large-brimmed black hat and yellow jacket is from a painting, La Buveuse (Woman Drinking, 1658) by Pieter de Hooche and the fellow with the red outfit and hat playing the lute is from a painting, Jester with a Lute, by the Dutch Frans Hals about 1625. The two young women (in positions 2 and 10) are both named Orit and lived in a building nearby. Position 3 is based on George Harrison from this photo of the Beatles. Position 8 is based on rapper, Master P.

So the people from left to right are :

de Hooche painting, Orit, George Harrison,  Marx,  Freud, Golda Meir, Einstein, Master P., Ben Gurion, Orit, Herzl, Jester with a Lute, model, Golda Meir

Segway Tour

This morning I rode a Segway (Personal Transporter) along the promenade at Armon HaNatziv and I can report that it was really fun (as they say in Hebrew, היה כיף). The Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle that was invented by Dean Kamen in 2001. There are 5 gyroscopes that with the aid of computers and motors in the base keep the Segway upright and balanced. Users lean slightly forward to go forward, lean back to stop or go backward and turn using a handlebar that can be tilted left or right.

Currently I often start a tour of the Old City or Herodium with an overview from the promenade so I’m happy to be able to add a Segway tour as part of a day’s guiding. Another example, before visiting the Knesset or Israel museum, you can ride through the Valley of the Cross, past a Crusader fortress-like monastery that was one of the first buildings outside of the Old City walls but in fact, goes all they way back to Queen Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. It’s also possible to arrange a tour along the Jaffa-Tel Aviv promenade along the Mediterranean coast as part of a guided tour of Jaffa and/or Tel Aviv.

A Segway tour adds 180 NIS (which comes to less than $50.) per person (minimum of 2-3 people) for about 2 hours, note that children must be 16 years or older. Helmets and knee and elbow pads are provided.