Sunday, February 21, 2016

Alcohol Drink Mix in Montifiore Cafe

Small alcoholic drink selection in Montifiore, a cafe during the day and bar at night (Ibn Gvirol @ Arlozorov)

Tel Avivians are different in their entertainment and drinking habits than Americans or Europeans. Alcohol drinking is not as popular as in most western countries. There is also less abuse, especially in the younger (millennial) population. Israelis consume less hard liquor than most westerners this makes for a lower alcoholic statistics (driving accidents and poisoning related incidents). But you can still get a good drink in many restaurants and cafes. With higher living standard constantly pushing up, Israelis started going out more and entertain in bars is way up (mostly with friends and work related events). This trend is driving many to Tel Aviv's more popular entertainment centers. Even small cafes (Montifiore on Ibn Gvirol in the picture above) are getting in the game. There are hundreds of small bars, cafes and restaurants serving drinks. Most will have beer (Goldstar and Maccabee are local Israeli beers) and a few choices of wine. The ones with small bars have a few selections of Whiskey, Vodka, Arak and Rum. In most small bars the selection is small so don't expect an exotic top shelf Irish Whiskey. But a good Johnnie Walker Red Label or a nice bottle of Absolut is definitely available. Beer 15 to 25 shekels, wine 25 to 50 shekels (cup), mixed drinks 25 to 80 shekels. There are variations in everything alcoholic in Tel Aviv, even taxes on alcohol in shops are a hotly debated topic.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tel Aviv Sunset

Tel Aviv sunset from Givatay'im star observatory hill
Tel Aviv is sometimes called "the city with it's back to the sea". Essentially meaning a city on the sea who seems to ignore the beach and sea. While Tel Aviv beaches are not the attraction they used to be, people still go to a high point or the beach at sunset. Some days the sunset puts on a show that is so magnificent, it is hard to beat. While Tel Aviv and most of Israel are drawing people's attention away from the sea, great sunsets on the beach are still amazing. Besides the beach, any hill with a clear view to the west is great. This picture is from one of the Givatay'im hills (the town's name literally means "two hills"). I took this picture with the high rise construction in the east of Tel Aviv's central area. The lower buildings in the front are residential neighborhoods of Givatay'im and Tel Aviv.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Live on a Green Street

One of Givatay'im's "green blocks" is Shenkin Street. Nice gardening example in this side entrance.
Some new visitors to Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas are surprised by "all the green". Which is a bit strange these days. Maybe twenty years ago, when drip irrigation was unknown around the globe and when the "Green Line" did not have political connotation, that was excusable. But today this is not the case. A big part of Israel's quality of life effort goes to giving everyone the means to beautify their surroundings. While real estate agents do not promote this one factor heavily, apartment seekers favor green streets. In Tel Aviv and surrounding towns, municipalities are investing into "greening" public places and residential streets. When looking for an apartment to rent or buy in Tel Aviv, make the green factor into account. Once you start looking for these hidden gems, you will have a new perspective on Israel.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Look for the Shnitzel & Fries

Tamir's Shnitzel on Givatay'im's main street (53 Katzenelson St.) is a rare find, busy from 1:00 to 3:30 PM)

The attraction of a hot shnitzel in a baguette as an alternative to a burger is hard to miss. Just about any good shnitzel eatery is a rare find. I am not sure why, but for the most part, very few independent eateries specialize in this classic Israeli dish. The Shnitzel (wikipedia) is a favorite with kids and soldiers. Here is a bit of popular Israeli food background. Maybe because prepared frozen food or chicken's popularity, this dish is one of the mainstay of schools and homes. Frozen sections are filled with large packages of shnitzels ready to heat in an oven or fry in a pan. In schools, kids from kindergarten to high school seem to have shnitzel on a weekly basis. As far as soldier visiting home on weekends or parents visiting military base, shnitzel and humus seems to be the most "well packed" popular dish. It usually goes with bread (or inside a pita) and canned pickled salads (olives, pickles, hot peppers, carrots). If you have a great place for shnitzel, not just in Tel Aviv, please add a comment.