Thursday, December 6, 2007

Life in the City - Beuty is skin deep... and cheap

Last week I was watching Fox TV. There was a program about women going to third world countries for cosmetic surgery. Then a doctor from the US came on the screen and gave a speech. You can pretty much guess what a doctor from the US is going to say about any doctor from anywhere, specially on Fox TV! He said even though these women could get their Liposuction, breast implant and nose 'job' for 50% to 70% less money, they should not be going to third world countries, like Thailand, China or Mexico for these operations. He questioned the doctors and pointed out that if there is a problem with your operation in the US, there are plenty of lawyers to help you recoup your expenses and get some sort of "fix".

Proportzia is Israel's most advertised chain of plastic surgery clinics
      To some degree I agree with US doctors. Why go to a third world country when you can go to a first world country. You can also go to a "first rate city" like Tel Aviv and save the same money. Tel Aviv has world class doctors and world class hospitals. There are also world lawyers and lots of them.
      Israel health care system is mostly socialized. I say mostly because plastic and many surgical procedures have been privatized or semi-privatized for years. Patients with means to afford better care and more attention from doctors have funded a small and highly prized "parallel" medical system. Doctors who can and desire to offer more care and in better facilities have also elected to open their own private clinics and to band together and run high quality clinics and even surgical services. For the most part, the actual surgery is done in the state run hospitals. This is specially true in the bigger operations. But, when it comes to patient care, diagnosis, and follow up, private doctors offer services on par with any western private medical system. That is why patients from all over the world end up on Israeli operating tables. This is specially true for NONE plastic operations. From Eye surgery for acute cornea conditions to heart conditions. From Russia to Malaysia and most of African countries. Israeli medical professionals and organizations are open to most patients.
Starmed doctor and specialist referral site, a place to check experience and qualification
      When it comes to elective plastic surgery, Israeli's have been flocking to have their eyes, breasts and fat refocused, enlarged and reduced. This is partly a sign of prosperity in the country and partly a sign of influence from the US and Europe. It is also a sign of the aging population, eye surgery is mostly to people in their 40's to their 60's. Breast and other plastic procedures are also for these from age 35 and up. So if you look at Israel from an outside perspective, you will be delighted by the capability, experience and service here.
Dr. Marcus Harel advertises breast implant services for patients outside Israel
      So, if you want to have cosmetic surgery, call your travel agent and make your plans to come to world class medical city Tel Aviv. Have your surgery and enjoy your recovery in the city by the sea, in a world class hotel with world class service. No need to save money going to a third world city when first class is here for you. See you in Tel Aviv sam-d-man... in the city Read More...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Lawyer in the city - a short introduction

Need a lawyer in Tel Aviv? If you are a tourists or you live in Tel Aviv getting good legal advice is no problem. Tel Aviv University has a world class law school. There are also many other good law schools across the country. Weather your legal problem is big or small, lawyers are available to help. If you have a claim against someone don't be afraid to call the Israel Bar association and get a referral. You may also contact us at the blog and we will try to find you someone that can help with finding a lawyer.

Israel Bar Association English page
The lawyers and judges follow generally the same kind of remedies as they do in the United States and Canada. This country has a first world legal system. If you plan on doing business in Israel, hire or consult a lawyer. Some of the laws are very similar to what United State and European business are expecting, but some are not exactly in every detail. Israel has many laws to protect consumers, but in some cases you need to be proactive.
A law firm's Hebrew site
Come to Tel Aviv, relax and enjoy but remember if someone violates your rights or is negligent toward you, get a lawyer... sam-e-man ~ in Tel Aviv, the city Read More...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nana Bar and Restaurant in Neveh Tzedek - comfy style

If you walk around the streets of Tel Aviv and take the time to look, one place you may want to walk around is the hip and newly renovated Neveh Tzedek area. This is one of the oldest areas of Tel Aviv with beautiful architecture. The last few years, artists, gallery owners and small boutiques have been taking over and renovating. some say it is too late to move in. But is you want to shop or eat a nice meal, come down to 1 Echad Ha'am to the Nana Bar and Restaurant. This is a medium size restaurant with a full menu. In the front you will find a nice sitting area with a nice bar leading to the eating area. You can tell the age of the building by the inside courtyard which serves as an outside "room" especially on warm evenings.

Outside Nana is not impressive.

      The restaurant is decorated in antique large tables which makes for an old homey feel. I sat outside on a warm evening in the beginning of October. The atmosphere was nice and the service was good and not hurried. At about 9:30 PM the place was almost full. Most of the tables were occupied by groups of four or more. We ordered salmon, steak and a serving of lamb pieces for main course. For starters I have a squash-sweet potato soup with ginger. We also had traditional Yemenite lamb meat soup, salty and thick. We also shared a nice green salad. The meat dishes were outstanding both the cuts and the preparation and seasoning. For desert we shared a creme brule and an ice cream with fruit sauce (berries and liqueur). They also had a nice selection of cocktails and aperitifs which I would recommend above everything. Nice to have a good restaurant with a good bar. Overall, this is one nice place, take a look at their site (in Hebrew) and come for a visit. If anything, you can stroll around the streets and window shop, or order a drink at the bar and puff on a cigar!
Photo from the Nana Bar and Restaurant site

Ratings -- Ambiance: 8/10 -- Main Dishes: 7/10 -- Specialties: 8/10 -- Location 9/10 -- Service: 6/10 -- Cost: 80-120 Shekel -- Value: 8/10 Read More...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sex in the city - advice from a Tel Aviv perspective (skip if you are a little prudish)

Editor's note: sam-d goes out and sees foolish behaviour in the sex dance of Tel Aviv. Bars with pick-up attitude are plenty, but men to behave the right way are a few... happy reading... Escort service web site, in Hebrew

      You have met a girl and you feel a little heat between the two of you. You are hopping she feels the same heat. Hint number one, don't make some crude remark. This will for sure way to pour ice water on any possible connection. You must be a gentleman and still find out the lay of the land. Now that you have made the decision to take this budding relationship to step 2, what do you do? The next step is the touching and kissing stage. But what do I do? where do I touch? This is the first test on how the two of you will handle your fledgling way.

Seximo site from the popular circular you find on the steet

A quiet bar, few snacks and some straight talk. We all like to be touched but where is the question. Your girl has favorite places. Just ask her. How do you like your breasts touched? Do you want your vagina massages? Ask her where her favorite place to be touched. You may really be surprised. If she likes her breasts touched, ask her how soft - hard, etc. Don't be shy, she'll appreciate it.
Since kissing is part of step 2, it's best to find out how she likes to kiss. Hard - soft... it's best to know if a little biting is in order. Do you like it so far? try it. If not, end it now, it won't get any better. As for you girls if aren't satisfied with this talk, end it NOW ... more to come from sam-d-man


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Life in suburbia - Modiin and beyond...

Editor's note: We focused on Tel Aviv for the most part. We are starting to get requests to write about things outside the city limits. So here we go with Modiin and Ramat Gan. Two very different cities, both somewhat of suburbs of Tel Aviv.

My daughter, her husband and three children live in Modiin. Modiin is a growing suburban city about mid way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Today there is a good bus and train service between Tel Aviv and Modiin. Since the city is new and a little out of the way from the central region of Tel Aviv, housing is much more affordable than anywhere near Tel Aviv. My wife and I go to this fair city whenever we can, usually about once a week.

Modiin from the air, courtesy Modiin city
On one sunny Friday morning we hopped the train in Tel Aviv and twenty five minutes later we were in Modiin. We were picked up by my daughter. Grandma, grandpa, mom, dad and three kids headed over for breakfast at Angelo's, one of the city's cafes. This is a pleasant cafe in a small mall. You have a choice of indoor and outdoor seating. The Italian style menu offers a variety of egg dishes and pasta. Friday mornings in Israel are much like Saturday's in the US, so breakfast could also mean lunch or brunch. There was appropriate child and baby seats which makes a big difference in this bedroom community of Modiin. The children had egg dishes and the adults pasta and Italian dishes.
Food is average for a neighborhood restaurant. This is not your fine Tel Aviv food but it is a good place for children and a simple meal. The small strip mall has Sushi, Ice Cream and Aroma Cafe. There is also Pizza delivery restaurant in Modiin. With all these choices, you should not go hungry when you don't want to cook.
We spent the rest of the day in Modiin and than caught the last train before Shabbat started.
            sam-d-man from Tel Aviv

Monday, November 5, 2007

Humus in the city - Ashkara & a great humus blog

Hummus is simple and complex. A dish that can be prepared with as little as 3 ingredients, made for as little as pennies (or agorot here in Tel Aviv) yet be as delicious as anything you can imagine. Traditionally it is mostly made of chickpeas and thina (sesame seed sauce). Usually the chickpeas are ground to a fine paste, sometimes with a few small chunks. Then blended with thina, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. The secret to a specific taste is the 'other' spices like cumin, peppers (white or black), salt and sometimes other middle eastern spices. Hummus is found in most of the Arab countries and some European countries (Turkey and Greece). The specific recipes from different countries was carried with the Jewish immigration to Israel. Today you will find hummus restaurants from the humble to the chic. There are lots of resources to find humus information on the web, but a local favorite in Tel Aviv is The Hummus Blog. Apparently, 'abbu shooki' the blog writer is somewhat of a hummus fanatic. Tales of his 20 thina comparison study have been told until the wee hours of the morning among hummus lovers and blogger alike. ENJOY!       Amiv

Hummus with all the trimmings, from article
      At number 45 Yermiyahu street in Tel Aviv you will find one of the best fast food 'in the city', Ashkara Hummus. Ruthie has run this hummus joint for over twenty years. This is a must place to sample according to sam-d-man. So this his tale is of the place, and here is how it goes.... :

        First you will find outside seating. Walk through to the exposed kitchen. All the food is homemade and first rate. The menu is very limited. It's hummus anyway you want it.
        The hummus will be prepared to your instructions. In a pita or in a bowl with onions, Israeli salad, chikpeas, spicy hot souce, thina sauce or a hard boiled egg. Bowl servings come with delicious soft pita on the side to scoop up the hummus. You can also ask for olives, pickles and pickled cabbage salad. The In the winter Ruthie serves soup de-jour. Ashkara is a clean and kosher restaurant and the servings are huge in comparison to any place in Tel Aviv. It is also open 24 hours a day 5 1/2 days a week (closed Friday afternoons and Satrudays until end of shabbat. It is also considered a 'nice' place to eat hummus, not that the other places are 'not 'nice' ~ but hey, this is the 'nice' part of town and hummus is the people's food after all.

        After you give the cook your order you may either enter the small dining room or find a seat outside. You will be served your food with a soft drink or a beer. They also offer all you can drink tea with na'ana, this is also a traditional drink which goes great with a hot plate of hummus in the winter. Cold tea with na'ana is also great on a hot summer day. It's usually drank with lots of sugar. This is a perfect place to come for a quick bite in the middle of the day. The location is also great on a fall day, sit and watch the parade of people floating by. Yermiyahu street has turned into one of the "must be seen" fashion spots. If you are a visitor, ask a local to take you and show you the fine art of scooping hummus, it's truly a middle-eastern tradition not to be missed. -- So, if you want to enjoy hummus at one of the best places in north Tel Aviv, got to Ruthie's on 45 Yermiyahu Street. You wont be disappointed.

              Enjoy, sam-d-man

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round ~ or do they?

The bus takes me to my job every morning as I engage in my nanny duties, with great pleasure and dedication. It is necessary for me to travel an hour or even longer each day (each way!) This makes for a very early rise and along and late ride home. There are no complaints here. I love being a nanny but the getting there and back is a story worth telling. I have prayed for Mary Poppins' Umbrella on more than one occasion!
A new company with brand new shiny vehicles have brought "better" service to the area of Givat Shmuel since August of 2007. The fairy tale ends the first day as the bus arrives at 7:00 AM and speeds down Jabotinsky as usual. The bus does not make its usual turn into B'nei B'rak (remember that story? and the first one?) but continues straight as 6 or 7 of us jump up and ask for an explanation. We get the story of a new bus route as of today and the 69 bus will no longer go through B'nai B'rak!! What about Givat Shmuel? "Its OK - Its OK, says the bus driver - everyone will be fine". It seems the Hebrew explanation is not good enough for Hebrew speakers and we all exit the but. The explanation was so simple, but the driver "from hell" just kept his secret. The bus uses the highway behind B'nai B'rak and exits off by Givat Shmuel and everything is OK. We poor uninformed passengers waited for another 69 bus which of course never showed up or would never show up again in B'nai B'rak. A small notice of the change would have been so nice. Hello new company!

New buses for Frankie
The wheels on the bus continue to go 'round and 'round and the next day we all found our way to our jobs on time. The secret was out. The company has a completely new route but the passengers find out by accident and stress! The wheels turn every 1/2 hour. This is acceptable but of course not dependable. The drivers "from hell" have a very difficult way of telling time and being late by 45 minutes is not unusual.
The driver I meet with every day suffers from road rage! How is that possible you ask? A bus driver is calm, patient, a trained excellent professional. WRONG!!
This man is on a mission of upside-down wheels. He cuts in and out of traffic, pays little attention to the comforts of his passengers and lays on the horn way too much. He resents having to stop to pick up people and many times just does not do that. No way you say!? I have been left waiting at a stop numerous times. I have seen people running to the bus and just ignored. YES WAY!
The "driver from hell" also enjoys a chat with a friendly passenger quite often. The manor women stand by his side as they solve "the world's problems" as the rest of us sit white knuckled waiting for the driver to peek at the road. I swear this is the case.
The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round in this manner any way, while all the complaints seem to change nothing!! This morning "the driver from hell" pulled his most amazing childish feat to date. One woman entered the bus and apparently had no money for payment. She was a young woman and was trying to explain a late payment but I was not certain. The next thing we know the driver and this woman were yelling at each other. The driver insisted she leave the bus and she would not! He stopped the bus and screamed at her to exit. She refused and the rest of us were in a state of shock. The woman screamed back and the wheels on the bus did NOT GO 'round and 'round! Was he going to leave this bus? Scary as another passenger gave the young woman her punch pass to use, but "the driver from hell" refused to allow her to use it. The screaming continued and the bus stayed by the curb for five minutes until he finally gave in and punched the hole in the pass. The young woman sat down, the driver turned the bus on, and away we went. This was just another ride to work for me. My main concern was the temper of "Mr. driver from hell" would he pick up anyone else? Would he actually stop at my stop? Was he wrong?!
Two stops later the pennyless woman came up to the punch card donor and GAVE HER money for the ride! WHAT WAS THAT?!?!
I have two more months to deal with "the driver from hell". My new job is much closer to my home and I have alternative bus routes to get me there. I hope we all live that long and the wheels keep on turning. Mary Poppins may I PLEASE borrow your umbrella for two months???
//from our roving reporter, once again -- thanks Frankie //the Editor Read More...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cooly children's store - Basel square: charming and affordable

The area surrounding Basel Street boasts some wonderful shops and restaurant-cafes. Most are small neighborhood stores specializing in something just a little bit different.
Irit Ashkenazi is the owner and designer of one of the finest of these unique shops. The store is charming from its inviting window display and remains "adorable" throughout its tiny space. Cooly is very cool !!

Cooly display window, charming

Cooly is a gift paradise for newborns to about 6 year old children. Irit designs a variety of baby blankets, lamps, crib needs, stuffed animals and huge selection of toys and decorations for young babies and children. She has a design shop just behind the store.
One of the fun advantages of the amazing stock is the selection in many price ranges. If you want a "little" gift or a more pricey or impressive one, it is here. The staff is very helpful and eager to put a combination of item together for the perfect gift.

Irit reading Israeltomorrow blog story, how exciting

You can find something for 12 shekels or 200 shekels. The choices are never ending and the best part is yet to come! The gifts are wrapped beautifully and stuffed into a darling Cooly bag. A Cooly bag is complete with a Teddy bear and even a colorful ribbon around his neck. Very sweet!
When in Tel Aviv, be sure to visit this 10 year old wonderful children shop, Cooly is cool! //Frankie (Thanks Frankie, our "roving reporter")


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wordcamp Israel - Wordpress User's Conference

I went to the Wordcamp Israel 2007 conference last Thursday. It was an typical technical meeting that could have been anywhere in the world. The most unique characteristic here was English screen presentations and programs (PowerPoint & web examples) with Hebrew lectures. This is a typical 'leading edge' conference, the invitation was listed on some writing and professional listings like Techshoret, IsraelPCdoctor, and Tanglo (all on Yahoo! groups). Actually, Israel tech scene is very much a word-of-mouth type of organism. It probably goes back to the way the country was developed, where the 'protekzya' (essentially nepotism) and 'histadrut' (the all encomassing Israle labor union) counted more than titles and academic accomplishment. But anyway, the scene was full of bloggers and want-to-be bloggers in Hebrew. The idea was to show how easy blogging can be and the fact that WordPress is fully Hebrew compatible. But that is not enough of a reason to gather 100-some people and feed them cold burekas and instant coffee for 8 hours. The real reason is that people who have been moving the WordPress Hebrew version, have used mostly through e-Mail and blogging to communicate, can get together and put a face to the words and the once in a while / late night phone call.

Wordcamp Israel English site, follow that to the Hebrew site...
In addition to that, small 'underground' conferences tend to get people connected and talking, and in Israel this is one of the most common activity anyway. The interesting fact is that this happened here. Israel is the first country after the US that had such a 'formal' meeting. WordPress sent Laurelle VanFossen as a representative. She is somewhere between an evangelist and a public relation 'geek'. I use the 'geek' term in a sense that she is a non-techy pushing a totally technical product. So to people who mostly write, market, communicate, document... essentially deal with words and ideas, she is the 'techy' connection. Laurelle has a new book about blogging and she apparently lived in Israel in a 'previous life'. So she liked the people and the food. That's good enough for most Israeli bloggers.
The blogging book by Laurelle
Like in the US, there are a few blogging services (in Hebrew) associated with portals and mainstream publications (nana Isra-blog, Tapuz blog, bloggerim) - but this is not what "hard core blogging" is all about. WordPress is trying to get people to run and manage their own blog software. That means design, posting, advertising - essentially make each blogger a small business. What a concept? Well, this is really the first time a company or a community has told people: go forth and run your own site ~ it's not that hard. JUST DO IT! Well, is it working you ask? I am not sure, like me, blogger (from google) is good enough for most bloggers. But than again, every writer, business person, marketing freelancer, cartoon doodler and political pontificator has the urge to "control everything". Even if it's just the way a blog page looks and the width of the columns. After all, blogging is about running your own tiny newspaper, advice column and ongoing advertising newsletter.
The speakers mostly covered technical topics, how to design your own style, how to run an audio blog, how to advertise and publicize. At this point not much about the writing, motivation, marketing or other topics related to content. There were two 'business' bloggers who spoke about using a blog to essentially promote their work and get people "prepared" for business. There were a few artsy bloggers who plan to eventually run a blog for a living. But at this point, this is not happening yet in Israel. There are also writers who want to use the blog simply to get a word out, some are political and some cultural (a movie reviewer). Overall, a nice distraction from the keyboard and the daily toil of posting. A techy (not just a 'geek') from the city - Tel Aviv - //AmiV Read More...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reflection of an Oleh (new immigrant from Canada)

Editor's note: I see stories from people who just came or have been in Israel a few years all the time. Like the visitor who came here for a business trip, it seems like new visitors see things in a different light. This is a story from Ross, about what it feels to be here after a few years. Enjoy!

Olim off the plane (courtesy of Jacob Richman ~
The reason is that I have been told that I am more Israeli than Israeli is because I don't take crap here. If you'll be in big trouble!!! I will yell back at people, bang on the hood of a car that is about to hit me, and push my way in like everyone else does. Israelis have absolutely No qualms about asking (more like demanding) for discounts in stores and bitching that something is to expensive. Most of the time..they'll get it. I still love watching people yelling and threatening a police officer giving them a ticket because they did something illegal :) Only in Israel!!!! In this country..American manners get you absolutely no where outside of the places that cater and kiss the asses of tourists. The only ones who can adapt to the messed up system here quickly are the Russians. Since there are over one million here..they really maneuvered thru the system.
Getting married, a good reason to come to Israel (nefesh-b-nefesh -
On the flip side..if there is a car accident or, even worse, a suicide bomber..then everyone stops everything and tries to help out. Employees leave their shops and businesses to go and help. People will stand around the radio and listen to the news if anything happens. Every hour on the hour..people turn the news up on their radios to hear what is happening.
Not one Israeli (including me) has been untouched by what is happening around us and most know someone who has been killed or hurt in one of the wars or in a suicide bombing.
New roads + fast cars + hurried drivers = accidents
This is a country where salaries are low compared to the US and western Europe. However, everyone here acts like they have tons of money AKA credit. I'll explain it to you this way...88% of Israelis have passports and have been abroad. 75% have been abroad three or more times. That is opposed to only 8% of Americans having passports and having gone somewhere other than Canada or Mexico...places that you can drive to. Even though the number of Americans is greater than the number of Israelis, per capita, Israelis travel more than any other nationality in the world. The biggest problem here is that our salaries are much lower than in America, but the prices are pretty much the same as in America.
No matter what..Israelis dress extremely well (everything can be bought here and they buy it), have the latest gadgets, one or more cell phones, and every restaurant is packed. Every time you talk to someone..they're going somewhere. With the weather being nice pretty much ten months a year..people (at least in Tel Aviv) are always out and about.
One thing that I do miss is the bottomless cup of coffee. BUT hell will freeze over if I am going to sit in the lobby of the Hilton and get it there :)

You all wanna know somethin? I aint leavin this place!!!
Home is where the heart is and my heart has always been here!!!
For those of you who have been to already know this. For those of you who have not visited yet..remember these words.
You may leave Israel, but Israel will never leave you!!! Read More...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Molly Blooms: Live Irish Music on Ha'Yarkon

Local musicians carry on Irish music

Last week I went out to see some live Irish music at Molly Blooms on Ha'Yarkon and Mendele Streets. The bar has a 'live music' room where Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the flat screen is turned off and a bunch of local musicians take on the role of local entertainers. This is a 'jam session' but I have to admit, its one of the most entertaining one I have been to in Tel Aviv. This past Wednesday one of the drinkers also took to the floor with Irish jigs that would warm an Irishman's heart. And we all clapped in tempo. The bar is what I would call a real Irish 'style' place. I liked the quiet demeanor of the clientele, there for a pint of beer and a serving of Fish and Chips. The menu is limited, but than again, there are plenty of good restaurants in this part of town. This is a place to hang-out with friends and down a beer or a shot of whisky with a chaser.
Milly is Molly Blooms' logo

The bar has two rooms off the main 'bar' room. One is the 'live music' room which you see in the pub photos, a round room sticking out from the building like a giant bay window. The second room in the back is more suited for diners. Set up like a small restaurant, you can have the warmth of an Irish bar with a nice table for a group dinner. Last Wednesday, the music started at about 9:30 PM but the bar was still mostly empty. By midnight the place was packed and the dinner room had a waiting list. By the looks of it, half of the people were tourists and business people. The location is in middle of the 'hotel row' of the beach front. The other half are local 20's and 30's crowd looking for a good place to enjoy a cold Irish beer or a good shot of whisky. Molley's serves a good selection of bottled Irish beers a great selection of single and double malt whiskies.
So if you are in a mood for some Irish drinking, music or just a cool place to land for a while. Give Molley's a go ~ drinking and jigging in the city, Tel Aviv that is, AmiV Read More...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sex in the city - errotic massage service (skip if you are a little prudish)

A massage ad from Have you got the urge to have a lovely young lady massage your body? From head to toe? In Tel Aviv you have a choice of many different massage services. There are straight massage spas where for about $35- $60- (140 to 250 shekels) you will get a 50 minute body massage. They will require you to wear underwear and the masseurs will be dressed (masseuses are mostly women for straight men). The services are advertised in regular publications as well as on the Internet service and health listings.
Sensual Massage service ad
If you want an erotic massage with a 'modified sexual experience', these services are also available. You can find these services all over Tel Aviv, from the upscale norther neighborhoods all the way to the central bus station area, where foreign workers congregate. You will be told that 'no sex is provided' by the "girls". In Tel Aviv this means no oral or vaginal sex. While the masseurs will be dressed in a small bikini, NO SEX, means exactly that. Don't press the issue or you will be evicted from the premises. So enjoy the massage, find a 'friend' for the sex. In Israel the service are not illegal.
The service provided usually starts with a shower. It is advisable to take a shower, it makes for a nice prelude to the main event. The masseurs will than take off her cloths, either down to bikini underwear or all the way to nothing. At that point she will invite you to lay down on a table face down. A massage lasts from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, half way through the massage you will be asked to turn over and lie on your back. The erotic part will be at the very end. She will masturbate you and you are done. Enjoy your 'sex in the city' massage -- the city -- Tel Aviv //sam-d-man Read More...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boutique houseware: Naaman china and ceramics & more...

Ceramic collection from Naaman

Tel Aviv is an enigma in it's compactness. The older parts are crowded and for the most part upscale in character. This means store front area is also at a premium. So the Israelis like French and Italians have taken to making boutiques out of everything. One of the more interesting creation is a chain of housewares goods called Naaman. The store chain started out as Israel's first kitchen ceramics manufacturer. At first they made simple, affordable designs for everyday use. Today the small stores all over the country are like small boutiques. You will find the old 'daily-use' plates and cups with updated designs. The selection is small, but designs are rotated on almost weekly basis. The stores also carry a serving sets, pots, pans, plastic and glass storage, cutlery, glass and ceramic vases, different type of glassware, tableware and utensils, coffee and tea serving sets... lots of different things.
So how do they get all this into a small space? First of all, the selection in each category is just a 'sample' of what they have. They rotate the stock continuously and they also can order from a large catalog (see online version, sorry, in Hebrew only). The designs and styles vary from classic to modern. Naaman stores also carries designs from other manufacturers, specially in the cooking accessories area. They also brand many items manufactured all over the world. So when you see the Naaman logo, you know it means a high standard of quality and style. Finally, the staff is extremely helpful and courteous. One would think that when buying dishes as a gift, this would not be an issue. But making a shopping decision simple and easy even here is a nice change. The sales people will order you something not in stock, which in this case, is a larger selection than what you can find in the stores themselves. So whatever negative comments you heard of the service and friendliness of Tel Aviv merchant is certainly not true here.
Look for the Naaman logo
Naaman is not actually known for it's store as much as for it's ceramic plates and cups. So if you see the Naaman logo in other stores, take a second look. The dishes have the strength for everyday use and are nicely designed. For the most part they are surprisingly affordable. If you buy a small set there is always another item that can complement or fit the design. So take a look at dishes, Israel style... in the city. Read More...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brasserie M&R on Iben Gvirol

Fine French Bread at the Brasserie M&R

Want to go to Paris for dinner tonight? (but stay in Tel Aviv?) You don't need to rush to the airport or even bother your travel agent. Pick up your phone and make a reservation at the Brasserie M&R at 03-69-67-111 (see virtual turist). The call will hook you up with one of the nicest French restaurant in central Tel Aviv. Its located across from Rabin square at 90 Iben Gvirol street.
This restaurant and bar is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The menu varies with the time of day. In the morning, Brasserie serves a traditional French breakfast menu with that wonderful large cafe au-lait in a large open mug. On Fridays and Saturdays a special breakfast with eggs Benedict and other more traditional French breakfast dishes is offered. Other times of the day lunch, dinner and late night menus offer traditional French dishes. Bread is baked on the premises as should be in a good French restaurant.
Brasserie M&R has indoor and outdoor seating. Outdoors you will find comfortable tables and chairs in a glass enclosed area. This section of Iben Gvirol has wide sidewalks and restaurants take advantage of the nice weather for outside seating. Inside there is a modern French brasserie atmosphere. The decor is modern and clean with black and white dominating the color scheme. Menus are in Hebrew and French, but the wait staff will easily help anyone with English and French orders.
Enjoy France in the city, Tel Aviv bistro at it's best... //sam-d-man


Friday, October 5, 2007

A First Time Visitor's Impressions of Tel Aviv

Wallamberg Street tech area in north Tel Aviv
Editor's note: I am always amazed and excited about what some people say the first time in Tel Aviv. Specially with people who seem to be well travelled and informed. It goes back to my first observation about the huge amount of negative press about Israel, mostly related to nationalism, security and terrorism. So enough of that and let's get to the impression from Hank... (thanks!)


Shalom from Hudson, Massachusetts.

I've been enjoying your Tel Aviv blog since finding your comment on my blog. I wrote about an upcoming trip to Tel Aviv.

Well, except for the 12 hour plan ride from Newark, NJ, the trip was great. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the beach. Its a very scenic beach surrounded by activity - volley ball, coffee shops, pubs, etc. Unfortunately I was on a business trip and we didn't a lot of spare time. I was able to take a swim and the water was perfect. There was only had one day for sight seeing which was spent in Jerusalem.

Azrielli Towers, triangle on the left

Our work week began on Sunday morning, which was a small adjustment. The company I work for has its offices on three of the floors of one of the Azrieli Towers- the triangular one. Great views! We could see all of Tel Aviv, the sea, and the military complex below it. We spend a couple of our lunches in the mall below it. On two of the days we traveled to Migdal Haemek to visit a contract manufacturer. This gave us a chance to see some of the area North of Tel Aviv.

We spent the nights walking along the Ocean Walk finding a restaurant for dinner, then walking back. (The best were the Boya and the Mantaray.)

Observations and surprises:

--> The similarities in the engineering staff in Tel Aviv to that in the US office. Same dress code, same mannerisms, same gripes, etc.
--> The number of US companies that have operations in Israel.
--> How well all of the people we came in contact with spoke English (all except the cab drivers.)
--> The modern architecture in the commercial buildings in Tel Aviv.
-->The soldiers walking around the mall carrying weapons.
--> There's some pretty good Israeli music.
--> The high income and automobile tax rate.
--> The smallness of Israel.
--> The large relative size of the West Bank
--> The number of Muslim Arabs in Israel - about 18% of the population.
--> Excellent food.
--> All of our Israeli coworkers were good natured and love to good debate. (The meetings were very spirited.)
--> Some of the traffic would give Route 128 in the Boston area a run for the money.
--> Political discussions: none.

Because we made the trip, we are now in daily contact with the people in the Tel Aviv office. We also feel like we know a little bit about about Tel Aviv. We may have to make another trip or two to learn more.

That's my experience. The posts about the Tel Aviv / Israel trip can be found at

Hank

Event: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange "Globe" Exhibit

Honey bee globe

Tel Aviv has a wonderfully active art scene. I passed by the port to see a painting exhibit of Yaffo and south Tel Aviv. This was just a prelude to the main outside exhibit now at the Rothchild Boulevard park. Continuing a tradition of companies sponsering art, the stock exchange sponsored a Globe Exhibit. Companies sponsor an artist which depicts the company's business in some way. There are over 30 [?check #?] different exhibits. Some are funny and creative, on a nice day, the buoulevard is buzzing with kids and strollers and flashes from cameras go off like a Hollywood photo-op.

Brass people crossing through the globe

This exhibit is a follow up of two previous shows, one based on bulls, obviously symbolic of the bull charging as a symbol of a good stock market run. Before that, penguins were used as a base for another exhibit. The Tel Aviv stock exchange is a hidden secret of the Israel economy. For a long time, almost a closed club of a few prominent Israeli families who found the big industrial and commercial conglomorates, now a much more a reflection of the international and populist nature of Israeli economy. But sadly, the exchange has not enjoyed the wide support of individual investors in other western countries. So in an effort to advertise the explain the stock trading and investing business the exchange sponsors these outside art shows.

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with "company" satellites

The show itself runs along all of Rothchild Boulevard. It's a nice location on a late summer afternoon. The trees shade most of the central park area, where the exhibit is installed on the edge of a walking path. The kilometer long boulevard is a good walk, although kids seem to get board at about the half way point. On a Saturday morning, the center exhibit area was clogged with strollers and kids pulling on every kind of ball, rod and string sticking off the statues. Some were cute and some a little annoying. But overall, when the place is full of people, it's a nice way to spend a lazy afternoon or a Friday / Saturday day off.\
So come see the globes, on Rothchild Boulevard, 'in the city' -- /AmiV

Bamba baby globe

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

La Paneria: bakery between French and Italian

sampling of La Paneria fine bread selection

Frankie and I were walking down Dizengoff toward the 'center', when the delicious aroma of fresh baked break and cakes filled the street. The warm feeling and wonderful smells beckoned us inside, into La Paneria (81 Dizengoff - 03-620-2183).
Inside we were met by the manager Jonathan. He was our bakery tour guide. Jonathan described more than a dozen home baked breads. Each of them looked more delicious than the next one. Reyes, raisins, herb and various different types of flowers were available on the shelves.
The tour continued to the cakes and cookies. Apples, nuts, dates, chocolate and jellies filled cookies and cakes. They also have a good variety of sugar free cakes and cookies for diabetics or those simply wishing to cut down on sugar. Since Frankie and I are always on the lookout for good cakes and cookies without sugar we couldn't resist.

Cookies with and without sugar
Tonight we enjoyed a delicious apple and date cake, without sugar. Enjoy great cakes and cookies with or without sugar, at La Paneria, 'in the city' - /sam-d-man


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Politics in the city: Tzipi Livni on Ahmadinejad in NY

NY Times today on Ahmadinejad
Foreign minister Tzipi Livni proved today (24 Sept) that she is much more than just another pretty face when she attended the anti Ahmadinejad rally in New York. She showed she has the guts to stand with freedom loving people against those who want to destroy us.
The Iranian dictator of today is no different than his German predecessor. Hitler wrote and spoke his distorted opinions just as the present fascist in Iran. There is a conflict in Israel in how we should respond. There are even these in the foreign ministry who don't agree with Livni's up front honest approach. Some Israelis are afraid to stand up and say this mad man should not be honored by any civilized institution including Colombia University (in New York city).
This goes back 2,000 years of living in the diaspora, when Jews survived by mostly sticking their heads in the sand in face of controversy. Today we have our country and we don't have to hide from evil as we did in 1930's Germany. If Jews and the rest of the civilized world had confronted Hitler this way, the world would have been better for it.
The time has come when we Israelis should bind together with Jews and Christians around the world and face the threat to civilized society.
We Jews in Israel and the diaspora must face our demons and cast off the guilt that has hindered us in the past to face those who want to destroy us. Remember we are part of the solution, not the problem. If you want an example ask these countries around the world like Greece and Thailand, when in their time of tragedy, Israel was the first to respond with help.
Tzipi continue the fight against evil and help all cast off the demons of guilt. //sam-d-man Read More...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Shape Gym on Kikar Rabin (by Jessi)

Another nice gym

Editor's note: this is a contributed article from 'Jessi')

Great Shape in Kikar Rabin lives up its name. The people are Hebrew/English speaking and actually care about you (this is evident when you don’t show up for a week and they call to make sure everything is ok with you). They have various memberships available to work with your schedule and budget. Everyone from students, pre and post army to business men and women frequent the gym at all hours of the day. Mornings are usually the quietest with the nighttime starting to heat up.
It has everything that a normal gym would have; free weights, weighted machines, cardio machines (you can even watch TV - you plug your headphones into on the machines to hear the programs), and locker rooms with hot showers. They have a group exercise room which houses the many different classes, such as kickboxing, cardio hip-hop, yoga, and step classes just to mention a few. A spinning room is also a main feature and you can hear the music pumping with the ecstatic cries of the instructor spurring you on as the sweat beads down your face. What struck me as amazing is their “Boxing Smash” room which actually houses a full size boxing ring and over 10 kickboxing bags suspended from the ceiling on a track so that you can move them from one side of the room to the other with ease!
When you sign up for membership, you are entitled to a free session with an instructor every month who will get you started with a workout, teach you what machines to use and when, and give you an overall reason to keep coming. When you get tired or hungry, you can sit down at the counter of the food/drink bar that’s right there in the gym for you. They have freshly made sandwiches and fresh juice drinks.
Feeling the sore muscles? Indulge in a massage or acupuncture session with one of the many therapists they have on staff at EnerChi, a separate company that works within the gym. As professional as they can be, the various therapists are certified in Shiatsu, Deep Muscle and Tissues, Acupuncture, and other techniques that are too delicious to pass up.
So with a combination of friendly staff, great equipment, motivating classes and the music to keep you going, I’m more than satisfied to be a member at Great Shape. Check it out for yourself, I’m sure you’ll love it. //Jessi - in Tel Aviv (>)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Real estate investment in Tel Aviv: overview

As Real-Estate in the US 'corrects' itself from inflated prices, possibly a correction that will take years, the Real-Estate in Tel Aviv is recovering from years of inactivity and depression. I compare the US Real Estate market to the one in Tel Aviv not to anger or annoy. The comparison is to highlight the opportunity in a market that is on the rising side of the cycle, essentially on the other side of the cycle from the US market. But this opportunity is something that will not last forever, it is also not for everyone. Small investors who are not comfortable investing in a distant location will not be interested. But for these who want to take the opportunity to make money, specially if they are familiar with Tel Aviv and Israel, this is the time to take action.

Renovated Bauhaus on Ben Yehuda

Before you jump into this market there are a few things to learn and become familiarize with. Start out by hiring a good Real Estate lawyer and work with a few good experienced brokers. The legal system in Israel is very sophisticated and sometimes complicated issues are part of a deal. The Real Estate law has developed over many years and two empires, the Ottoman (Turkish) and British laws ruled this land for a long time. Then came the Israeli law to complicate things even more. This is not a problem that professionals in the field are unfamiliar with. Experienced professionals know the laws and practices and therefore can guide you to a safe and profitable investment.
A good local lawyer can help you find an accountant and a Real Estate agent. An accountant will be useful if you are buying a multi-unit residential or commercial building. Once you are set on the type of property you would like to buy, accountants and lawyers can advise on the type of Realtor. Fees for legal and accounting should be negotiated at the beginning of the process. These fees run between 1% and 2% of the total investment. Realtor fees are usually lower than in the US and run the the 2% to 3% range, these can be negotiated at the beginning also.
Real Estate in Israel is recorded in the "Tabo" (recorder's office). Tel Aviv's Tabo office is located at city hall in kikar Rabin. Real Estate lawyers are familiar with the listing process and should be experienced in transferring deeds.
Once you decide to invest in Tel Aviv property, my advice is not to cut costs. Hire the right people with the experience, take their advice and make sure you understand all the steps and the issues. As Tel Aviv is going through a renovation wave, as the economy in Israel is recovering from both the technology and the security slumps, there are many great opportunities to invest in prime location and good buildings.
Enjoy your property in the city, come invest in Tel Aviv.... //sam-d-man Read More...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shalom Hotel in Tel Aviv - Port and beach rest

Why don't you try the Shalom Hotel in the old Tel Aviv port area. Its located at 216 Ha'yarkon street, right across from the port. This boutique hotel with 50 large renovated rooms will provide you with a comfortable place to rest. Specially after a busy day in Tel Aviv.
The Shalom Hotel is steps away from the beach and the old Tel Aviv port area. Here you will find shops, restaurants and bars overlooking the Mediterranean. The Shalom is also a short walk from the Ha'yarkon park, Tel Aviv's "central park". The park straddles Ha'yarkon stream and has miles of paths for cycling and waling and acres of lawns. There are also play areas for children of all ages. The Shalom Hotel is across from the Tel Aviv Hilton, you can have the location at a great discount.
Room rates will be tailored to your budget, with off season rooms in the $85 to $140 range (there is a small discount for Internet bookings at their site).
The staff at the Shalom wants you to feel that this is your home away from home. Call the Shalom: +972-3-524-3277 Read More...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maganda Restaurant, middle-eastern Yemenite Kitchen

Maganda in the Ha'carmel shook
At 26 Rabbi Meir street, one block from Shook Ha'carmel (open air market) you will find this elegant eatery, the Maganda Restaurant (HE website). The restaurant has a reputation of the best Yemenite food in this part of Tel Aviv. After all, this part is also called Kerem Ha'teymanim, the Yemenite Vineyard, where you can find an old community going back three generations. This is the oldest Yemenite neighborhood in Tel Aviv and one of the oldest area in Tel Aviv as a city. In addition, Maganda is known for its hospitality from three Habora brothers: Tsadok, Haim and Ami.
Maganda is the largest and most prominent restaurant in this part of the city. The area is sometime mistaken as jut the "shook" (open air market). So most people do not think of this area as a place to eat a great meal in a nice restaurant. After all, the shook closes at sundown and that's it, 'everybody just go home'. But Maganda is one example of how a neighborhood can be more than just one thing. The "shook" area is still active at night, and Magenda is a place to enjoy. The reputation of this place goes back years, ask anyone and they will tell you. So you are not alone in exploring this place.
Quiet afternoon meal at the Maganda

Maganda is a large restaurant that accommodates a couple of hundred patrons. The menu is in Hebrew and English features main courses between 35 and 72 shekels. You are offered a variety of lamb, beef, turkey and fish dishes. A choice of soups are offered for 18 shekels. There are also a variety of salads including eggplant, Turkish, Greek and green salads for about 20 shekels. Another choice is an assortment of stuffed veggies for 15 shekels. Soft drinks are 8 shekels, credit cards accepted. Magenda is a restaurant where you can have a real authentic Yemenite meal in a nice place. It is also a restaurant where you can feel the warmth and tradition of the Yemenite community in Tel Aviv, something most people miss on a short visit. The food is great and will let you sample this cuisine that was hidden from most westerners, unless of course you have a Yemenite family friend who will invite you to dinner at their home.
On busy evenings call ahead, Magenda will be full during the peak hours, +972-3-517-9990 or +972-3-510-8235. I am sure you will enjoy your Yemenite dining experience at the Maganda. //sam-d-man Read More...

Monday, September 10, 2007

French life in the city: Boutique Central on Dizengoff

French baked good, walla!

Looking to go shopping for a taste of Paris in Tel Aviv? Try the boutique central on Dizengoff. Boutique Central also has locations in Ha'median Circle (120 Zabotinsky), Masrik Circle (90 Frishman) and in Ra'anana and Ramat Ha'sharon.
This shop is a patisserie. The products here look and smell exactly like a small patisserie you will find in Paris or a small French village. The nice part is this being in the middle of Tel Aviv. All the baked goods are fresh and the staff will help you if you have any questions. You may buy a beautiful croissant or a variety of baked goods and breads.
Counter display with elegant creations

Boutique Central is busy on mornings just as the working crowds wakes up. Watch out for the cream baked goods in the display case (at the counter) they will allure you, and most French food lovers will not walk away empty handed. Ask for help and just listen, this is a place to learn about the intricacies of fine French pastries - after all, isn't this was a 'patisserie' is all about?
Remember in Tel Aviv you may enjoy delicacies from around the world (Italian, Russian, China, Thailand, Hungary, Check, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Turkey and the US). Come to Tel Aviv and enjoy a trip around the world. Don't forget to also taste Israel in Tel Aviv. Enjoy the city -- Tel Aviv //sam-d-man Read More...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

T-Shirt fair, cool-funky-weird-nasty Israeli culture

Early shoppers at T-Shirt fair
In the city there is a non-conformist group living right amongst the everyday life of a normal "straight" metropolis. These tattooed, pierced and leather clad people spotted here and there in upscale restaurant and stores, also congregate in the "grungy" parts. On a hot September morning I headed to the industrial zone where you would buy cars and have Harleys fixed. At the parking lot for the Barzilai club, an annual T-shirt sale was going on. Sixty T-Shirt designers and twenty accessory designers and stores gathered to show their creations. The designs were mostly original with a few designers using known images of famous people or items. There were a few interesting designs using special materials. The styles varied from Zionist / Jewish designer with "pick your Jew" with traditional Kafka, Einstein and Ben Gurion all the way to Japanese Anime images with the classic biker / Harley mainstay thrown in.
T-Shirt fair poster

Prices for the T-shirts run from 50 to 200 shekels. The elaborate shirts with the complicated designs or special material fetching more (95% of the shirts were cotton). For the most part, Tel Aviv is a tame town when it comes to the "grungy" crowd. But in a country where uniformity has been so steady - for so long, in education, military, economy and work, there is a strong minority that wants to bend the norms. But there is also a sense of creativity and artistry that does not have outlets in other media. The print and movie sectors are small here, so all these artists need something to put their work "on". So some end up on T-Shirts, original-funky-weird...
I leaned something interesting talking to the designers. They don't seem to feel a great deal of angst and anger or even despair in getting these design out. But they do seem to want a message and a style "on the street", not necessarily to make a statement, as much as to be heard. There were very few "protest" images for the violence and the political situation. I asked why and most people say that it's not that useful to protest what seem to be an inevitable situation between the Israeli government and the Arab world (both Palestinian and Arab states). The other interesting thing is how they network and congregate. They seem to be everywhere and they keep in touch informally by e-Mail and SMS. So keep an eye on the street on announcements for funky-weird-cool craft/arts fairs and enjoy the creativity -- in the city //AmiV Read More...

Sex in the city - Clubs Part 2

Escort and Massage Biz-Cards (read below)

Tonight you want to continue your nightlife your you may want to start at Bukowski, located at corner of Dizengoff and Frishman (39 Frishman). Come about 9:00 PM and stay until you want to go. This is a low priced bar with a friendly upbeat vibe. The service is charming and helpful. Music is basic 80's. This is a fun bar with an easy going feel. No Cover.
Now you may want to try the Levonitin located at 11 Levonitin just off Allemby. This spot has an oriental touch. The food is good and the music is different every night. Go to the Levontin and enjoy yourself and meet new people.
We will end this part of the nightlife tour of Tel Aviv at the Blounlich loacted at 32 Rothchild. This is a hot spot with stylish yuppie crowd. This bar has a good variety of drinks and alcohol. Music is 80's and 90's and dancing is a good here. You will find men and women flirting and teasing, while they enjoy their favorite drink. This bar is known as a pick-up joint. So, if you want to hook-up, see you at the Bloumlich. Opens at 9:00 PM, closes when the last customer leaves // sam-d-man

If you wonder around Tel Aviv early on Saturday morning, you may be baffled by the business cards on the ground. In Tel Aviv, massage, escort, rave and other "sex industry" services are advertised with business cards, post cards and fliers. It's probably a consequence of the strong Tel Aviv printing industry, which makes these cards cheap and quick to print (you can have 1,0000 cards for about 500 shekels). At first, it might seem that Tel Aviv has a large amount of these services. But in reality, you need to be on your toes to spot a sign tucked into a side street or between buildings to find these services. So don't worry about the "decadence" in the city, it's there, so you can have it -- but it will not encroach on your visit here! Read More...

Staying in the City: Tal Hotel in the Port and Beach Area

Tal Hotel Dining Room

Welcome to the Tal Hotel. The Tal is next to the Beach and only a two minute walk to the Tel Aviv Port area. The port is loaded with fine restaurants serving a wide variety of menus. There is also great nightlife when the sun goes down, bars, clubs and a great walkway on the water.
Your stay at the Tat will include a modern appointed guest room. The rooms include cable TV, safe and a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and cofee maker. The hotel's dining room and bar is designed in a modern motif. There is also complementary wireless Internet service through the premises.
Night run near Tal Hotel

Breakfast is included in the room rate. The Tal is a medium size hotel with 120 guest rooms. Rates in the off season range between $126 and $146. The Tal is located at 287 Ha'yarkon street, Tel Aviv. Phone +972-3-542-5500.
While you enjoy sea, sun and fun in Tel Aviv, come stay at the Tal Hotel //sam-d-man Read More...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Yeminite soup in the city: Ha Bayit at the Yemanite Vinyard

Ha Bayit's scruffy exterior
Editor's note: one of the first areas in Tel Aviv to be developed is the Yemenite Vineyard (Kerem Ha'Teymanim). This area is just north of Yaffo and is made up of narrow streets and small one and two story houses. Shook Ha-Carmel is here and so are many interesting locations. We are just starting to write about this part of Tel Aviv.
    AmiV and I were ready for lunch. We started walking toward what AmiV says is the best soup kitchen in Tel Aviv. After walking for a few blocks behind the shook Ha-Carmel we stumbled on Yihie Kapach street number 31. This eatery is known as the "House" (Ha-Bayit) by all the people in the neighborhood.
    I took one look at this place, that looks like it did during the time of the Second Temple and looked at AmiV. He assured me the food was good. We walked in and took seats at a table I wasn't sure would hold up. The menu was scribbled on a blackboard on the wall and contained a variety of Yemenite soups, pita and one salad.
    The soups offered by the "House" were: meat, oxtail, head, foot, lungs, bone, all for 27 shekels. Bean soup for 18 shekels and kabobs for 27 shekels. You may also order hummus and pita or a salad for 16 shekels. Drinks are available but not included in the a-la-cart menu.
    No credit cards or checks, cash only. You will not be provided with a written bill either, the server does the calculation in their head and tells you what you owe.

Delicious Meat Soup

    We each had the meat soup. I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food. The broth was very tasty and the meat was tender and luscious to the taste. The soup was served with pita and two sauces. Be careful, one is VERY "hot" (spicy).
    I have a very enjoyable lunch - too bad nobody at the "House" speaks English, so they could enjoy our review. //sam-d-man Read More...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dizengoff Center part 2 (stores and more...)

Tiers of "serpentine" interior

Two weeks ago sam-d-man wrote about Dizengoff Center (previous story). Since this is such a big shopping center, we wanted to give more of the feel and the quality of the place.

First of all, Dizengoff Center is considered the first and the "grand daddy" of shopping malls in Israel. At the time it was built (1973) Tel Aviv depended mostly of shopping on main commercial streets. Allemby and Dizengoff streets were considered the "upscale" places to shop. Also, Tel Aviv and Israel in general, did not have large shopping centers built as one unit. So even the idea of one large place to shop was a revolution in consumerism. The center is built out of two buildings straddling Dizengoff street at King George Street (Ha'melech George). The interesting about the center is the curvy layout and the open center. Both buildings are similar in layout with a serpent looping structure going from floor to floor (almost looks like a squashed spring). When you look at interior pictures it's hard to imagine how this feels. In the middle of this serpent (or spring) is a big space, this way you can see from the ground floor all the way up to the fourth. Imagine the Guggenheim museum but with a funky squashed center instead of the circle.

All along the center serpentine, there is a walkway-balcony. Along the balcony are store fronts, mostly there are small specialty stores, boutiques and services (hair dressers, travel agencies, tattoo shops, etc.) The larger stores tend to be at the end of the "squashed" loops and on the "flat" parts. Oh, the "flat" part of Dizengoff Center is an "extension" outside the loops. OK, are you confused enough? Well, you will be more confused, and maybe even a little lost the first few times here. But, there is a positive side to this wavy architecture. Dizengoff Center is HUGE. Not just by Tel Aviv / Israel standards. A way to grasp the size of the center is by the variety of stores. The still in construction Dizengoff Center web site has a partial list of 164 stores (not all the categories are done, as of Sept. '07). (Editor's note: Wikipedia (HE) lists 420 stores. Hopefully the center will have an English version of the site with store index and phone numbers). Anyway, there are stores here off all kind and type. From the big Israeli and international chains to Tattoo and piercings. There are even health clubs and spas. Some of the unique stores here are stamp and coin collector stores which are hidden among the home recording equipment and computer stores.

Typical storefronts, large and small packed together

Dizengoff Center has been renovated a few years back. It went through low times in the late 1990's. Today it has become a high-caliber shopping center. For most people in Tel Aviv it's the biggest with most places to shop. It is one location where all the important fashion chains are concentrated. If you need to shop for cloths, gifts or accessories, this is the place to come.
Tags, Tags, Tags
While talking about shopping, let's look at Israeli fashion specifically at the big chains. If you come to Dizengoff Center for cloths, take a look at: Crocker, Fox, Golf & Co., Diesel, Zara, Onot, Castro, Renuar... OK, you get the point, there are lots of places to buy fashionable clothes, not only that, Dizengoff Center is a good place to start. Tel Aviv fashion is competitive, that's good for the consumer. Besides the large chains, take a look at the smaller stores and boutiques. There you will find lots of unique and interesting things.
Enjoy your shopping in Tel Aviv, come to Dizengoff Center... //AmiV Read More...