Jerusalem Cafes: Round 6

I haven’t done a Jerusalem Cafes post in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been accumulating visits to blog-worthy cafes! I have a lot to catch up on…but here are recaps from four cafe visits that I’ve really enjoyed! Most of the places are repeats of places I’ve been before (it’s nice to have been in Jerusalem for so long that I have favorites!), but there is a new cafe as well!

1. Caffit

An Emek Refaim classic, I’ve already blogged about Caffit once…okay twice. But it is oh, so delicious. Maybe I should really make a “best of” list instead of only honoring one “best breakfast in Jerusalem.”

Caffit has it all, but the assortment of dips/cheeses/spreads that accompanies their Israeli breakfast is the prime winner in my mind.

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2. Cafe Hillel

Cafe Hillel is a coffee/food chain around Jerusalem somewhat in the vein of Aroma. I’ve posted about Cafe Hillel before, but I gave a recap of some lunch items in that post. On my more recent visit, I ordered a breakfast dish: focaccia topped with 2 eggs. My dining companion ordered the Israeli breakfast.

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Everything was delicious! The focaccia was so tasty…probably because of the copious amounts of butter that seemed to be dribbled on top.

3. Kalo

Again, Kalo is somewhere that I’ve visited in the past – once and twice. Again, Kalo is so good that I want to show you more mouth-watering photographs.

Pictured below is an eggs benedict dish with smoked salmon (which I loved because they didn’t smother it in hollandaise as so often happens in the U.S…) as well as an Israeli breakfast.

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4. Cafe Yehoshua

Last but not least, Noah and I branched out from our typical digs and went for breakfast at the new-to-us Cafe Yehoshua in the Rehavia neighborhood. Friends had raved to us about Cafe Yehoshua for months, so we were eager to try it. They had a pretty extensive menu, serving all meals of the day. I went for the basic breakfast which was great (and even included a small piece of grilled cheese with a tomato soup shooter!), and Noah ordered a steak sandwich.

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The food was yummy, but the restaurant isn’t kosher which makes me feel less inclined to re-visit. If kashrut isn’t your thing, though, you would probably enjoy a visit!

If you missed them, check out my other Jerusalem Cafe posts here:

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5

Best Breakfast in Jerusalem

Breakfast in Israel is amazing. The Israeli Breakfast is double amazing.

eggs+cheese+bread+spreads+veggies+coffee+juice+other rotating goodies = yum/love

Noah and I have thoroughly enjoyed going out to breakfast at various locations around Jerusalem throughout this year (see here and here and here).

All of these breakfasts are delicious and – let’s face it – pretty similar. Yet, one cafe stands out as my favorite place for breakfast in Jerusalem.

The winner is….

KADOSH!

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Kadosh is located on HaMalka Street, relatively near to Mamilla Mall. It has the standard coffee/juice/bread/spreads/eggs/cheese/salad situation, but there is something about it that is unbearably delicious.

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Like other cafes that serve breakfast, Kadosh serves two eggs (cooked your way) with their Israeli breakfast. In addition to just choosing a simple cooking method though, Kadosh has a collection of egg dishes you can select to fill your egg order, ranging from omelettes to fried eggs within brioche:

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Another great thing about Kadosh is that they serve breakfast all day! I have been there 4 times now, and three of the times I was incapable of getting off the breakfast kick, but on my most recent visit I ordered a salad with poached egg, sweet potato, and tahini (Noah stuck with the breakfast!):

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Noah and I will be going to Kadosh for my birthday dinner next week – I’ll post about whatever our meal ends up being!

If you are in Jerusalem for breakfast – or, really, any time of day – I definitely suggest that you hit up Kadosh for a meal. You won’t be disappointed!

Traveling to Amsterdam, staying at the ‘t hotel

Sorry for the break in blogging…I’ve been out of town! First, I was on a tiyul to the North with Pardes for three days (posts about that trip coming soon), and then Noah and I took a trip to Amsterdam for 5 days. We were extremely busy – rushing around to see lots of sites, visit museums, and enjoy exploring. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great during our visit to Amsterdam, and most days it was fairly cold and rainy. Nonetheless, we had a great time!

We left last Friday morning bright and early. Noah wasn’t feeling well so he tried to sleep during most of the flights.

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After a fairly full day of travel, we arrived to the Amsterdam airport shortly after 5:00pm.

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The Amsterdam airport is fairly unique in that it is very close to the city center. In fact, it takes slightly under 15 minutes to get from the airport train station (Schiphol) to the Amsterdam Centraal station in the Old City Center.

That is if the train is working….

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We waited for about 15 minutes by the tracks until someone came and told all of the would-be passengers that the train wasn’t running. After trying to figure out the bus system, we gave up and ended up taking a taxi into the city. The ride wasn’t too expensive though because two people behind us in line (a couple of travelers from Spain) asked if we wanted to share a cab!

I will say that the public transport train system in Amsterdam was pretty terrible from our experience. During our 5 days, we tried to use the train 4 times. 3 out of those 4 times the train wasn’t working (!!!) – something we discovered after buying tickets and spending time waiting around for the train. Fortunately, the train service desk was always very willing to give us a refund. Still, I hope our experience isn’t reflective of standard transit service, or I imagine it would be very frustrating to be an Amsterdammer.

After an unfortunately long amount of time, we finally made it to our hotel: ‘t hotel. Noah found ‘t hotel online while he was looking for a canal house we could stay in during our trip. The hotel is also a tea/breakfast shop, and the adorable sitting area greets you upon walking in the door:

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Our room was lovely – fairly spacious with a hot water station and comfortable bed (although there was some pretty gaudy wallpaper). The only downside of the room was that there was very little lighting (hence why the pictures are blurry/dark). I will, however, take full responsibility for the mess. 🙂

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To get to our room, we had to climb two extremely steep sets of stairs, a typical feature – we would soon learn – of canal houses:

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After dropping our stuff at the hotel, it was time to PLAY!!

We walked around and looked at some fun shops including this store which seemed to be one big, hot-food vending machine of sorts:

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We also stopped into a candy store and saw this funny display of American “candy:”

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Eventually we went to dinner at an Indonesian restaurant called Puri Mas. Indonesian food is very popular/common in Amsterdam (Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony), and we read about the traditional rijsttafel dinner in our guide book. Rijsttafel is a Dutch word that literally means ‘rice table,’ and it’s basically a sampler dinner of sorts – small servings of different meat and vegetable dishes accompanied by rice. We ordered the rijsttafel dinner at Puri Mas and it was delicious (although some dishes were a bit spicy):

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Post-dinner included a little more window shopping and a walk through Leidseplein – a square in southern Amsterdam with lots of shops, restaurants, and entertainment. The area seemed to be very popular among tourists, and we spotted one of these pop-up urinals:

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Exactly as it sounds, this urinal pops up from the ground at night to provide a place for people to relieve themselves that is more pleasant (for others) than the ground. We also saw these warning signs all over the place telling people to be careful about what drugs they buy (apparently some people were sold heroin as cocaine and died):

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I guess the rumors about people going crazy in Amsterdam are true…

Not everything in the square was so edgy though…such as this Mini Cooper store:

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Eventually, we were exhausted from the early start to the day and headed back to the hotel for some sleep.

In the morning, we got up fairly early to have breakfast before our 9:00am pre-arranged ticket time at the Van Gogh Museum. Breakfast was provided at the hotel and included juice, yogurt, coffee or tea, and – Noah’s favorite breakfast! – bread and cheese:

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While good, the breakfast got a little redundant after 5 days…I sure missed my yogurt and oatmeal. 🙂

Check back soon for the first day’s activities such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and Keukenhoff Gardens!

Other Amsterdam Posts

Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Keukenhof Gardens
Canal Cruise, Museum of the Canals, and the Old Jewish Quarter
Anne Frank House, Amsterdam City Museum, and Oude Kerk
Day trip to Rotterdam, architecture tour

Jerusalem Cafes: Round 4

Israel…land of milk and honey, land once thought to be the physical center of the world, now “only” the spiritual and emotional center of the world.

Also, land of cafe culture and a quite-possibly-perfected leisurely breakfast….

So, it’s time for another ‘Jerusalem Cafes’ post!

The last few weeks involved two visits to The Grand Cafe. Grand Cafe is practically next door to my apartment AND delicious, so it’s proved to be a great go-to place for any meal of the day. I went for lunch with Noah and we ordered eggplant lasagna, open-faced mozzarella toast, and a cappuccino:

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My next visit was with friends for breakfast so, of course, we ordered the signature Grand Cafe breakfast. This included the Israeli breakfast standards of eggs, bread, a hot drink, cold drink, and salad. While many Israeli breakfast come with fixed sides including some combination of cheese, spreads, tuna, avocado, and other vegetables, the Grand Cafe breakfast lets you select your own sides from a lengthy list. Around the table, we ended up with jam, tapenades, eggplant (with and without yogurt), roasted zucchini, gouda cheese, and yogurt with granola:

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The waitress we had at Grand Cafe was super sweet and brought us coffee mousse with a chocolate ‘espresso’ bean after the meal!

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Grand Cafe is definitely a favorite. Everything on their menu looks great, and everything from their coffees to salads are really tasty. Also, their dessert case looks amazing. 🙂

The next cafe we visited was Cafe Hillel. Cafe Hillel is an Israeli cafe/coffee shop chain – somewhat similar to Aroma – but slightly fancier. Noah and I met there for lunch during the week and had a nice meal. Many restaurants around Jerusalem offer a ‘business lunch’ which includes a lot of extras with an entree order if you go for lunch during the work week. I ordered eggplant/goat cheese ravioli with pesto cream sauce and it came as a business lunch with bread, salad, and juice (I chose carrot juice). Noah shared my business lunch extras with me and also ordered a caprese pizza (although there didn’t seem to be any basil) and a fruit shake:

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I really liked Cafe Hillel and there were a lot of salads and drinks that looked appetizing – I definitely hope to go back and try another dish!

Lastly, we went to Tomas Masaryk for dinner. Tomas is on Emek Refaim and has a fairly brief menu: salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and a few fish dishes and starters.

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I liked the atmosphere of this restaurant, and we had a seat where we could see a little bit into the kitchen and saw the chefs working their magic with the pizza oven. For our meal, we ordered a pizza with spinach, tomatoes, stracciatella, and olives, a salad with sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and feta, and focaccia with eggplant, pesto, and mozzarella.

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The food was good, but I don’t think Tomas is a new favorite. If I’m eating on Emek, I’m still partial to Caffit!

Other Jerusalem Cafe posts:

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3

Hydra: food

After our big hike, it was more-than-time for lunch when we finally made it back to the town center. We quickly located a souvlaki restaurant that looked perfect for lunch.

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Souvlaki is a popular Greek fast food of sorts that involves meat on skewers or with pita. Generally, meat options are pork, lamb, or chicken. Essentially all of the restaurants on Hydra had large outdoor seating areas looking out on the water, and after ordering, we found a nice table outside to enjoy the breeze and wait for our food.

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I ordered lamb kebabs and Noah ordered a Greek beer and chicken souvlaki:

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Lunch tasted great, but we were both in a bit of a meat-induced coma afterwards.

Following lunch, we strolled around the island streets a bit more and had a good laugh when we discovered this sign:

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After much speculation about what sort of conference the mules and donkeys were headed to, we saw this sign later in the day:

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Turns out the meeting was for mule and donkey owners to discuss problems facing their “traditional profession.” Maybe it had something to do with another poster we saw which seemed to be from some animal rights group protesting the treatment of mules and donkeys! I guess even the cutest of islands has their own crazy politics. 🙂

Besides learning about the mule and donkey drama of Hydra, we did some boat watching around the port:

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There were a couple ENORMOUS private yachts in the port…our guide book mentioned that celebrities often visit Hydra, so we had a good time guessing who might be inside!

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Eventually, it was time for a pick-me-up, so we found another cafe where we could relax and drink coffee as the sun set:

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For dinner Saturday night, we went to Psaropoula, a restaurant recommended by our guide book.

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The restaurant was near the water in the main town area, but it was unique because it wasn’t on street level. Getting to the restaurant required going up a flight of stairs to the rooftop level, and we sat outside on a rooftop balcony with great views out to the water:

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Like dinner the night before, we decided to order a few dishes and share. We ordered Greek salad again, eggplant rolls stuffed with halloumi cheese, and a feta cheese dish that consisted of feta wrapped in filo dough and drizzled with honey and sesame seeds:

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The meal also came with a bread basket, croutons, and dip:

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Yum!

Sunday morning we had our last eats on Hydra. Breakfast was from the Mistral Hotel again, and it was even more delicious than the first day’s breakfast. This time around, there was tomato soup followed by fruit, coffee, tea, bread, jam, olives, tomatoes, bruschetta, rice pudding, a sweet-cream filled danish, frittata, and a vegetable omelette.

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After making a pretty good dent in the breakfast food, we gathered our things and headed to catch a ferry back to Piraeus Port. Stay tuned for more about the Athens segment of the trip coming soon! 🙂

Other Greece posts

1. Getting There
2. Hydra: arrival and Mistral Hotel
3. Hydra: exploring

Hydra: exploring

On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to greet our first full day in Hydra! Arriving after dark the night before, we were eager to see what the town looked like in the daylight and enjoy some of the beautiful views we read were so ubiquitous on the island.

Before heading out, we fueled up on the amazing breakfast offered by Mistral Hotel. The breakfast is included for all guests and was home-cooked and served each morning. Breakfast was served in the outdoor courtyard, and we received quite a spread.

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As soon, as we were seated we were brought small glasses of pea soup, shortly followed by bread, fruit, coffee, juice, cereal, breakfast pudding, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes/cheese, sweet bread, a noodle/cheese bake, and cheese sandwiches:

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WOW! We did not come anywhere close to finishing all the food. Once fully sated, we headed out to get a better look around Hydra:

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No cars are allowed on Hydra, so everything is very close and walkable. The walkways are primarily cobblestone and the houses are almost all white stucco with ceramic roof tiles:

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Because cars aren’t allowed, mules and donkeys are used to transport supplies, and we saw lots of food loaded onto flat crates and placed on wheels for transport:

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The town center is the port where there seemed to be a constant flow of business and pleasure boats and ferries, and the dock was lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes:

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The water was amazingly clear:

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After checking out the town center and marveling at how adorable the island was, we got started on our primary activity for the day: a hike up Mt. Eros. Before the trip, Noah looked up some information about hiking during the vacation, and we thought this would be the perfect activity to fill a day on an island. The information Noah found said that hiking Mt. Eros would lead to a gorgeous view of all of Hydra (and more!). The trail would also bring us past two monasteries.

Excited and sunscreened…ready to make the climb:

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The first part of the hike was through cobblestoned neighborhoods, but after awhile it transitioned to forested and rocky trails:

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Higher and higher…

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After about two hours of climbing, we finally reached the top.

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Holy cow – the views were AMAZING!

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There was even a bell at the top to ring. 🙂

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Other Greece posts

Getting There
Hydra: arrival and Mistral Hotel

 

 

Jerusalem Cafes: Round 3

Continuing my series of posts about Jerusalem cafes (see here and here), Noah and I went to a couple more places in the recent weeks.

For dinner, we went to Focaccia Bar Hamoshava – a meat restaurant on Emek Refaim.

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As the name implies, Focaccia’s specialty menu item is focaccia. The menu offers a range of uniquely Israeli focaccia varieties (such as eggplant/egg/tahini), as well as pastas, meat entrees, and a small collection of salads and sandwiches. The restaurant was very nice with an extremely friendly waiter! To start, Noah and I shared the basic focaccia with spreads (it came with egg salad, tapenade, eggplant, sun-dried tomato paste, and something vaguely resembling non-spicy salsa).

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Look at their beautiful ceramic plates:

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The focaccia reminded me more of a flat bread than the thick focaccia I am used to in the US…I liked this version a lot better!

For our main dishes we ordered salmon fettuccine and eggplant mousaka (fried eggplant with ground beef and lamb) to share. Everything was delicious, but it was a lot of food and we couldn’t finish everything!

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After the meal, our very friendly waiter treated us to coffees (I ordered decaf, Noah got Turkish coffee). I would definitely go back here again!

The other new place we tried in the past couple weeks was Caffit. In fact, we went there twice! The first time was after a slightly disastrous morning buying Rav Kavs (Israeli bus passes). Noah and I had intended to get bus passes and then treat ourselves to an Israeli breakfast.

Rav Kavs are only available at the Jerusalem central bus station and a smaller station called Davidka (which we believed to be closed on Fridays). So, we headed out to the Central bus station in the morning. The Central Station is ENORMOUS! In fact, it is practically an indoor shopping mall combined with a transportation hub:

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After getting our bearings, it was a little bit of a treasure hunt to find where we were supposed to buy the Rav Kavs – we were directed from one window to another until we finally ended up in a back room of the station devoted specifically to the production of new Rav Kavs. We had to take a number and wait about 20 minutes until it was our turn. Once inside, it went pretty quickly, but by the time we were done and leaving it was already past 11:00am. We started to take the bus home but got stuck in a big traffic back-up that eventually led us to get out and walk.

Originally, we planned to go to the Scottish Guest House for breakfast. The Scottish Guest House is located near the intersection of King David and Emek Refaim and is a beautiful bed and breakfast up on a hill, overlooking Jerusalem’s old city. I stayed there my first time in Jerusalem about five years ago, and I still remember the great breakfast spread they serve each morning! According to their website, breakfast is available to the public from 11-3 on Friday and Saturday. Since it was Friday, we thought this was a perfect opportunity to go! Unfortunately, their website appears not to have been updated in a while because when we finally arrived we were informed that they actually stop serving breakfast at 9:30….NOOO! At least we got some pretty views out of the detour:

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By this point, we had been thwarted by Rav Kavs, public transport, and the Scottish Guest House, so when we finally reached Caffit on Emek Refaim and learned they were no longer serving breakfast, we were too tired/hungry to be all that disappointed. Despite the day’s mishaps, we enjoyed a delicious lunch (I ordered the signature oreganato salad with fried zucchini and Noah ordered a pizza):

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We also ordered a fresh squeezed apple juice and iced chocolate milk:

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Caffit is a Jersualem favorite amongst both restaurant reviewers and locals and our lunch was great, so we were eager to return again for breakfast.

When we came back for breakfast, we made sure to get there when it was still breakfast time! Noah and I both ordered variations of the standard Israeli breakfast: bread, eggs, spreads, tuna, cheese, hot drink, cold drink.

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So much food deliciousness. This was amazing. If you find yourself in Jerusalem, go here soon. 🙂