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

Is this the fast I desire?

Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – is considered to be the holiest day in the Jewish Year. It is a day for reflection and deep introspection. A day to devote yourself to thinking about how you have strayed over the last year, to repent for what you have done wrong, and to commit yourself to being a better person in the coming year. Interestingly, the prayers and meditations on Yom Kippur can only repair the relationship between you and God or you and yourself. To repair a relationship with another person, you must apologize directly to them. Making the day even more significant is the fact that tradition teaches it is on this day that the book of life is sealed, and within it is written who shall live and who shall die over the next year. One’s merit is determined by the sincerity with which they do teshuvah.

Teshuvah translates roughly as repentance, but the concept is much more complicated. It is not merely about regret and contemplating one’s actions. Teshuvah is a turning towards the right – a true change of heart and character. If presented with the same situation in the future, you would do differently. It is a painful and difficult task to truly change oneself, but this is what teshuvah demands. And this is the charge to the Jewish people during the month of Elul and the high holy days, culminating on Yom Kippur. We are to change ourselves, alter the core of our persons, to become better people. On the most holy day of Yom Kippur, we do this by attending services all day, engaging in continuous self reflection and contemplation, and taking the day off of school and work.

And we fast. No food. No water. Nothing.

And this is where the problem lies. For me and dozens hundreds thousands of Jewish girls and woman who are struggling, recovering, or recovered from eating disorders. For us, fasting is not a way to think more deeply about justice, repentance, and what is right. On the contrary, it is a direct reversion back to some of the behaviors that we most wish to change about ourselves. At best, fasting is a painful reminder of a troubled relationship with food. At worst, it is a triggering experience that brings with it a return or increase of negative thoughts/behaviors.

The acknowledgement that fasting on Yom Kippur is a troublesome demand for those with eating disorders is receiving more attention. In 2012, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), the central authority for Jewish law within Conservative Judaism, released a responsa (ruling regarding religious law) titled The Non-Fasting Shaliah Tzibbur on Yom KippurThe overall objective of this responsa was to determine if it is ever permissable for someone who is not fasting on Yom Kippur to be the service leader. Embedded within this larger question is a discussion about which people are excluded from the commandment to fast. In fact, some people are not only permitted to eat, but they are commanded to do so if abstaining from food could cause them harm. For example, if one is ill and fasting could put them at increased physical risk. Within the responsa, the Rabbis note the application to those with eating disorders, stating “it may be dangerous for those who are in treatment for and recovery from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia to engage in restrictive practices around food consumption.” It seems, then, that there is a green light of sorts permitting those affected by eating disorders to not fast on Yom Kippur.

Unfortunately, the decision is not quite that easy. At least for me. The weight of the decision not to fast feels too monumental. I fear I would be letting down my community, friends, coworkers, family – all of whom are fasting. I worry I am taking the easy way out, making excuses, separating myself from thousands of years of tradition. I worry that I’m ‘too weak’ to handle hunger, that I’m missing an opportunity that would be good for me, that I will regret whatever food I eat during the day….and this is when the eating disorder voice slips in.

And I know I should not fast. I should not fast because in between the meaningful introspection and solemn prayers, I would be obsessing about my next meal, considering how many calories I can eat at dinner that night, if my fast is sufficient to offset the extra calories eaten the night before, and wondering which of the five sizes of pants in my closet (the result of years of weight loss/gain) will fit me tomorrow. Rather than being a day of turning away from those things I wish to rid myself of, it becomes, instead, an invitation for them to reenter my life.

The purpose of the fast on Yom Kippur is not simply food deprivation. In Isaiah 58:5-7, part of the Haftorah reading on Yom Kippur, we read,
is such the fast I desire, a day for men to starve their bodies?…No, this is the fast I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of the yoke. To let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke. It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home; when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to ignore your own kin.”

To me, this is a reaffirmation that lack of food is not the real point. And if fasting makes it all about the food (as is a temptation for someone with my history), then I am, in fact, missing out on the holiday’s true significance. Choosing not to fast is not an ‘easy way out’ or excuse at avoiding the discomfort of hunger. Rather, it is a way for me to access the true meaning and intent of Yom Kippur.

If you are interested in additional reading about the connection between eating disorders and Yom Kippur and the broader Jewish community, check out some of these articles/posts:

Fasting From Affliction: Reflecting on my Eating Disorder on Yom Kippur – on TC JewFolk
When Fasting is Not Teshuvah: Yom Kippur with Eating Disorders – from RitualWell
Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community – from My Jewish Learning
Eating Disorders, A Problem Among Orthodox Jews – from the Huffington Post
Rabbis Sound an Alarm Over Eating Disorders – from the New York Times

Food Grows in Trucks

Wikipedia, the source of all reliable information, defines a food truck as:

A food truck, mobile kitchen, mobile canteen, roach coach, or catering truck 
is a mobile venue that transports and sells food. Some, including ice cream trucks, 
sell mostly frozen or prepackaged food; others are more like restaurants-on-wheels. 
Some may cater to specific meals, such as the breakfast truck, lunch truck or lunch wagon, 
and snack truck, break truck or taco truck.

Food trucks are all the rage these days in Minneapolis. You can see my first venture into food trucking here. To celebrate mobile food, Uptown hosted the second annual Minneapolis Food Truck Fair a couple weekends ago. I did not attend the original food truck fair, but from what I gather on the internet, it did not go well. There was an entrance fee, lines were monstrously long, etc, etc.

This year’s fair was held in Uptown instead of downtown (where the first one was located), there was no entrance fee, and the lines were still monstrously long.

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I can’t compare the lines to last year, but I waited about 30-40 minutes. Admittedly, I don’t think there’s much that could have been done to speed the process if people wanted their food fresh, but if you hate standing in line this probably would not be a good event for you. It also didn’t help that there is an unwritten agreement between Minneapolis and myself that whenever there is an outdoor festival that I attend the weather will be boiling hot. Thanks, MPLS, I ❤ U. 🙂

My first stop was at The Anchor Fish & Chips truck.

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While waiting in line, I watched the kid next to me chomp on a hunk of meat:

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I ordered the classic. Fish. And Chips.

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yummm.

My friends had a slightly shorter wait at Holy Arepa. They got – you guessed it – arepas:

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A chicken pot pie pasty from Potter’s Pasties was also enjoyed:

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Overall, the Food Truck Fair was a lot of fun and a neat opportunity to get a better idea about what the food truck scene offers. If I could plan the event though, I would have the trucks offer sampling sizes of their most popular dishes. With all of the option, it would have been fun to get to do more sampling. But with such big portions it’s not realistic to get more than a couple things.

If this happens next summer though, I will definitely be there!

Beef and Mushroom Taco Salad

I have two food goals currently.

1. Cook smaller recipe sizes. Even though I’m only cooking for myself, I’ve been making full recipes. The result is I will end up eating the same thing all week. I want to get more variety, so I’m trying to make less food at one time. This will force me to cook more during the week. While time consuming, I really enjoy cooking and think that will be a positive thing.

2. Have more variety in the foods I buy. Although I make a variety of recipes, I typically stick with the same set of staple foods and just make them in different ways. Yogurt, apples, bananas, chicken, spinach. Eating a wider array of foods will – I’m hoping – be both fun and nutritious since I will getting a greater range of vitamins and nutrients.

As a result of these goals, my grocery shopping trip to the farmer’s market and co-op included these food I don’t normally buy: ground beef, chicken sausage, cantaloupe, peaches, rainbow chard. I also tried to round out purchases with foods that I get sometimes but aren’t regulars. For this, I got: mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and turkey sandwich meat.

From this spread, a taco salad was born. *full recipe below

First, cook 1 onion in some coconut oil spray:

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Add 1/2 pound ground beef:

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As the meat starts to cook, add a heaping 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, paprika, and stir to combine:

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Add mushrooms:

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Once cooked through, serve atop greens:

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And add the fixings:

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I added cheese, avocado, salsa, and black bean chips.

This dinner was delicious! Since the recipe I made was for two portions, I get to look forward to the next serving tomorrow. Some chocolate and coconut milk finished off the meal perfectly. 🙂

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serves 2
Ingredients
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- generous 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- generous 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Method
Heat a skillet with non-stick coconut oil spray. Add onions and saute.
As the onions starts to become translucent, add beef.
As beef begins to brown, add crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, and paprika.
Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until meat is done and veggies are tender.
Serve as a salad or tacos!

Italy: Part 5

This will be my final Italy post! One of the major activities Noah and I did while I was Rome was a trip to the Great Synagogue and Museum. The Synagogue is located in what was formerly the Jewish ghetto, and it is still a working synagogue with services held three times a day.

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The Great Synagogue was beautiful – very large and ornately decorated. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the synagogue or museum, so I don’t have photographs to share. I was unaware of this before, but Roman Jews consider themselves to be separate from both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. They have their own distinct pronunciation of Hebrew and their own tunes for prayers. There are currently 17 functioning synagogues in Rome (all orthodox – like most of the world outside of the US), and the Jewish community in Italy numbers about 35,000.

The former ghetto area around the synagogue still has a high Jewish population, and there are several kosher restaurants and bakeries, Judaica shops, and a Jewish school.

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Although Rome doesn’t have a particularly bright history with regard to the Jews, they are one of the only European cities to have never expelled the Jews. The ghetto was imposed as a side effect of the Catholic Counter-Reformation to the Protestant Reformation. In response to the Protestant movement, the Catholic Revival cracked down on ‘heretics’ of all kinds and – as a result – reduced the rights of Jews. Until that time, Jews had enjoyed a fairly comfortable place within Roman society.

The ghetto, of course, changed all that and up to 9,000 Jews were forced in the seven-acre ghetto for 300 years. Although most of the original ghetto storefronts and buildings are destroyed, there are still some remnants of the past – such as this 6 story building:

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And a church that stood at one of ghetto’s exits:

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The church was strategically placed at the ghetto’s exit so Jews would be forced to see it upon leaving. Many Jews were made to go to the church on Shabbat to listen.

Although the area has a negative history, it is now a bustling and vibrant reflection of the thriving Jewish life that still exists within the city. They even have free wifi on the streets!

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Or claim to…we couldn’t really get it to work. 🙂

After a long afternoon touring the Great Synagogue, museum, and ghetto, it was time for lunch.

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pizza and veggie antipasto

For my last night in Italy, we decided to have a great feast. We went to a pizzeria called Da Francesco.

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Although technically a pizzeria, the restaurant had an extensive menu. Since it was my last night, we decided to do as the Romans do and go for the multi-course meal. To start, there was bruschetta, antipasto, and roman style artichoke (basically just an artichoke with tons of olive oil…as far as I could tell).

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For the primo (first) course, we shared a pasta dish – homemade spaghetti with porcino cheese and black pepper:

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For the secondo (second, and main) course, I ordered a roasted chicken breast dish and Noah had pizza:

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Everything was delicious, but our eyes were a little bigger than our stomachs and we weren’t able to finish everything:

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Overall, my trip was amazing. Between seeing the sights, eating great food, and visiting the most wonderful boyfriend in the history of the world, I had a great week. 🙂

Other Italy Posts
Italy: Part 1
Italy: Part 2
Italy: Part 3
Italy: Part 4

 

Italy: Part 1

Hello again! Sorry for the long hiatus in blogging. I have a good excuse though:

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The countdown got to zero…so I’ve been in Italy! Or should I say, Italia. Traveling there went smoothly – with the exception of a mix-up regarding the bus schedule that led me to frantically take a taxi to the airport:

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Sadly, my exact change that I had so deliberately collected for the bus ride there will now need to be used for laundry:

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When, I got to the airport, I made it through security and had time to eat the lunch (almond flour pizza for one) I brought before boarding:

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Obviously, a quick stop at Caribou was necessary:

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I was going to go to Starbucks since I like their tea selections better, but it makes me mad that Starbucks expects you to pay more money for a medium tea than a small when they’re only giving you more hot water….so, Caribou it was!

After a quick layover in Philadelphia, I was on my way to Rome! The best part of international flights? Definitely the individual entertainment stations.

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Yes!!! Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 2. Doesn’t take a lot to keep me happy. 🙂 In addition to watching Twilight and Life of Pi, I also read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food which I bought a couple weeks ago at Magers and Quinn. I loved it! I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about a common sense approach to nutrition and eating.

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If individual entertainment stations are the best part of international travel, in-flight meals are the worst:

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I special ordered a vegetarian meal prior to the flight, so my rice/veggie mixture was bad but not terrible (really I was just super excited for all the delicious Italian food I would be consuming over the next week!). When I finally made it to Rome the next morning, I was SO EXCITED to see this handsome fellow waiting for me at the airport:

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While we were waiting for the train to take us from the airport into Rome, Noah got a Cappuccino at the bar (very Italian!):

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When we got into the city, it was too early to check into the Bed & Breakfast where we were staying, so we went to Noah’s apartment. There were great views from the window!

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We also visited a nearby fruit market with loads of produce, flowers, and prepared foods:

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I got some oranges and pears to eat during the week:

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When we finished at the market, it was time to head to the B&B! We were staying at a place called Parioli House near the Policlinico Metro Stop. It was very cute with tea, fruit, and snacks available all the time in the foyer:

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After we got settled in the room, we set off to take a walking tour. There’s a company called Rome Free Walking Tour, which is exactly what it sounds like. Perfect for the stingy traveler! Noah and I took two tours: one through the Heart of Rome and one from the Spanish Steps to the Vatican. The one to the Vatican was MUCH better, but we saw a lot of cool stuff on both. Highlights include….

The Colosseum and Forum:

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The Trevi Fountain:

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The Pantheon:

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Piazza Navona:

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and the Vatican:

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Stay tuned for more information on these places later….

Also, did I mention that we are silly and love Rick Steves?

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And finally, the perfect ending to the first day…DINNER! We went to a restaurant that specialized in wood-fired pizzas:

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There were neat paintings all over the walls:

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We ordered a tuna pizza and a veggie pizza:

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Plus a side dish of eggplant:

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Sooo good. And, in true Italian form, an espresso after the meal:

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Check back soon for info on St. Peter’s Basilica, biking the Appian Way, and great Italian cuisine!

Other Italy Posts
Italy: Part 2
Italy: Part 3
Italy: Part 4
Italy: Part 5