Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day 1 - The Arrival

My dad rang my doorbell this morning at 05:00. His plane had landed only 45 minutes earlier. Talk about waltzing through customs...

However, after about an hour of talking and show & tell,
I put my foot down

and we both went to our respective beds for another couple of hours of sleep.

I was woken by my cellphone ringing - the father of a friend had passed away and the funeral was this afternoon (they happen within 24 hours here). Not the best way to be woken up (even thought technically I had already been up this morning). Ok, go with the flow, see what dad has to say and make decisions after coffee.

So we walked through the Jaffa Flea Market,
past the mosque with its date palms,

to the waterfront and along to my favourite restaurant - Manta Ray. Yes, I have no qualms about going to the same place twice in as many days. Besides, it has a glorious location - right on Alma beach, with a view of the Old City of Jaffa. What better place to start a vacation?

And what better way than at the beginning - with breakfast?

Fresh O.J., cappucinos, 5 different kinds of bread and rolls, apricot/orange/vanilla jam, black currant jam, (goat) cream cheese, green tehina, glorious fluffy scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes and spring onions.

Afterwards, we slowly meandered our way back home - for me to change and for dad to take a siesta. When I arrived back 2 hours later, he was showered and refreshed and ready to go for round two.

Digression: My father's vacation quotation:

"If I don't have to go on diet afterwards, then it wasn't a good vacation..."

After a cup of tea, we went out to look for an English language paper, Ha'aretz by preference. Stopping along the way we picked up some Ramadan sweets - hazelnut halvah and fried walnut pastries soaked in syrup, some lemon waffles and some pinenuts (the latter for me). With dessert taken care of we could now think of dinner.

Monka is a local "workers" restaurant that has a limited menu, with specials hand printed and taped all over the walls. They have the best ktzitzot (mini ground meat patties) and good chips.

When you sit down you are brought a basket of pita or bread
and two completely innocuous looking salads.

These are, in fact, superb examples of how a few ingredients, properly combined, can be turned into art.

The first is cucumbers, white vinegar, onions and dill. The second is boiled white beans, white vinegar, onions and parlsey. (with salt to taste)

The same basic sauce - completely different flavour - and completely addictive. The trick with the beans is to mix them up when they are still warm. They absorb the flavours and are wonderful right then and there. If you serve them after they get cold, brighten them up with more sliced onion and freshly chopped parsley.


Paz said...

LOL! I love your father's quote!


aja said...

Would you believe that he now denies ever saying that? Fathers... gotta love em. 8^}

burekaboy said...


those are my kind of all time favourite recipes — the ones with 3 to 4 ingredients. simple & uncomplicated; innocuous as you put it. in the end, they are always the best.

screw the 3 day, 90 step recipes!

how i want the ktzitzot, right now with the israeli salad and fries! hmmm... ideas for dinner. how do they spice the meat? i see herbs at least.

great post. and ur dad IS funny. i laughed when i read his disputable "i never said that!" quote.

aja said...

Ktzitzot at Monka are really simple, a bit of cumin, white pepper, salt, parsley. They add something else to the mix that affects the texture - it comes out kindof spongy - rumour has it that that is soda water in the mix, but I don't know. I think they are the perfect "too tired and hungry to think" solution. But they need to be done over a hot charcoal grill.

You've heard of selective deafness? Well dear dad had selective memories... 8^)

burekaboy said...

spongy? wouldn't be surprised about the soda part. i imagine it's probably also due to grinding the meat to a paste-like consistency.

i think, perhaps selectively, that this phenomenon you speak of is related to the Y chromosome.

i originally forgot to add that i wanted to know more about that reptilian-birdlike foot. i loved it on first sight. is it from a piece of furniture like the foot of some antique? it kinda fits into my rather odd/eccentric love for gargoyles.

aja said...

Hmm, never thought about the paste thing... I was always warned against working my ground beef too much - now I know why.

I never said anything about selective memory... ;^) Actually, I think the selective memory thing couldn't be chromosone related, mainly because I am sure my real and stepmom and one of my sisters have displayed this phenomenon, and I am sure others (especially the older generation) also do, they are just not close enough for me to notice or care.

What an ...
interesting ...
manifestation of eccentricity. 8^P The bird-foot is from a 2m+ tall statue (think in terms of the infamous white metal rather than bronze) of a TRex like dinosaur in full roar (bad attitude). He is kept company by a lifesized monkey, a couple of cranes and at least one deer. They hang out in one of the shops in the fleamarket.

bureka said...

aja my darling,

that is a western concept about the ground beef. making the beef paste-y is a middle eastern/sephardic thing believe it or not. even a balkan & indian thing. with many moroccan and sephardic dishes, {listen to me sounding like such an encyclopedic maven}, the beef is worked to a paste like consistency and is called "la miga" or en ingles ... filling/paste. also, from what i know, the balkan [i guess more appropriately roumanian] mititei or karnatzel is also worked to a paste and considered necessary for its success and authenticity. u will often see kofta in both middle eastern and indian recipes calling for this procedure. i imagine it adds the required "softness" of texture for said preparations.

i want .. no, NEED that bird foot. LOL. a monkey would be good, too.

aja said...

Hey BB,
Once more I need to thank you for providing me with info that I wasn't aware of. I have heard of la miga, but never had anybody tell me what it was. Next time I make kebab or ktzitzot I will try this and see what happens.

The problem with the foot is that it is attached to a VERY big reptile, the monkey would probably be a more livingroom sized pet. But I still think a hedgehog would be best of all!

Ta muchly again you fount of information you! Where do you get it all? and how do you remember it when you need it??? 8^)

burekaboy — said...

it's called the "fount of useless information" which seems to only fit into blog commentaries ;p

or as it like to call it, "party fact number ___ " [u fill in the number]. useful for when ur in an uncomfortable position at some dreadfully boring {yaawwn} party/function, usually work-related.

i agree, a hedgee would be best. no! i can't. i promised myself!! LOL. thought of another name: american igel. LOL.

aja said...

Hey wait just a minute... are you implying that I might be a dreadfully boring function? Well, I might just pull a hedgehog and snort like an engine and jump up and down! Ok, ok, I admit it, useless facts... I personally rather like them, they amuse me, and usually only very intelligent people happen to have a stock of them. 8^P

burekaboy said...

awwww.... i blush. thank u.

i love my party facts.