(view from a boutique in Tel Aviv; because yes, I went shopping!)
Happy Friday. ¡Feliz viernes, friends! It’s been a bit since I’ve been able to sit down and pen my thoughts, share a beautiful savory recipe, let alone tantalize us all with new desserts. I have some flans in the making, I promise. My absence from blogging is always for good reason: I’m living life! After all, I started blogging to document the ins and outs of my professional work — the cooking, the traveling, the print writing/journalism… Life. Along the way, blogging has taken over. Some days it’s okay. Others, I’m annoyed and don’t want the pressure of having to write and share anything for the purpose of staying relevant. I’ve made a mental note to step back some and get back to what got me here… my affair with cooking. My passion for traveling. My gift of story-telling. I won’t have much to share if I’m not living life and hustling work.
But then I have to thank my blog for the work it’s brought me. I started traveling 20 years ago. Professionally, maybe 11. The more I shared my work in the kitchen and exploits in this humble space, the more I traveled. I’m not sure if there’s any true correlation, but it’s seeming. I’ve gone to places far and near I never thought I’d visit; Australia and Fiji most notably.
This past November was amazing. I went to Italy for 6 days to explore the glamorous feast of the white truffle. I won’t deviate and get into that trip, yet, but know that what’s to come will blow your mind.
I was looking forward to being home a few months in order to process all the traveling I did in 2014. I had(ve) over 500 images to process and countless names and joints to recount. Not to mention pursuing new clients to cook for and more TV gigs to be booked. Life.
But then I got an invite to travel to Israel. I received the invitation while gallivanting in Europe for the month. It was so untimely, so odd, so unexpected, but so sweetly enigmatic.
Israel has been on my must-visit destinations for over a decade. Its appeal is more personal than you’d imagine. I’ll get into that eventually. It’s the one place I knew existed on the map but didn’t really grasp its global presence. It could have easily remained a fairytale land of the Romans, Ottomans, Crusaders, Arabs, Jews, and Christians as I knew from the Bible, replete with conflicting interests and smeared in historical wars.
I just came back from 10 glorious days in Israel with Vibe Israel, a non-profit made up of conscious young leaders and innovators with the purpose of personifying Israel to the rest of the world in the way it arguably suffers from. And that is a place where anyone can thrive. Where multiculturalism is accepted. Where food is ancient years old and revered. Where religion is openly and freely practiced. Where billion dollar start-ups thrive and inspire (Waze!). Where the cab drivers are over-the-top nice. Where people are open to talking about their problems. Where the food is insanely delicious. Oh, I mentioned that. Right.
I was invited to go explore the food of that country. 10 days later and 7 pounds heavier (I tell no lie), I have entirely too many images to go through. Too much information to process as it’s the most complex place I’ve ever visited. Too many recipes to re-engineer and share with you. It’ll be a minute. Let be me honest. I still have to put Italy and few other spots together!
So while I try to create a clear head space to start the process, I thought a great way to get started is to showcase all of the pictures I shared along the way via Instagram. If you follow me on social, perhaps you saw them as I posted. In case you don’t, I’ve set them up here according to my movement, starting in Jerusalem.
This is only to serve as a tease. A really yummy tease. You already know I was there to eat my way through the country but there’s so much I didn’t share in real-time. The amount of food I consumed rendered me completely loopy and unable to put words together sometimes. It turned out to be a good thing because in a situation like that, who wants to stop to share. You want to live in the moment! You want to eat! You want to take it all in! Regret the calories later but while in it, go all in!
While these are only snapshots and super slim view of what I did with my friends Clara, Txaber, Heidi, and Layla for 7 days, they will give you a good idea of what I really did for a total of 10 days.
In Jerusalem, MachneYuda restaurant, arguably the funkiest spot, ended the 2.5 day visit in that old city.
This is what we ate after the last dish. Simply perfect.
Don’t you just want to stare at it? You can see the image here.
Our meandering trip up to the northwest landed us in Haifa, where breakfast in an old-folk-styled, but classically sustainable resort, dished out the best breakfast in all of Israel.
A day trip to the fisherman’s village of Akko served me the best falafel ever. Like, ever. And I like falafel a lot. Remember this episode of Chic Rebellion?!
Yea. I loves me some falafel.
Northern Galilee was serene and probably the part of the trip where I reached the point of no return. The experience there was poetic justice.
Oh, there’s that falafel. Feast on that with your eyes until I come back and tell you more.
And then Tel Aviv. What a confusing city. In all the right ways, Tel Aviv will cause you to pause and wonder what you really love in life. An American belting out to John Legend at the end of the artist market got more views from enamored little Jewish women than you’d conceive. They bopped their heads to some seductive R & B.
But the food there was good, too. Sugar coma at 11 am kind of good.
And so I ate my way into oblivious obesity in a matter of 10 days (well, plus a solid amount of over-eating all of December).
These are just teasers, remember. 31 Instagrams can tell a lot, but not 1/4 of the real story. And from what I saw and lived, Israel’s is layered in confusion, truth, mystique, hurt, passion, adolescent identity, love and desire.
I’m not really sure where I’ll start, but stay tuned for my stories!
See more on Instagram. Happy Friday. ¡Feliz Viernes!
* all pics taken on my iPhone 6, which I’m totally loving. Here, I share all the pictures I posted on Instagram through the sponsored part of the trip. The other part of the trip will be a separate look at Israel.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.