The Jew And The Carrot

Mixing Bowl: Kosher Olympics; UN Chef

By Devra Ferst

istock

Incase you didn’t get enough of this already…more on kosher food options at the Olympics. [The Daily Meal]

Kutsher’s Tribeca might “knishify” the Upper West and East Sides of Manhattan. The team is talking expansion. [Grub Street]

David Lebovitz finishes he tour of Israel in Tel Aviv. Food porn ahead. [David Lebovitz]

Daryl Schembeck, the UN chef, cooks for people from 193 nations. That’s a lot of palates to please. [NY Daily News

25 of the best things to eat in Israel [Serious Eats]


Israel's Best Kept (Herbal) Secret

By Elizabeth Traison

Nissim Krispil
Nissim interviews 101 year old woman in Morocco

About a year and a half ago, I had a cold. My itchy eyes were constantly tearing, my nose was both raw and runny at the same time. For someone who rarely gets sick and takes over the counter drugs on even rarer occasions it was a particularly out of body experience. I contracted this insufferable cold in December of 2010 while I was WWOOFing in Israel during my winter break at Hebrew University. I was staying in a quaint Moroccan moshav called Te’enim, where I learned how to cook delicious food and was offered a hand in marriage by just about every man who lived there. In this Salach Shabbati-eque town, I volunteered with a man whom I believe is one of Israel’s best kept secrets: Nissim Krispil.

Nissim is one of Israel’s leading herbalists (which explains his incredible immune system) and has written more than a dozen books about Israel’s foliage. He has a fascinating anthropological approach to Israel’s plants and their healing properties, and his incredible talent with a camera makes his books let your mind race in day dreams. Nissim is well over six feet tall, and yet as graceful as the blossoming plants which he studies. His skin is the color of afternoon coffee, leathery from spending years outside in the heat of the Moroccan and Israeli desert land. His voice, like an Israeli radio host, is comforting and familiar, even if you have never spoken a word to him in your life. Apart from giving me the worst cold I have ever contracted, Nissim started me on a path of fascination with the healing properties of flora, from Yemenite etrogs to wormwood to lemon verbena. This is Nissim’s story:

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Kosher Controversy at the Olympics

By Sarah Kessler

getty images

If you are lucky enough to have snagged a ticket to the Olympic games, which start tomorrow, you’ll likely see McDonald’s everywhere. The company is a major sponsor of the games and is providing 20% of the food served at them. But if you keep kosher, you’ll have to keep walking.

More than three years ago, the Jewish Committee for the London Games (JCLG), set up to coordinate UK Jewish community activity at the Olympics, called for kosher food stands to be provided by McDonald’s — given their experience with a “large number of outlets in Israel, a considerable number of which are kosher.” McDonald’s resisted plans for any special Olympic provisions.

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New York's Bagel Wars Continue

By Michael Kaminer

Thinkstock

Updated Wednesday at 1:45pm

When the Forward reported in January that H&H Bagels was evicted from its iconic West 46th Street bakery — a move that followed the closing of its Upper West Side storefront — it looked like curtains for the beloved purveyor of doughy discs. New York bagel lovers mourned the closing like it was the death of their favorite uncle.

But late last week, it looked like second coming of H&H was imminent. A routine listing of new commercial leases in real-estate mag The Real Deal included 1,800 square feet at 125 Fulton Street, leased to one H&H Bagels. And Grub Street reported that new tenants filed with the New York City Department of Buildings to convert the existing retail space into a “new bagel store.”

But this morning, the Wall Street Journal tells us that while the new space will be called H&H Bagels — it won’t be the same bagel company that New Yorkers mourned earlier this year.

The new spot (which will become part of a chain) will be owned by Randy Narod, owner of the Long Island Bagel Café chain. But, former H&H owner Helmer Toro says Narod doesn’t have rights to use the H&H name, saying that the two had been in talks about a partnership, but nothing had been finalized. Narod, spat back in the New York Times saying that he purchased the trademark — and more importantly, the secret recipe — from Toro and hired him as a consultant, leading to a big doughy mess.

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Shabbat Meals: Our College Table

By Blair Thornburgh

Blair Thornburgh via Instagram

When I was nominated to be one of three student speakers at my graduation from the University of Chicago this past June, I felt honored, terrified, and stumped. I wasn’t class president or an academic superstar. I couldn’t summon stirring rhetoric about “Our Education” and “The Future.” I was just a girl with an esoteric major who loved to write and lived to cook, especially with her friends. So I went for broke and decided to tell a story about the best part of my college experience: Shabbat dinner.

For the second half of my undergrad life, when my friends and I had finally schlepped out of student housing into our own “grown-up” apartments, we gathered together almost every Friday night to eat together. But it wasn’t just a regularly scheduled dinner party. Even though only one of us was Jewish, the meal was still Shabbat to us. We’d say the Kiddush, clumsily but eagerly, and greet each other with a cheery “shabbat shalom!” on our way up the stairs. Even I, an acknowledged goy, took it upon myself to learn bread-baking so we could have homemade challah (or pita, or ciabatta, or naan, depending on the occasion).

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What's For Dinner on Yiddish Farm?

By Ezra Glinter

Nate Lavey

Traditional Ashkenazi food is often thought of as meat-heavy, fat-heavy, and just plain heavy (think brisket, flankn, gribenes and shmaltz). But that’s not the case at Yiddish Farm, despite the otherwise pervasive emphasis on Ashkenazi language and culture.

Yiddish Farm, a Yiddish-speaking organic farm in Goshen, N.Y., was founded to strengthen the language through an immersive environment, and to promote environmentalism through organic agriculture. (Read an article I wrote about Yiddish Farm in this week’s Forward here.)That means not only growing food in a sustainable way, but eating environmentally friendly food as well.

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Roadside Gourmet: Takosher

By Margaret Eby

Lowell Bernstein

Takosher

Los Angeles, Calif.

What to Order: The Original Brisketaco

What happens when Jewish cuisine meets California Mexican food? Takosher, that’s what: A kosher taco truck that takes the staples of a Jewish meal and wraps them in tortilla shells. The blue Mexi-Jew fusion mobile, emblazoned with the slogan “The Chosen Taco,” brings the joys of the L.A. taco truck to the kosher community. The menu is small, but packs a punch: It includes a deep-fried potato wonder called the Latketaco, which Takosher serves with a dash of apple jalapeno chutney, and the Brisketaco, slow-braised brisket marinated in chili sauce, raisins and sauerkraut, then sliced and topped with cilantro.

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Roadside Gourmet: Chutzpah Truck

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Chutzpah Truck

Chutzpah Truck

Orlando, Fla.

What to Order: Matzo Ball Soup

Central Florida’s Chutzpah Truck — nicknamed Carla by its owners — dishes out kosher Jewish-American comfort food to sunglasses-clad crowds, bringing together bubbe’s cuisine staples, like brisket sandwich, and Israeli street food, like hummus. Perhaps the star of the operation — aside from Carla — is Chutzpah’s matzo ball soup, made with matzo and chive dumplings in a savory broth. And to round out the meal, what better choice than a black-and-white cookie, the delight of deli desserts everywhere?

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Roadside Gourmet: Schmuck With a Truck

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Matthew Koven

Schmuck With a Truck

Los Angeles, Calif.

What to Order: Oy Vey Wrap

Matthew Koven moved from Manhattan to West L.A. as a deli evangelist, hoping to bring some of that good old-fashioned corned beef on rye to young Angelenos. Criss-crossing the city with a van full of roast beef and deli meats is no easy job. “You gotta be a schmuck to do this,” Koven told JTA in May. He specializes in traditional fare with flair — like the Oy Vey Wrap, a succulent roast-beef-and-potato Shabbat dinner stuffed into a tortilla, and a Reuben sandwich called “Fiddler on the Reuben.” The Schmuck Truck’s menu is enormous, offering muffins and egg sandwiches for breakfast. And don’t worry: You can get a bagel and lox here, too. Just ask for “The Tenth Commandment.”

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Roadside Gourmet: M.O. Eggrolls

By Margaret Eby

Emily Israel

M.O. Eggrolls

Los Angeles, Calif.

What to Order: Reuben, Truffled Knish

It’s no secret that American Jews have long been in love with Chinese food. M.O. Eggrolls (the initials stand for “Montreal Open-Ended”), which dubs itself the first ever “Jewnese” operation, puts that sentiment into a truck. M.O. Eggrolls serves crispy egg rolls stuffed with deli meats like pastrami and brisket, served with sweet, spicy, tangy or garlicky dipping sauces. The combination might sound like a gimmick, but the owners take it seriously, with inventive concoctions like the truffled knish and Asian-style matzo ball soup. Their Reuben eggroll wraps pastrami, slaw, Russian dressing and a dill pickle spear into a crunchy wrapper. It’s a clever, bright combination of traditional sandwich fare and Chinese spicing — and it’s kosher to boot.

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Roadside Gourmet: K-Wheelz

By Margaret Eby

K-Wheelz

Dallas, Texas

What to Order: Challah Dog, Burrito Schmurito

Tex-Mex’s focus on meat, beans and cheese makes finding a kosher take on the cuisine challenging. But Dallas’s lone kosher food truck, K-Wheelz, offers kosher Texans a taste of the local cuisine. Their specialty burritos, aptly dubbed Burrito Schmuritos, are filled with beans, blackened chicken or savory beef — and topped with a pile of dairy-free cheese. Other fare includes Asian sea bass cakes and the Challah Dog, a plump kosher hot dog served on a pillow of fresh challah bread.

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Roadside Gourmet: Old World Food Truck

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Old World Food Truck

Old World Food Truck

San Francisco, Calif.

What to Order: Schnitzelwich

New York City transplant Kenny Hockert is bringing some Eastern European soul to the Bay Area, one cup of borscht at a time. His Old World Food Truck rolled onto the streets this spring after experimenting with recipes for chopped liver and pierogies at pop-up dinners he hosted. Hockert likes to update Jewish classics, filling airy knishes with seasonal vegetables alongside buttery potato mash, and serving up a Reuben sandwich on thick Texas toast. Hockert’s Schnitzelwich layers a dab of chopped liver, a smear of honey and spoonful of garlic slaw onto a fried chicken cutlet. It’s old world cuisine with a fresh, farm-to-table approach that easily straddles the generational divide.

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Marky's Deli in Toronto Closes After 43 Years

By Michael Kaminer

Flickr: Ron Dollete

With artisanal spins on traditional staples, delis like Caplansky’s in Toronto and Mile End in New York have proven there’s an appetite for traditional Jewish food. But the old guard, apparently, isn’t faring as well. Marky’s, the last kosher deli in Canada’s largest city, closed last week after 43 years.

Marky’s location in a faceless North Toronto strip mall belied its heavyweight stature among the city’s kosher adherents — and some nostalgists who grew up in the heavily Jewish area near Bathurst and Wilson Streets.

Once a center of Jewish life in Toronto, the neighborhood has been transformed by an influx of Filipino immigrants over the last decade. In fact, Marky’s owner Erez Karp — whose parents Rivka and Azriel started the deli after moving from Montreal in 1969 — will be leasing the premises to a Filipino grocery store.

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Pushing the Envelope Outside Chicago

By Eli Margulies

Following the 2007 Hazon Food Conference, my whole family was inspired to make change — I left my orchestra administrator job to become an Adamah fellow, which led to my career as a natural foods chef. And my parents, through their own inspiration (and requests from their children), took a chance and decided to convert a plot of land they owned in Geneva, IL into something greater.

This plot eventually became Pushing the Envelope Farm, a community based sustainable “factory farm.” As the farm is next to our family run business, Continental Envelope Corporation, it’s the only factory farm of its kind, as far as I know. It is one where natural Certified Naturally Grown food (an alternative to organic certification) is grown in healthy soil, where 6 goats (2 a gift at my own wedding — quite the scene, I may say!), dozens of chickens, honeybees, berry bushes and lush mulberry trees all live and grow beautifully and where Jewish education is brought outside.

Since its inception, Pushing the Envelope Farm has been a Jewishly imbued community farm — all employees at Continental Envelope are given large individual plots if they want to grow their own food. Community groups come for programming and work the fields and the farm manager (my brother, Elan) and assistant, Kate Re, work tirelessly to educate through getting your hands dirty through hands-on educational experiences on the farm and in communities around Chicago. What used to be a conventional corn field has now become a center for Jewish nature education.

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Roadside Gourmet: Taim Mobile

By Margaret Eby

Nate Lavey

Taim Mobile

New York, N.Y.

What to Order: Falafel Sandwich with all the fixings

Husband and wife team Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger named their tiny West Village falafel stand Taim after the Hebrew word for “delicious,” and it’s hard to argue with them. The Taim stand turned into a roving falafel joint on wheels, doling out perfectly spiced chickpea concoctions in rotating flavors to hordes of hungry New Yorkers. Diners rave that the falafel is perfectly toothsome — not greasy or dry — and sublime in a fluffy pita topped with pickled cabbage, Israeli salad and s’chug, a traditional Yemeni hot sauce. Pair it with one of their intriguing smoothies — date-lime-banana or pear-mint-lemon — and it’s a veritable lunchtime feast.

Learn how to make Taim’s green falafel at home with our cooking video.


Roadside Gourmet: Da Falafel King

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Street Grindz

Da Falafel King

Honolulu, Hawaii

What to Order: Sabich, hummus and pita chips

Unlike many on this list, Da Falafel King morphed not from a brick-and-mortar location to a truck, but from a food cart within the Waikiki Trade Center Plaza to a bright blue minibus. Yanir Josef and his wife run the hulking vehicle, delighting the natives with some of his Israeli cuisine. The offerings include a sabich sandwich, chicken and lamb kebabs, as well as just-fatty-enough shawarma and, of course, falafel. Locals swing by the truck after a movie to grab fried pita chips and hummus or fries sprinkled with paprika and salt.

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Roadside Gourmet: Moses Falafel

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Moses Falafel

Moses Falafel

Austin, Texas

What to Order: Falafel with Fixings, Baklava

Former Israeli Air Force technician Shmuel Haviv keeps the menu at Moses Falafel simple: He serves soft and chewy pita filled with crispy falafel, drizzled with hot sauce and topped with hummus, cucumber salad and pickles. Haviv parks his falafel trailer on the Jewish Community Center’s campus in the afternoons, providing a lunch option for students that’s kosher, vegan, and even — sans pita — gluten-free. For that good old American post-sandwich sugar craving, Haviv also keeps a tray of flakey, gooey baklava at the ready.

Check out our round up of Jewish and Kosher food trucks from around North America.


Mixing Bowl: 'Perfect' Bagel; Kosher Supper Club

By Devra Ferst

istock

What’s it like to run an underground kosher supper club and speakeasy? Itta Werdiger Roth, founder of The Hester, shares her story [Jewess With Attitude]

A look into one of Israel’s largest challah bakeries. [The Kitchn]

…and Israel’s largest hummus factory. [Serious Eats]

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No Meat — The 9 Days

By Jeffrey Cohan

Editor’s Note: The Beet-Eating Heeb is the nom de plume of Jeffrey Cohan, a former journalist in Forest Hills, PA. He also blogs about Judaism and veganism on his own Web site.

Observant Jews refrain from eating meat for the first nine days of the Hebrew month of Av as part of the mourning rituals leading up to Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

To those refraining from eating meat, BEH says, “Welcome to the plant-based party! And where the heck have you been?” But hold on a second. This nine-day ban on meat-eating is meant to constitute a denial of pleasure. For humans anyway. The list of prohibited actions also includes drinking wine and wearing freshly laundered clothes, which implies that eating meat equates with getting a buzz and dressing for success.

So you’re probably thinking, “BEH, just lay off the vegan advocacy for a few days. For a change.” Well, The Beet-Eating Heeb hates to disappoint you, but upon closer inspection, it appears that the themes of the holiday and the Book of Lamentations actually reinforce the vegan ideal.

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Roadside Gourmet: Rolling Reuben's

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Reuben's Deli

In honor of a century of mobile Jewish-American fare, we selected the stand-out Jewish food trucks from all over the states (and Canada, too). Read the article here and check back for more delicious trucks.

Rolling Reuben’s

Atlanta, Ga.

What to Order: The New Yorker

The Deep South isn’t exactly swimming in corned beef, so when Rolling Reuben’s opened in Atlanta last year, it was a welcome addition to the nascent metropolitan food truck scene. Co-owner Mikey Moran started the food truck after being inspired by street vendors in Thailand. The truck is based out of Reuben’s Deli, a family-run sandwich shop that’s been operating since 1996. Rolling Reuben’s sells hearty sandwiches layered with corned beef, pastrami, smoked turkey or roast beef. Local favorites include The New Yorker — corned beef stacked with pastrami and Swiss cheese — and, of course, the Reuben.


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