The Jew And The Carrot

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: New York on Rye

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Michael Gardiner

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 Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for more delicious trucks.

New York on Rye

San Diego, Calif.

What to Order: Corned Beef Hash Burrito, Classic Knish

“Have a nosh day” is what the New York on Rye truck has written on its side, and after ordering a sandwich or round of knishes from this California-cuisine-meets-New-York-deli truck, noshing is certainly something you’ll be doing with gusto. The truck carries all the standard sandwiches of an East Coast deli — like pastrami towering on thick slices of rye, anointed with a dab of horseradish — but it also includes some regional specialties. The corned beef hash burrito, for example, accents the breakfast dish with chipotle and pico de gallo. For something vegetarian, try the filling “Coney Island” style knishes, served with slaw.


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.


Roadside Gourmet: Caplansky's Deli Truck

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Kristen Bachman

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 Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for more delicious trucks.

Caplansky’s Deli Truck

Toronto

What to Order: Smoked Meat Sandwich with a pickle

Thunderin’ Thelma is how Caplansky’s Deli affectionately named their deli truck, and thunder it does — or maybe that’s just the collective rumble of stomachs whenever it passes. Zane Caplansky, whose restaurant has become the go-to spot for Jewish comfort food in Toronto, branched into curbside culinary delights last year. Menu items like tender barbecue brisket sandwiches and a gleefully sloppy poutine made with smoked meat are mainstays. Recent specials included the Indian-inspired latke pakora, served with apple chutney, and The Herschel, a sandwich made with smoked meat and Swiss cheese, topped with confit shallots and a pale-ale demi-glace. Not kosher, but delicious nonetheless.


From Kosher Caterer to Vegan Sushi Chef

By Michael Kaminer

Courtesy of Beyond Sushi

After his limelight moment alongside Gordon Ramsay as a season-10 Hell’s Kitchen finalist, and the nonstop demands of his family’s successful kosher-catering company, Guy Vaknin needed a change.

Vegetarian sushi was one of his biggest successes in “modernizing” his family’s business, Esprit Events. So after ditching his executive-chef post and doing some market research with samplings at New York City yoga studios and gyms, Vaknin opened Beyond Sushi this month in a tiny former wig shop in downtown Manhattan.

Beyond is the neighborhood’s first eatery dedicated to fishless maki rolls, along with veggie rice-paper wraps, and salads. But Vaknin, a “recently converted” vegetarian who was “a big meat eater” until two months ago, is careful to note that he’s not aiming to ape traditional sushi. “I had a bunch of Japanese reporters get really mad at me about the name,” he says. “But that’s why I called it ‘Beyond’. It’s an alternative.” And while the rolls definitely won’t fool devotees of traditional sushi, they stand on their own, with vibrant fillings, hearty rices, and clean, cool sauces.

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Shabbat Meals: Irma Rae's Snappy Cheese Bits

By Rebecca Flint Marx

Courtesy of Rebecca Flint Marx

On the day after Thanksgiving, 1979, Irma Rae Erdreich was driving home to Birmingham, AL, from her sister’s home in Albany, GA, when she fell asleep behind the wheel of her car and drifted into the path of an oncoming truck.

The news, when it reached my mother, became one of my earliest memories. I was three years old when my grandmother died, and remember hiding in the upstairs bathroom, staring at the tiles, while my mother wailed downstairs.

That day was also one of my very few memories of Irma Rae, whom I called Mimi. I have always regretted not getting the chance to know her, and have tried to compensate for her absence in my life by learning as much as I can about hers. From a food perspective, I think we would have gotten along famously: I inherited her taste for, among other things, pickles, ginger, and anything spicy.

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Video: Frying Falafel, Family Style

By Naama Shefi

Nate Lavey
Chef Einat Admony shows us how to make her signature falafel at home.

Growing up in Israel during the 1980’s, falafel was king. Twice a week I traveled from my Kibbutz to the city of Petah Tikva, for an intense ballet class. To the naked eye I seemed like any other disciplined ballerina, but actually my mind was filled with sinful thoughts of the tahini dripping falafel sandwich that awaited me at the end of the pirouette session.

Then came the dilemma: a falafel sandwich with fries and all you can eat salads at Mordechai’s, or the classic fix at Chatukka, “The most Yemenite falafel in town” (that was, and it still is, their bizarre tagline). At both places, while standing on line, you’d get a crunchy green ball from the server to eat with your hands. That’s how they whet your appetite and welcome you, Israeli style.

Since the days of those post-ballet snacks, falafel has sadly lost is crown as the national dish of Israel. Every Israeli still holds a firm opinion on “where one can get the best falafel,” but chances are that you’ll hear more passionate and emotional arguments about the best hummusiahs (cafes which specialize in the chickpea dip) these days.

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A Beginner Foodie’s Guide to DC

By Lauren Wasserman

ZAK

While traveling in Washington DC with my boyfriend Dov on a hot summer weekend, I was refreshed by the large variety of seemingly-healthy restaurants around. Among them were a wide range of well-known hot spots like Whole Foods, as well as some lesser known options like the produce stands at Eastern Market. But, finding a place to eat for Dov and I can be difficult: Dov keeps kosher and I do not.

Although I did not grow up in a kosher or vegetarian home, I do not eat meat very often, so Dov’s degree of keeping kosher would not be too great of an adjustment for me. As my exploration of Judaism has deepened over recent years, my relationship with Kashrut has changed and presents me with the potential to deepen as well. This personal struggle was exasperated during my trip to DC with my kosher partner. As it turns out, all these struggles were brought to life in trying to find a place to eat that satisfies the needs of both Dov and myself. Bounded by the battle between Halakha and healthy, I chose healthy.

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Your Hummus Now Comes in a Cone

By Sarah Melamed

Thinkstock

Israelis love their hummus. It is a nation of Zohans who have no qualms eating it three times a day and any time in between.

But when I told my Israeli friends I wanted to try hummus ice cream they looked perplexed. “Hummus ice cream? Who would want to eat that?” or “That sounds disgusting. I’ve never heard of such a flavor!” my friends declared. Despite their intense fondness for hummus, Israelis are traditionalist and want their hummus doused with fruity olive oil and sprinkled with pine nuts, not perched on top of an ice cream cone. They love the idea of tehina ice cream “It’s like halva. It makes sense,” a friend told me. On the other hand, almost everyone I spoke to dismissed chickpea ice cream as a tourist gimmick.

Well, perhaps they’re right. For a brief time this chickpea gelato grabbed some attention from the media. ABC news featured an article about this new-fangled flavor from Lagenda, an ice cream parlor in Yaffo. “It’s tasty but not more than that” was the verdict of one taster. Despite the attention, it didn’t garner enough interest with the locals. With a rare show of solidarity, patrons continued to stream to the hummusias (cafes that specialize in hummus) to get their hummus fix.

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