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Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

Goodness gracious is it difficult to find a decent greasy breakfast in Israel.  As delicious and healthy as the standard Israeli breakfast fare is (eggs cooked any way, but usually as omelet or scrambled – accompanied by a large fresh salad, dips/sides – tahini, feta, cream cheese, tuna, fish roe in cream sauce, homemade jams – and fresh bread), I have been craving something more typically American or even British.  Something with animal fat, a mixture of creamy yolk, bloody juice, and spicy carbohydrates.  Oh, the agony!  My kingdom for a proper fry up!  And I’ve been coming up empty.

Not that Israelis don’t try.  But the couple times I have ordered the “Steak & Eggs,” slowly cropping up on trendier menus, I have been so sorely disappointed to the point where these eating establishments should be ashamed of themselves.   I won’t name names.  Just be wary.  I’m going to keep ordering it until I can create a more comprehensive picture.  Honestly, last week I was presented with three pitiful strips of “steak” that was as thin, tough, and stringy as boot leather (I refer to the classic Charlie Chaplin sketch below), topped with 2 overcooked “sunny side up” eggs (the yolks were almost solid), all over “hash browns” that embarrassingly consisted of what I can only describe as a giant lukewarm mound of ordinary fries cut up into smaller segments before being fried – with absolutely no seasoning.  Sadly, the best part of this dish was its name – “The Texas Hold’em.”  As you might imagine, I politely complained, and still insisted I pay for the entire meal.  I don’t believe in something for nothing.  It wasn’t the delightful waiter’s fault, after all.

Send me your recommendations for restaurants to try!

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Sauerkraut with loads of sausage and pork at Gilad & Daniel. A rare, rare find in Tel Aviv. Reminded me and my sister (ever so slightly pictured here) of the sauerkraut our dad used to buy us in the weekly market near our home in Paris. Hot, spiced, right out of a barrel and dished into a bag to take home. I don't think it ever lasted long.

Crepe Breakfast

Crepe Breakfast at Gilad & Daniel. Perfect crepe. Almost as good as their Croque Madame. Did I mention that I'll be dining here frequently?

Hot Apple Cider with Rum, a Cinnamon Stick, and Fresh Apples, reading Three Men in a Boat. I often wonder if people think me insane because I laugh out loud and not infrequently while reading at cafes. Good thing that I don't care because laughing out loud while reading is one of the best sensations I know.

Guacamole

5-minute Guacamole with Sesame Cracker (eaten watching China Beach last night). Another attempt at finishing off the weekly organic veg box. Another box just arrived an hour ago. Egad!

Chicken Udon & Caprese Salad at a trendy Ben Yehuda bistro - name alludes me

Breakfast today - melon eaten with spoon looking at the view on my balcony/work space on the dining room table

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I was going to write a scathing restaurant review. I’ve written and rewritten it in my head for three days now.  I’m just going to go with what I have. Perhaps my anger has subsided. Or I realized how trivial it is to be angry at a restaurant over poached eggs.  Or not.  Here goes the post, in any case:

What I ended up getting...and I paid about $13 for it...pathetic.

Poached eggs are a perfect food.  I likes my yokes runny.  I like poached eggs on their own, over rice, over salads (Salade Lyonnaise being a long-time favorite), over toast, in sandwiches, on sandwiches.  You can basically count on any dish being vastly improved with the addition of a poached egg.

Restaurant rules I believe in and respect:

1) The menu is a contract (I had this drilled into me at culinary school)

2) The customer is (almost) always right (…and certainly be nice to them all at all costs).

Let us begin.

“Benedicts” is a popular eatery in Tel Aviv. They have two branches, both in very fashionable neighborhoods.  They are open 24 hours a day, and this is very very rare in Israel.  And their theme? Breakfast. Only breakfast, 24/7.

And it works.  It’s overpriced.  Very overpriced.  But it works.  It has this upscale American diner feel crossed with something vaguely European…like a pancake house plopped itself at a sunny indoor-outdoor cafe in Provence.  And as the name suggests…the signature dish is…Eggs Benedict.

Or is it? I’ve had it a couple times there.  I should have learned after the first time.  But you always have that thought…maybe it was a fluke last time…this time could be different.  Bottom line: it’s not real Eggs Benedict.  At the very least, even if you consider it a decent variation…it’s not well executed.

Definition of Eggs Benedict – 2 English muffins, toasted, topped with cooked ham or bacon (in good places stateside it’s often Canadian bacon), then topped with two poached eggs, all smothered in Hollandaise sauce.

Theirs rests atop thick cut slices of brioche, an eggy, buttery bread.  It doesn’t work.  At all.  It’s so thick, you don’t taste the bacon for the vastness of surface area below it.  It’s such a thick slice of bread, and such the wrong bread (it’s dense as hell!), that the egg yolk and sauce aren’t at all absorbed into it (something the spongy English muffin was born to do).  Personally – I think it’s irresponsible – I’ve made brioche and I know how many eggs go into it – AND with a Benedict – customers are essentially being served 4+ eggs, not just the two they think they’re eating. Finally, their Hollandaise sucks.  Big time.  It’s been a staple of the household I grew up in, and let me tell you, I don’t think their Hollandaise even counts.  There isn’t a detectable soupcon of lemon.  None.  And there goes the dish.

You’d think that would be my main complaint.  Wrong.

This post has probably gotten long enough so that nobody will read this far.  But I don’t care.  The main problem at Benedicts is their lack of customer service.  Every time I go, I never get what I want.  And they’re unpleasant about it every time.  I should have learned, and after this time, I have: just don’t go again.  So I won’t.

Here’s what happened.  I wanted the “Healthy Breakfast,” (no more crappy faux Benedict for me).  It said, “2 eggs any way you choose them” or something similar, and it came with salads and cheese and bread.  A healthy Israeli breakfast.  Fine.  The problem came when I ordered my eggs poached.  They said no, we don’t do poached eggs.  BS they don’t do poached eggs.

Long story short, after a long discussion with my waiter, and then a couple of long talks with the manager, it was clear I would not be getting my eggs.  Their explanation: Eggs Benedict is their signature dish.  They couldn’t go around serving poached eggs, willy nilly, when they wanted to maintain the poached eggs as only going with their signature dish.

Then why write, several times in the menu for other dishes, “eggs any way you want them?”  I say, breach of contract.  And even so, the customer is always right.  Would it have killed them to give me my eggs?  I was, after all, right.

I should have walked out.  And do you know what this spineless blogger did instead?  She ordered the Eggs Benedict — on their “normal bread” instead of their nasty brioche.  Because she just had to have poached eggs! It is, in fact, one of the few places in Tel Aviv you can eat them…but apparently…ONLY in a bad Eggs Benedict.

I vowed to write a scathing review and make sure all of my Israeli friends read it.  AND I vow now never to return.  Even though I’ve met the owner’s wife at a creative writing seminar.  Even though it is the closest restaurant to my house.  Even though some of their dishes are so-so.  Even though my doing this might not affect anyone else’s decision not to go (Israelis love the place – it’s a novelty – and they can get away with dodgy service because of it). Even though they’re the only ones open 24/7.

“Benedicts” has simply proven to be overpriced, mediocre, and arrogant. And there’s no fun in that, any day.  Any American iHop would have more business in Tel Aviv.  Their customer service certainly could run laps around what we get here.  So…I’ll just have to poach my eggs at home…as annoying as it is to do.

Aerial view of my breakfast. Never again.

One of the worst BLT's the world has known...also at Benedict's...falling apart bread, chewy lifeless flavorless cold bacon, you name it...my poor sister is the one being tortured here.

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