A Burger a Week, And the Best Burger in New York

When I was home in New York over the summer, I had a standing Monday lunch date with my dad and sister. Although our lunch dates were nothing new, this summer they took on new purpose: We would eat a burger a week and decide which was our favorite. I’m not entirely sure where the idea stemmed from, but once we set our minds to it we stuck to the plan. For eight Mondays. That’s probably about as many burgers as I eat in a whole year.

There wasn’t anything scientific about our “research,” we just went where we felt like going. We ended up mostly in Greenwich Village and Williamsburg, and missed lots of great burger joints. My dad, sister and I had differing opinions on lots of the burgers, and agreed whole-heartedly about others. Price came into play a bit, but mostly we were interested in taste. Is it a juicy, flavorful burger? Is the bun fresh, and does it stand up to the burger? In the end it all came down to personal taste, and whether or not the place was having a good day. Again, the results are far from scientific, but it was a fun summer project.

The hunt for the best burger in New York

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Smoky Cashew Salsa and a Nut Blog Hop

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had something so extraordinary that it haunted you? That happened with nearly every dish we ate at Empellon, the upscale Mexican taqueria in New York opened by WD50’s former pastry chef, Alex Stupak. Although the restaurant came with high praise from good friends, I admit that I had my doubts as we stood in the crowded dining room on the stormiest night of the summer waiting for a table. A fancy Mexican restaurant with a molecular pastry chef gone savory and $18 tacos? It’s rare that I say anything was worth a two hour wait and a substantial bill. But they knocked it out of the park. And this smoky cashew salsa has haunted me ever since.

Smoky Cashew Salsa, Inspired by New York's Empellon Restaurant

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Eating our Way through the North of Israel

It was getting embarrassing. After living in Israel for two years, I still hadn’t been North of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Sure, I’ve explored the Negev far more than most people who live in “the center.” I’ve vacationed in Eilat and snorkeled in the Red Sea. I’ve hiked in Mitzpe Ramon, floated in the Dead Sea, and have even explored the tiny shuk in Ashkelon. I know Tel Aviv and Jerusalem nearly as well as I know Be’er Sheva, the city where I live. But I’d yet to make it up North. Everywhere else is just over an hour from me. As soon as you start getting into two-plus hours of travel, and the need for a car, well, it was easier to put off.

Caesarea {KatherineMartinelli.com}

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Restaurants in Istanbul: A Brief Guide

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
The Blue Mosque

Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, is a magical city. Mosques with Disney-style minarets dot the skyline while the syncopated calls to prayer drift from competing muezzin throats, aided by speakers to carry their call through the air. It’s eerie and beautiful, much like the city itself. And the food. Oh the food! Living in Israel, the flavors were familiar and I realized just how many Israeli dishes are Turkish in origin. Continue reading “Restaurants in Istanbul: A Brief Guide”

Israeli Food: A Primer

This article first appeared in Go Girl Magazine. Please check it out here!

Last week marked my one year anniversary of living in Israel. Prior to moving here, I had never even visited the country, so was not entirely sure what to expect. Being a food writer, I was most excited about one thing: the food. As a fairly young country, Israeli cuisine is something that is still being defined, a mixture of cultures from around the world. The cuisines of its neighboring Middle Eastern countries are reflected in many of the dishes, but you’ll also find North African, Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Asian influences. Continue reading “Israeli Food: A Primer”

Restaurants in Prague: An Abbreviated Guide

Maybe it’s the cobblestone streets and abundance of castles, or perhaps it’s the throngs of tourists at every turn, but Prague – and restaurants in Prague – feel a bit like Disneyland at times. That being said, it’s a stunningly beautiful city with gorgeous old buildings that retains the feel of an older, nostalgic Europe. And if you can manage to get away from the touristy areas you’ll be rewarded with good food, great beer, and excellent deals. Here, a very abbreviated guide to restaurants in Prague – and cafes, and bars, and even a place to do karaoke. Continue reading “Restaurants in Prague: An Abbreviated Guide”

Restaurants in Berlin: An Abbreviated Guide

We may have only had a few days in Berlin, but we ate and drank our way through the city. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a compilation of the (mostly budget) restaurants in Berlin we came across and found worth recommending. Berliners love their Asian and Middle East street food and the city is renowned for its falafel, doner kebab, hummus and more. Coming from Israel, we tried to veer away from that in favor of German and Asian cuisine. If you’re in town on a Saturday don’t miss the flea market, as much for its food and atmosphere as for the amazing finds. Also note that the vast majority of restaurants in Berlin didn’t accept credit cards so be sure to ask first. Continue reading “Restaurants in Berlin: An Abbreviated Guide”

Wining and Dining in Be’er Sheva

This past Wednesday marked not only the first night of Hanukkah, but also the inaugural event of Wine and Dine B7 (B7 stands for Be’er Sheva for the uninitiated out there). Started by Boston transplant and Be’er Sheva resident Amir Katz, Wine and Dine B7 is aimed primarily at the Anglo community in Be’er Sheva. Katz is hoping to draw attention to the culinary treasures that lie in Be’er Sheva (yes, they exist) and bring people together over food and wine. Continue reading “Wining and Dining in Be’er Sheva”

The Castle

Let me start off by saying that I’m not even sure this place is called The Castle. It may also be called The Fortress, The Tower, or something else entirely. The sign is in Russian and we were given no menus during our visit. Whichever the case I’m not the kind of person who can resist a restaurant that advertises good beer and looks like it was transported from the Middle Ages. It turned out to be a good impulse. Continue reading “The Castle”