Saffron Lasagna ~ Lasagna alla Zafferano from A Family Farm in Tuscany

As an Italian-American, I’ve eaten plenty of lasagna in my day. But none like this. I’m used to layers of noodles and sauce that are cemented with mounds of cheese. This authentic Italian lasagna, however, relies primarily on a saffron-hued béchamel sauce to act as the glue. There’s no mozzarella, no ricotta. Just grated Parmesan, meat sauce, and a luscious besciamella made with butter, flour, milk and saffron. It’s as decadent and comforting as any lasagna you’ll encounter, and the addition of saffron makes it special enough for any holiday or occasion.

Lasagna alla Zatterano ~ Saffron Lasagna

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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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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”

On My Shelf: Eat Where You Live

For this month’s Kitchen Reader book club (get more info here if you’d like to join!) we had a choice of two books: either Eat Where You Live: How to Find and Enjoy Fantastic Local and Sustainable Food No Matter Where You Live by Lou Bendrick or Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly by James E McWilliams (chosen by Julie of Savvy Eats). Although I was leaning at first towards Just Food, after reading the reviews on Amazon it seemed like this book might frustrate more than enlighten me so I opted for the much shorter, lighter read, Eat Where You Live. If you are brand new to the concept of eating local and interested but intimidated by the concept, then this is a good primer. But it’s just that: a very basic primer. Continue reading “On My Shelf: Eat Where You Live”

Restaurants, Baths and a Market: Budapest, Part II

Now that I’ve bored you with the details of our trials, tribulations, and family reunion in Budapest, it’s time to get to the important stuff: the food. Since we were there such a short time and met with so many complications I have a much shorter list of places worth eating than in Berlin or Prague. I can’t in good conscience tell you to go to the crappy Italian restaurant we succumbed to because apparently we can’t go two weeks without carbonara. This isn’t to say that Budapest doesn’t have good food – we had some great food – we just weren’t at the top of our game. Continue reading “Restaurants, Baths and a Market: Budapest, Part II”

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”

Tapas at Ahuzat Smilansky

When I first heard there was a tapas restaurant in Be’er Sheva I couldn’t believe my ears. Sure enough, Chef-Owner Yariv Eitani worked in kitchens in Tel Aviv and Provence before deciding to open up a place in his home town. Although the restaurant was originally French that didn’t go over as well as he’d hoped and he switched to tapas; it’s still listed in many guides and websites as being French. Continue reading “Tapas at Ahuzat Smilansky”