Helba (Semolina + Fenugreek Cake) and a Bethlehem Cooking Class

Bethlehem Cooking Class
Banksy graffiti near the refugee camp; Islam and Ahmad’s daughter

After three years of living in Israel, my husband and I are moving back to New York in just a few days. Everyone thought we were crazy to move here, giving up our comfortable lives to venture off to a place we’d never even visited. But I knew it was the chance of a lifetime, and while there have certainly been challenges overall it’s been an amazing experience. The final item on my bucket list of things to do here was to visit the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and attend a cooking class through an amazing organization called Noor Women Empowerment Group. I finally had the opportunity last weekend, and it was one of the most worthwhile, inspiring experiences in my time here. Continue reading “Helba (Semolina + Fenugreek Cake) and a Bethlehem Cooking Class”

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”

Announcing My Latest Endeavor: Rama Food Tour App

Rama Food Tour Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda

It feels like just yesterday that I was announcing my e-cookbook! Well, I’ve had a good few months. I am now excited to announce that the app I wrote for Rama Food Tours has finally been released! Tasting Mahane Yehuda is a self-guided food tour of one of my favorite places in Israel: Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. It includes stops at five of my all-time favorite places to eat and graze in the shuk, from the best halva you’ll ever eat (seriously, even halva haters can’t resist), to a hidden gem of a restaurant with Israeli comfort food. For only $0.99 it’s worth buying even if you’re not planning on visiting Jerusalem. You know, because you like me 🙂 (download it here)


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Guest Post: Hummus and Mahane Yehuda Market

When Shulie over at Food Wanderings asked me to do a guest post as part of her Israel Series, I was beyond honored. Shulie is Indian Jewish, grew up in Israel, and now lives in the United States. Her blog is simply gorgeous and is filled with incredible recipes that reflect her unique background. We’ve become great Twitter friends as well, and I urge you to find her on Twitter at @foodwanderings and on Facebook. I decided to write about my favorite culinary destination in Israel: Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market. And, because Shulie wanted an Israeli recipe to accompany it I selected one of the most Israeli recipes in the book: hummus. Continue reading “Guest Post: Hummus and Mahane Yehuda Market”

A Culinary Tour of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market

Culinary tours are my new obsession. And luckily the culinary tour has made it’s way to Israel. What better way to explore a place – whether you live there or are just visiting – than by getting an insiders view of the food? In Israel there is an abundance of incredible markets and hidden gems that can be difficult to navigate on your own. Continue reading “A Culinary Tour of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market”

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”

Missed Connections: Budapest, Part I

Budapest was both the first and last stop on our 10-day tour of Central Europe as we started with an entire day’s layover there before continuing on to Berlin. We heard mixed reviews of Budapest before embarking; many people love it, but so many shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘it was ok.’ It is definitely a little rough around the edges, a shiny renovated building standing next to a dilapidated one that only hints at its former grandeur. But that’s part of what made me fall in love with this city with its wide avenues and homey cuisine. Continue reading “Missed Connections: Budapest, Part I”

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”