Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12 is International Falafel Day


So did anybody observe it?

Sadly, I did not.  I ate some oatmeal for breakfast, a BLT for lunch, had a fruit salad with some Pequea Valley yogurt around 3, and one of my whole wheat couscous, carrots and greens (spinach, tonight) concoctions for dinner.

Friends have at times suggested that I buy a deep fryer, knowing as they do of my endless love of those precious little balls of chickpea, but I have smartly declined such advice, since I am what they call an 'addictive personality.'

And no man should eat falafel three times a day for a year, which is exactly what I'd do if I had a deep fryer in my kitchen.

(Just as nobody can eat 50 eggs.)

My favorite Israeli sandwich is sabich, actually, and it just so happens I'm fortunate enough that the best place in Philadelphia for falafel, Mama's Vegetarian, also makes the best sabich I've ever had.  It's considerably better than Taim up in the West Village, which is certainly good itself, though I'm sure there's definitely a street vendor (or a hundred) somewhere in Israel who would blow my mind, on both counts, and make me reconsider everything I already thought I knew about food.

One day I'll find out for sure.  Probably in 2015, actually...


  1. I didn't EAT a Falafel to celebrate, but a "PLAYED" a Falafel at the end of my blog post yesterday, in that piece of Music the "Falafel became Real" ;)

    1. Ughh. First I've heard of this. Thanks for the news, as bad as it is.

      And here I was, feeling that the soccer jersey thing Germany just did was awesome.

      Then again, I suppose there's no better way to expose BDSers for exactly what they are...

    2. Rita,

      welcome to Israel Thrives.

      Please drive carefully and be kind to the natives.

    3. And of course, keep calm and eat falafel.


  2. Now here's a BDS I can get behind...

    Iranian diplomats and overseas businesses will have a harder time buying in bulk now that Costco has revealed it recently cut all ties to the Islamic Republic.

    The members-only retailer, which the Wall Street Journal reports has a base of customers roughly equal to that of the population of Italy, said in an SEC filing Tuesday that it had identified and halted its remaining business dealings with the nuclear-seeking state.

    The disclosure was made in compliance with the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, the WSJ reports.

  3. "So did anybody observe it?"

    Not me, I don't like falafel much. It's only slightly better than McJunk, and I'm trying to keep to slow food as much as I can.

    "One day I'll find out for sure. Probably in 2015, actually..."

    By that year you'll be able to visit Israel in your flying car. :)

    Ve-lanu yesh falafel, falafel, falafel...

    1. Gotta remember to put some money on the Cubs that year, too... ;)

    2. Woohoo! Great Scott, you know your stuff! Oh, this is heavy!

      My favorite movie trilogy. I can drive people crazy bringing quotes from it. And that's when I'm not quoting Star Wars. ;)

  4. Sabich?

    Sabich, you say?

    I never even heard of Sabich until Laurie and I were sitting in some joint in Tel Aviv and they served it up in the form of a pizza.

    It was damn good, I have to tell ya.

    And I know of no place in the entire Bay Area that serves up sabich. There must be one, but I do not know of it.

    But I have to say, falafel has been a mystery to me because for so long I have failed to understand how to make falafel not be dry and it seems that the addition of an egg to the mixture makes all the difference.

    Jeez, now you're making me hungry!

    1. Amba! Looks like they have shakshuka, too...

      Can't vouch for how it is, of course, but I tend to find that even average Israeli food is better than most other things!

    2. Y'know, Jay, this is just unfair, because were it not for the fact that the Arab-Israel conflict is so vital, I would much prefer to write about cooking and food.

      I used to cook for a living, for chrissake, and now I am absolutely hell-bent on finding some decent sabich in the Bay Area.

      And, lo and behold, there is a place in Oakland - in the Montclair district - which has it.


      We'll see if it is half as good as what we got in Tel Aviv, because I have to say when Laurie and I were there last year, I wasn't much thinking about food. I was thinking about heritage and the conflict, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food.

      And now you have basically screwed me because I will not rest until we get some sabich!

      Anyone who knows me will tell you that I get obsessed with deliciousness. I am convinced that G-d blessed me with additional taste buds.

      I will report back with you guys after we hit this joint.

      I want some Sabich!

    3. I find it very strange that people consider those foods to be exotic. Of course, it looks different from across the ocean. Me, I crave an Argentine steak as the ultimate in exoticism. There are Argentine restaurants in Israel, but the prices, oh, the prices...

    4. I'm actually amazed at the high quality of Middle Eastern cuisine in Philadelphia these days. It sure ain't the same food scene here that it was ten years ago! I still haven't made it out to a couple Israeli places out near the fringes of the other side of the city, but I will soon. And once I start the new job, I'm treating myself to Zahav for the first time. Finally!

      Also looking for a good Afghan place right now, and there's a Lebanese flatbread spot out in West Philly that I aim to hit over the next few weeks, next time I'm out that way...

  5. I just took a look at a post on Hamas Summer Camp on Israellycool. In a show of my usual weakness, I clicked on the link to more photos on the U.K. Daily Mail and peeked at the comments below, despite knowing full well they'd be of the kind that makes me mad.

    I don't know if they're representative of Britain or even Daily Mail commenters, and may HaShem be with those Brits who don't stand with our Nazi-wannabe enemies (not hyperbole—read the Hamas Charter as well as the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is the Palestine chapter), but I'll say this to the anti-Zionist scum:

    Give it a couple of decades and some millions of petrodollars, and your institutions of "education" will make it as if the Muslim colonists in Britain were the original inhabitants and you indigenous Brits the interlopers. Wait a bit and the hacking of a British soldier on British soil will be portrayed as an "act of resistance" just as you now glowingly justify Hamas suicide-murder, rocket barrages and hate-indoctrination of children to be "resistance against those who steal their land." What goes around comes around.

    1. Just clicked over and browsed the Daily Mail comments.

      The first comment quoting a 'happygal' saying this...

      There are approx. 1.5 million Palestinians that have died since Israel started occupying Palestinian land in 1948

      ...sure lets you know what you're in for right from the very start, eh?

    2. A couple of telling examples from the link above (links to individual comments don't appear to be possible, so I'll just quote)...

      This 'cavedweller' character forgot to say 'Zionists' -

      We are talking ' Equal Rights ' here,which the Jews never will acknowledge......I spent some 16 monthts ( May '47 Aug '48 ) Palestine,saw first hand what the Arabs would be up against...looks like they are begining to get better organised.... My sympathies are with them!

      Comment rating = plus-5.

      (I guess he temporarily fled down to the Middle East after his SS unit disbanded, eh?)

      'AdverseCamber' makes a very reasonable comment re: the Hamas terror camps -

      No mother or father or government for that matter plans for peace by training their children for war. No matter how desperate, no matter how strong the desire for freedom, there is a line that should not be crossed. Teaching children to hate rather than embrace, to destroy instead of create and to martyr themselves instead of pushing to live in peace is the single biggest barrier to solving this horrible problem. When you don't have a partner to talk about peace with, it can never exist.

      Comment rating? Minus-4.

      I know nothing about the Daily Mail, but it does look like their comment section sure seems rather CIF-y...

    3. Daily Mail is called a conservative tabloid, but in Britain this label refers almost exclusively to economics, and maybe also to the stance on third-world immigration in Britain (though that would usually be labeled "Far Right," which Daily Mail isn't).

      It's interesting to see how British conservatives diverge from their American counterparts. American conservatives would usually be fiscally conservative, religiously oriented (i.e. socially conservative) and pro-Israel; in Britain, only the first applies, while Brits tend to be anti-religious and anti-Israel in far higher proportions than Americans, including their right-wingers.

      Israeli politics is different from both. Fact is, we don't have a label "conservative" in our political spectrum at all. Currently, fiscal conservatism is a minority stance, social conservatism marches in lockstep with religiosity, and hawkishness on geopolitics is now the province of the majority (all credits due to Arab intransigence for that).

      Among the Israeli Jewish populace, the majority of geopolitical left-wingers are secular Jews, but the converse is not true. The majority of fiscal conservatives are in the Religious-Zionist faction (where I am), though they're not confined to that faction, and not all Religious-Zionist Jews are fiscal conservatives. The Ultra-Orthodox are naturally the most conservative socially speaking, but almost every religious Jew in Israel is a social conservative, because social conservatism is an integral part of the Orthodox Jewish religion.

      I hope I demystified Israeli politics and society a little, though most outsiders find it confusing even after it's been explained (and rightly so—Israeli politics really is confusing).

  6. I'm taking today off.

    My old college buddy, Chris Kilkes, is moving back home to SF and we're hooking up this evening and, I have to say, I am just jazzed.

    This was the best man at my wedding.

    I am not going to think about the conflict today.

    Today I am going to indulge myself in good food, good friendships, and good music.

    1. Great to hear! Enjoy the day.

      PS - I did a yelp (not much a fan of the reviews there, but it's an excellent tool for the uploaded user pictures, and for finding certain cuisines - I even use it to find places around here that I'm not too familiar with, like Olney, Manayunk and West Philly) search for sabich in the Bay Area, and it looks like there's three other places down around Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Campbell.

      Probably couldn't possibly be further from Oakland and still be considered the Bay Area, but at least they're an option!

      (And they're closer than Portland or Los Angeles, heh.)

    2. "I am not going to think about the conflict today."

      It's good to take a rest from time to time. I know all too well about the problem of burn-out.

      I'm sorta taking a rest myself, if only because I haven't had any new ideas for a post for the past few days. It happens sometimes. Maybe I could do the news rewrites I thought of, unless you think that format is at odds with the goals of your blog.


    3. You know, I thought about your news rewrites idea yesterday, when I posted that article about Boulder.

      In particular, this line could have used a rewrite, if you ask me -

      "During more than four hours of emotional debate, speakers invoked the long and violent conflict between the people of Palestine and Israel."

      Though to be fair, the rest of the article was pretty good, actually bringing up Palestinian terror support and not excusing it as 'resistance' or some such crap...

    4. "Though to be fair, the rest of the article was pretty good,..."

      Agreed. The worst offenders are, by far, those Reuters and AP items written by Arab stringers. Or the stuff on the BBC, but the problem with Reuters and AP is greater because they're the sources everybody else gets the news from.

      I just need to know if Mike thinks news rewrites would be in line with the blog. I think they'd be a good addition to Israel Thrives' work on changing the terminology, but I'm not sure if he's OK with a newswire-like format.

    5. Zion,

      news rewrites are entirely in line with Israel Thrives.

      What we need as much as quality content is a rethinking of the terms of discussion.

      News rewrites, so long as they are fair - so long as they are in keeping with the facts - are perfectly in line with the purpose of what we are trying to do here.

      As long as you can justify the rewrite then have at it.

      You guys may be doing a greater service than you realize. I do not agree with everything that anybody says, but that's not the point.

      The point is that the old ways of examining and reacting to the conflict have failed and now is time to think about new ways of doing so.

      Those of you who have your names on the masthead are partners. I consider you partners. So have at it.

      Think aloud and be fair to one another.