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Makubah 3 
Chef Basson and his fabulous, fun  Maklubah presentation celebration!

Moshe Basson Chef/Owner of Jerusalem's Eucalyptus Restaurant shared some food thoughts with KosherEye:

Why did you decide to become a chef? Did you always enjoy cooking?
I have always enjoyed the kitchen - the tastes and smell and was drawn to cooking and spending time in the kitchen. Since childhood I remember dishes that were cooked by my friends' mothers and would ask about the spices they used. At that time, we were living next to Beit Tsafafa, where I learned about new herbs and wild plants from our Arab neighbors. The
I didn't plan to become a chef. but when my brother opened a restaurant, I found myself experimenting there, and changing the course of my professional life as a result of a newfound joy in cooking.

What is your favorite dish to prepare and serve? What is the most popular dish in Eucalyptus?
Stuffed figs were once a realization of an actual dream, and when cooking them for the first time, it was an amazing event It is still very popular. With time, we added a vegan version, and it elevates the dish, and keeps it relevant.

What trends are you noticing in Israeli cooking?
Israeli cooking is continuously taking itself more seriously, In the past few years, it is going back to the origins of the land. There are new establishments that allows for the time to perfect the product, to strengthen the "food chain" to bring higher quality products.

Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
I really admire Chef Shalom Kadosh. I see him as the "godfather "of Israeli cuisine. He brought the highest standards of French cuisine to Israel.

We see that your son works with you--has he added new specialties to the menu?
Ronny has an amazing hand, and he knows flavors. He is constantly adding and shifting dishes. He invents new interpretations of traditional dishes, making them lighter, and infuses new tastes and textures.

Is there a cookbook in the pipeline?
We are working on a cookbook and would love to share it as we make progress. Also, we're always happy to have recipe testers.

Would you be willing to share a favorite recipe with us?
Chef Basson shares several recipes on his website including the amazing fried cauliflower in tomato cream.
Click HERE

Visit the restaurant's web page:  Click HERE: Eucalyptus 
Read what Sherrie Nachman (Forbes Magazine) has to say about Eucalyptus

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Waldorf Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Taste of Waldorf Astoria CREDIT SARKA BABICKA

 The Waldorf Jerusalem - Elegance meets Tradition

The Waldorf Jerusalem houses two elegant restaurants along with an outdoor tapas and cocktail bar.
The "King’s Court" Restaurant overlooks the soaring atrium at the heart of the hotel.
The Palace is a meat restaurant, providing modern gourmet cuisine.
The seasonal Garden Terrace tapas bar offers cocktails and modern tapas, with a Mediterranean twist

Born in Jerusalem, Executive Chef Itzik Mizrachi Barak has had an international culinary career, which began with the traditional foods in his mother's and grandmother's kitchens. He is considered one of Israel's most renowned chefs, having served as an Executive Chef in many of Israel's leading hotels, most recently at the David Citadel in Jerusalem. His talents have been shared in the U.S., Hong Kong and Japan.

What are some of the favorite dishes served at the hotel?
Seven Spices - The Palace, Thai Soup, and Miso Glazed Salmon in the Kings Court

What is the most popular dish served on Shabbos?
Our Shabbat menu changes every week, which makes our Shabbat meals so renowned and attractive, even among outside guests.

What trends are you noticing in Israeli cooking and dining?
We feel that these days people are looking for quality food and gastronomic excellence. Actually, both foreigners and Israelis alike seek cuisine they know from home, with a gastronomic “twist” .

Who are some of the international celebrities who have enjoyed dining at the Waldorf Jerusalem?
We host many celebrities from all over the globe, both actors, singers and high-level politicians, and are obliged to keep the privacy of our guests.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers? 
We welcome KosherEye readers to visit our hotel and enjoy our legendary "True Waldorf Service". Our hotel provides a unique experience combining history and lavish modern luxury. In addition, the hotel is ideally located for discovering Jerusalem's cultures and religions; our inspirational environment lends rich character to one of the world's most ancient and holy cities.

Enjoy Chef Barak's much acclaimed recipe for The Seven Species 
Chef Barak was honored as one of only five chefs from around the world to be considered for the famed "Taste of Waldorf Astoria" 2016 competition. Inspired by Biblical ingredients and flavors, his dish, The Seven Species received rave reviews and is now available in the hotel at The Palace Restaurant.

From Chef Barak: “My dish, the Seven Species, (Shivat Haminim), represents my family story in the holy city of Jerusalem. This Seven Specie dish depicts the culinary history of the city of Jerusalem and its period. But the dish is not only a reflection of the geographical area, it also reflects the culture of the Jewish community that lives in Jerusalem. The dish is characterized by a variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, eggplant and of course- tahini, a course so typical to the region that it is considered a fundamental need.”

Seven species Waldorf Palace Resturant

Recipe: The Seven Species (4-6 servings)

Sea Bream
4 filets sea bream (denis, in Hebrew)
2 whole eggplants
1 sourdough baguette (100 grams)
4 thyme leaves
1 lemon
 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (10 grams)
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 cup olive oil

Bulgur Salad
1 1/2 ounces bulgur wheat (40 grams)
1 pomegranate
4 dates
1 1/2 ounces pumpkin (40 grams)
4 pears
One piece of ginger
3/4 ounces parsley, chopped (20 grams)
3/4 ounces mint, chopped (20 grams)
1 teaspoon yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit that can be replaced by lime)
1 lemon
1 small red chili, fresh
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 cup olive oil

1 1/2 ounces tahini (40 grams)
1 lemon
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 cup olive oil
1 cup ice water

1 radish
1 yellow zucchini
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 fennel
1 lemon
Drizzle yuzu (or lime)
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

Fill mixing bowl with room temperature water and soak bulgur wheat for 30 minutes.
Grill eggplant on high flame for 5 minutes on each side until soft and blackened.
Remove stems and peel one eggplant, leave the other with charred skin. Cut both eggplants into cubes.
Put all cubed pieces into one blender, add ½ cup of olive oil and juice of 2 lemons. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in blender on high until smooth.
Strain water from the soaked bulgur wheat and move to a mixing bowl.
Dress pumpkin with thyme leaves, salt, pepper and oil, and sauté pumpkin in medium-sized pan for 3 minutes until golden brown.
In a separate bowl, add yuzu (or lime) salt, pepper, olive oil, chili and mix. Add bulgur, sautéed pumpkin, dates, pomegranate seeds, pears, parsley, mint, ginger and mix.
Add yuzu dressing from the first bowl to mixture and taste.
Remove sea bream skin. Cut fish lengthwise and then in half to create four equally-sized rectangles. Season raw fish with thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Add the eggplant paste to one side of each fish piece, and add one piece of sliced bread to the same side as the eggplant paste.
Cut the bread to align with the size of each fish.
Place all four pieces in a sauté pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cooking fish at medium heat for 2 minutes, bottom side first, then flip until top side is golden brown.
Add tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and ice water to a medium size mixing bowl, stir until smooth.
Peel vegetables lengthwise, placing long, thin slivers in bowl of lemon juice, olive oil, yuzu, salt, and pepper.

Smear tahini in a line on the bottom of the plate
Place bulgur salad directly on top
Add the four pieces of cooked sea bream, shingled
Roll each vegetable and place throughout the plate, on top of the fish or in the bulgur salad
Garnish with leaves

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Warm, friendly, sumptuous, Hamish – a multi-course banquet for everyone. That is how I would describe the Shabbos lunch at The David Citadel Hotel, a Jerusalem landmark. The talented staff including the manager, the chef and the servers were outstanding.

David Citadel Buffet Mobile
The menu on the cold starter buffet was both extensive and varied… something for everyone. There were at least 25 types of salads, fish and sushi selections for starters. A highlight for our table of three was homemade chopped liver. By the time we were ready for the hot entrees, we were full. But, yes we continued to feast.

The hot buffet included a beef carving station, poultry and several types of meat specialties. There was a Middle Eastern inspired chicken, classic sliced tongue and several vegetable sides. A standout was the hotel’s signature cholent with kishka. Outstanding!

And then came dessert – actually many desserts! Lavish and luscious cookies, cakes, mousse, and fruit. By the way, Chef Avi Turgeman does not use any non-dairy creamer in his desserts. He makes his own creamy toppings and fillings from coconut milk. (Yes, we have requested a recipes to share!)

David Citadel Dining Room MobileSince we stayed in the area, we were able to walk to the David Citadel for lunch. For a real treat however, consider staying at the hotel over Shabbat. The rooms and public spaces are lovely; there are daily minyans in the hotel's beautiful Bais Medrash (synagogue and study hall). 

When visiting Israel, we suggest considering the experience of a hotel Shabbat lunch or dinner. We certainly enjoyed our lunch at the David Citadel, and highly recommend it. Several of the leading hotels in Jerusalem provide Shabbos dinner and lunch. Granted, these meals are a splurge, but worth it as a special treat. When in Israel, we suggest that you experience this at least once. The excellent service, and the variety and quality of the food at the David Citadel were superb. Keep in mind, reservations must be made and paid in advance.

Much appreciation to hotel manager Hadas Barak for her hospitality!

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Ritz buffet with logo Small
A Destination Bat Mitzvah at the Ritz-Carlton Cancun

We were delighted to receive a lovely invitation to a friend’s Bat Mitzvah. This simcha indeed would be a very special treat when we realized that it was to be a destination event. The timing was perfect – right after Sukkot, when most everyone (including me!) is ready for a cooking break and a rest. So, Cancun – here we come!

Why Cancun? The young lady, our friend Rebecca, wanted to have something different to celebrate her special milestones… reaching her 12th birthday and becoming a Bat Mitzvah. She had previously been on a family trip to Cancun and stayed at the Ritz Carlton. She found it to be a happy, fun, beautiful and friendly spot. So Rebecca posed the possibility of a destination Bat Mitzvah to her parents.

After the family discussed the pros and cons (initially mostly cons) and assessed the feasibility of planning a meaningful Bat Mitzvah Shabbat and celebration in Cancun, Rebecca’s wish did become a reality. The challenges were substantial – the entire event had to be kosher; the guests had to have affordable accommodations and transportation; and the hotel had to have availability for the entire weekend. Because of her dad’s entrepreneurial “can do” attitude, and her mom’s detail-oriented skills and planning expertise, it came to be (and in my opinion, flawlessly)!

What a weekend of celebration! Services Friday night were held in a Mexican Palapa (think Gilligan’s Island) on the beach. The feel and sound of the strong winds, the sight of the sunset over the ocean, the white sand, and the stunning venue added a unique sense of serenity and certainly set the spiritual mood as we welcomed Shabbat. An Eruv had been put up around the space, thus allowing guests to carry outside on Shabbat, in what was otherwise a public domain. Following the service was a beautiful Shabbos dinner.

Services Saturday morning were followed by a delicious lunch; after sundown, the Havdalah service was performed and was followed by a gala outdoor reception Saturday evening.
A Torah was borrowed from the Cancun Chabad – arranged by Chabad Rabbi Mendel Druk, of the Cancun Jewish Center. Rabbi Druk assisted in the hiring of Benny Seren, a mashgiach (kashrut overseer) from Miami, and helped coordinate the kosher menu with the family and the hotel. The hotel had hosted a kosher Passover trip a few years previously, as well as several events for the local Chabad, but this was their first private kosher simcha weekend.

By the way, you many have heard of Rabbi Druk previously; he led the Chabad Hurricane Katrina search and rescue team and the Chabad relief effort after the Thailand Tsunami. Rabbi Adam Starr, an orthodox Rabbi from Atlanta coordinated services along with several other Atlanta community rabbis and lay leaders. With more than 90 guests attending, there was no problem forming a minyan. A highlight after services was Rebecca's  sharing her beautiful words of Torah, which she based on the learning she did with her Bat Mitzvah teacher.

The hotel made everyone feel welcome and comfortable. The Ritz management asked the family to explain the significance of a Bat Mitzvah, and the needs of a Sabbath observant Jew so they could educate the hotel staff and anticipate guest needs. The staff not only complied, but also did everything graciously, respectfully and with a smile. 

ritz copycat guacamoleAnd now to the food – it was plentiful, luscious and served according to the Ritz Carlton’s high standards. The family asked the Ritz Carlton Executive Chef Andreas Schatzschneider and Executive Sous Chef Rene Camelo to plan a menu which would include hotel specialties, while adhering to kosher and Shabbat laws regarding food preparation and appropriate ways to keep food warm. In lieu of typical Shabbat foods like brisket, kugel and cholent, the menus were infused with Mexican flavors, used locally caught fresh  fish, local fruits and vegetables, and kosher meats and poultry brought in from Mexico City.

Ritz Paella MobileMeals included Ritz Carlton specialties such as seared red snapper with tropical mango sauce, an array of ceviches, Veracruz style fish paella, skirt steak with chimichurri salsa, jerk style chicken, assorted, tasty salads, and of course, there was no shortage of guacamole. The food was spectacular!

To prepare kosher food, one of the hotel's kitchens was closed for several days prior to the event. Kashering started on Wednesday morning, and the kitchen had to be cleaned and unused for at least 24 hours. Kashering was performed by the mashgiach Benny Seren and a hotel team. Glass dishes, flatware and serving ware had to be kashered as well as appliances, ovens, sinks, counters, and outdoor grills (basically everything). Quite a job! Parve and meat foods were prepared in the kitchen, and much of the fish, meat and poultry were cooked on outdoors grills. Sunday breakfast, which was dairy, had to be prepared in separate fry pans set up in a dining area and served on disposables.

From a guest’s point of view, this was a dream weekend;  a treat for the body and soul. I enjoyed the company of the other guests, the spectacular beach, the luxury accommodations, and the serene Shabbos enhanced by the fabulous kosher food. We were honored and happy to celebrate a sensational simcha with longtime friends. What could be better?

If you wish to contact the Ritz Carlton Cancun to explore hosting a kosher event, contact Jodi Schwartz 561-487-2324;

Try these delicious recipes for the Ritz Carlton Cancun:
Guacamole – A Signature Dish of the Ritz Carlton, Cancun
Veracruz Style Fish Paella


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Eating Jerusalem texted

My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit Israel in late November. This trip was different than our previous ones. We were there to vacation, some R&R, and to visit our grandson who attended Yeshiva Mevaseret Tzion. There was nothing planned on our itinerary except to explore and enjoy Jerusalem.

And explore we did... from learning the ticket process for the sleek light rail, to understanding the bus schedules, to visiting some of Jerusalem’s many sites. From the neighborhoods to the Kotel, we walked and walked and walked. I was not wearing a Fit Bit or Apple watch, but it had to be thousands and thousands of steps daily. I unofficially named this trip “Eating and Drinking our way through Jerusalem”. Along with our grandson and sometimes his very willing friends, we enjoyed every bite! Israel’s kashrut is complicated, and the rabbinate is currently undergoing a controversy (so what’s new?) on varying types of kashrut certification. Some of the restaurants mentioned in this series of articles are certified Rabbanut Yerushalayim, which is not accepted by all; and some are Mehadrin Yerushalayim, a more widely accepted level of certification. I suggest that you call the restaurant, ask your rabbi or refer to the restaurant’s website for certification details- since certification changes quite often.

Shabbos Lunch at the David Citadel Hotel
Warm, friendly, sumptuous, Hamish – a multi-course banquet for everyone. That is how I would describe the Shabbos lunch at The David Citadel Hotel, a Jerusalem landmark. The talented staff, including the manager, the chef and the servers, were outstanding. Read more about Shabbos Lunch at the David Citadel. . .

Piccolino exceeded our expectations in taste, presentation and service. There were smiles all around when we entered, and friendly, efficient, accommodating service through the superb dinner. And what a dinner it was! Read more about Piccolino. . .

Lechem Basar - Meat and Eat
Lechem Basar, known as "Meat and Eat" in English, is located in Jerusalem’s old train station. Both the restaurant and the center are bustling, fun, eclectic, “happening” venues -- especially at night. The décor and ambiance combine both the old and new in an updated setting of shops, bars and eateries. Read more about Lechem Basar . . .


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